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"....Undettered by the ban, the Khaksars continued to assemble in Lahore and for some days the streets of the city resounded with their steps. It was a thrilling spectacle to watch tall, handsome youths in spotless uniforms with sparkling spades mounted on their shoulders marching up and down the Circular Road. Their neatly set-up camps were an attraction for the passersby and a source of consternation for the Government. With each passing day, the Khaksars and the Government were drawing dangerously closer to a confrontation till on March 19, at about 11 in the morning, a lashkar of 313 Khaksars clashed with a contingent of the police under SSP Gainford. The jaish was formed from the finest Khaksar men at the Uchi Masjid, inside Bhati Gate. The two contingents, one commanded by Zaigham and the other by Inayat Shah, were to meet at the Hira Mandi chowk. Hardly had they reached the appointed place when the police ordered them to halt. The marching columns refused to take note of the warning. Gainsford stepped forward and slapped Inayat Shah in the face.

"Simultaneously, the mounted wing of the posse tried to run through the Khaksars. They tried their spades in reply. The frightened horses took flight with their riders. The law and order agency completely lost control of the situation, until the special police, rushing down in a formidable array from the steps of the nearby Fort, mowed down the crowd.

"The shooting was no less ruthless than the notorious massacre Dyer perpetrated at Amritsar in April 1919. The Khaksars were ordered by their commanders to break up and seek refuge wherever they could. None the less most of them decided to die in the open rather than drag their riddled bodies to some hiding place and die a forlorn death.

"I and a friend, Asghar, were standing outside Delhi Gate when an acquaintance came running to tell us of the holocaust. We rushed to the spot. It was a scene of utter desolation. The police had left and so had the Khaksars, dead or alive. Not a soul was to be seen nearby. Looking around, I saw a man coming timidly out of a narrow lane. He walked up to us and took us to the blank wall against which the captured Khaksars were made to act as sitting ducks for trigger-happy policemen.

"There was a fruit shop at the corner of the street opening upon Naugaza's grave. A middle-aged man managed it. He had fled during the slaughter and what made the tragedy unbearably poignant for him was that on return he noticed a one-anna coin on his seat. A wounded Khaksar had dragged himself up to the shop and lifted an orange in order to quench his thirst. But his end came too soon and he died before he could strip the peel from it. Nevertheless he had managed to pull the coin out of his blood-drenched pocket and leave it for the vendor to collect.

"No less thrilling was the story of two cousins narrated to us by the third. He had procured a seat in the balcony of a prostitute to watch the lashkar marching up the bazaar. No sooner had the Bazzar Hakiman column arrived beneath that a great commotion endured. Presently, a burst of rifle-fire rent the air. I peeped through the chink of a wooden plank and located one of my cousins writing in blood. 'Water' he said, while gasping for breath. The other cousin came running upstairs and shouted, 'where is the pitcher'? For a fraction of second, he stood motionless, in perplexity, absolutely surprised on seeing me there. But he did not talk to me and when I, along with other members of the household, tried to stop him from returning to the scene of carnage, he raised his spade in menacing manner. We funked. Like a flash of lightening he ran down into the street. But before he could hand over the glass of water to his dying cousin, a bullet pierced through his youthful frame. He staggered for a few steps and dropped dead. Their bodies were hurriedly removed, leaving a pool of blood to be evaporated by the mid-March sun into crimson flakes. He always appeared to me as a lover of death. I remember whenever I tried to remind him that his movement was pursuing a deadly course he always smiled and said: 'What a poor creature you are! I wish that people knew how sweet it is to die with courage.'

"Immigiately after the clash, Lahore was placed virtually under emergency laws: censorship of the news, no processions, no speeches, no mention of the organisation which was declared unlawful; the dead were not to be mentioned as martyrs or the living as heroes; the newspaper columns were to carry only the government version.

"A gloom hung over the city. Lahore lay utterly sullen under this blanket. This 'jolly city' was expected to present its gayest face to the guests drawn from the farthest end of the sub-continent for the League session which by all indications was going to be one of the most momentous in Indian annals. It could not. Lahore was caught between the gaiety of Minto Park and the gloom of Hira Mandi. To be torn by two opposite sentiments equally overpowering was an unprecedented expeience for Lahore."....

"The Khaksars were unique movement. The police firing upon them was not an unprecedented occurrence. Other movements, too, had been subjected to such firings. But what was really unique was that while others were taken mostly unawares, the Khaksars knew that a clash was inevitable. They came in formation with their shrouds wrapped round their heads, remained locked in battle till their commanders ordered them to disperse. They saw heads rolling around them, but they did not flinch. ...."

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