Close to the sacred shrine of Panja Sahib on the morning of 30 October
1922 and which has since passed into folklore as an instance of Sikh
courage and resolution. A non-violent morcha or agitation to assert
the right to felling trees for Guru ka Langar from the land attached
to Gurdwara Guru ka Bagh in Amritsar district, already taken over
from the priests by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee after
a negotiated settlement, had started on 8 August 1922. At first Sikh
volunteers were arrested and tried for trespass, but from 25 August
police resorted to beating day after day the batches of Sikhs that
came. This went on till 13 September when, on the intervention of
the Punjab Governor, the beating stopped and the procedure of arrests
resumed.The prisoners were tried summarily at Amritsar and then despatched
by special trains to distant jails.
prisoners stop only after crushing 11 Campaigners.
One such train left Amritsar on 29 October 1922 for the Attock
Fort which would touch Hasan Abdal the following morning. The Sikhs
of Panja Sahib decided to serve a meal to the detenues but, when
they reached the railway station with the food, they were informed
by the station master that the train was not scheduled to halt there.
Their entreaties and their plea that such trains had been stopped
at other places for the prisoners to be fed went unheeded.
Two of the Sikhs, Bhai Pratap Singh and Bhai Karam Singh who were
leading the sangat went forward as the rumbling sound of the approaching
train was heard and sat crosslegged in the middle of the track.
Several others, men and women, followed suit. The train-driver slowed
down suddenly and brought the train to a screeching halt, but not
before it had run over eleven of the squatters. The worst mauled
were Bhai Pratap Singh and Bhai Karam Singh, who succumbed to their
injuries the following day. Their dead bodies were taken to Rawalpindi
where they were cremated on 1 November 1922. They were hailed as
martyrs and, until the partition of 1947, a three-day religious
fair used to be held in their memory at Panja Sahib from 30 October
to 1 November every year.