|On the 8th August, 1922 A.D., the police arrested five Singhs for cutting Acacia wood for langar (community kitchen) from uncultivated land attached to Gurdwara Guru Ka Bagh. Everyone was sentenced to a fine of rupees fifty and mprlsonment for six months on charge of stealing wood from the land of the Mahant. Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee started an agitation against this excess of the Government. Mr. B.T., the additional police superintendent started beating with clubs the Singhs taking part in the agitation. On the 13th September, the beating was stopped on motivation from Reverend C.F. Andrews and Singhs were arrested and sent to prisons.
One day a squad of army pensioners led by Subedar Amar Singh Dhaliwal from Kapurthala state courted arrest. Magistrate Aslam Khan sentenced those Singhs to imprisonment of two and a half years and a fine of one hundred rupees each. Those Singhs were boarded on a train from Amritsar to Attak on the night of the 29th October, 1922 A.D. The train stopped at Rawalpindi on the 30th October and moved on after change of staff and taking water for the locomotive. The Sikh community of Gurdwara Panja Sahib on that route got ready food and drink to serve the Singhs of the squad, took it to the railway station early in the morning of the 31st October and started waiting for the train to arrive.
The station master told them, “The train shall not stop at this station. You have made these arrangements for nothing.” Bhai Karam Singh replied, “Baba Nanak had stopped a mountain with one hand. Cannot his Sikhs stop a train ?” At ten o’clock, seeing the train approaching, Bhai Karam Singh lay on the railway line. Next to him Bhai Partap Singh, Sardar Ganga Singh, Sardar Charan Singh, Sardar Nihal Singh, S. Tara Singh, S. Fakir Singh, S. Kalyan Singh and many other Singhs and Kaurs (female of Singh) squatted on the track. Seeing the Singhs lying on the track, the driver of the train blew the whistle time and again but the Singhs did not budge as if they had not heard the whistle at all. The engine ground the bones of Bhai Karam Singh and Bhai Partap Singh to pulp and the others suffered injuries. The train stopped. Bhai Partap Singh said to Sangat (Sikh devotees), “Serve the hungry Singhs in the train first. You can take care of us afterwards.” The train halted for one and a half hours. The Sikhs served the Singhs in the train whole-heartedly and then turned to the injured. Bhai Karam Singh, thirty year old son of Bhai Bhagwan Dass Mahant of Kesgarh Sahib died after a few hours. On the next day Bhai Partap Singh, twenty-four years of age, son of S. Sarup Singh goldsmith of Akal Garh, Gujranwala attained martyrdom. Before attaining martyrdom he recited ” Kabira sant Muye kiya Roviye jo apne greh jaye rovo saakat bapre jo hato haat bikaye” and instructed his 18 years old wife that never cry over his death otherwise his sacrifice will be wasted. It is said that she never cried her whole live and bravely recited Gaddi the Chhand written in honour of these Train Martyrs and was also engrossed in “Naam Simran”.
when the train-driver was asked the reason for stopping the train, he replied, ‘When the train hit the Singhs lying on the track, vacuum lever dropped out of my hand and the train stopped. I did not apply the brakes.”
Sources provided by:
- Sardar HP Luthera (Great Grandson of Shaheed Partap Singh firstname.lastname@example.org
- Santok singh Jagdev of Sikh missionary society "Bed-Time stories -7"