Song Depicts Hondh Chillar Massacre: Village Slaughtered in 1984

The Hondh-Chillar massacre[note 1] (Punjabi: ਹੋਂਦ-ਚਿੱਲੜ ਕਤਲੇਆਮ [ refers to the killings of at least 32 Sikhs on November 2, 1984 in a village in the Rewari district of Haryana, allegedly by the members of Indian National Congress during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. The local police did not intervene in the massacre, pursue a First information report filed by survivors or help resettle the survivors. The mass graves at the massacre were rediscovered in January 2011. A similar massacre occurred in nearby Pataudi.
During the Partition of India, Hondh village was settled by 16 families who migrated from Pakistan.[4] Hondh was a “dhani”, or cluster of farmhouses, outside the main village of Chillar.[3] The families were influential and prior to the massacre the Sarpanch, or mayor, of Chillar had been one of the residents of Hondh.[5]

After the October 1984 Assassination of Indira Gandhi, thousands of Sikhs were killed in the 1984 Anti-Sikh pogroms by Indian National Congress mobs being aided by government officials who provided “trucks and state busses” as well as “weapons-including oil, kerosene, and other flammable materials”.[6]

The attack happened in two waves. On November 1, 1984 a group of Indian National Congress memberss attempted to storm the village but the Sikh villagers were able to fend them off.[1] However, at 10 AM on November 2, a truck and a bus carrying “200-250” young men arrived at the village.[1] They began attacking the Sikhs armed with rods, lathis, diesel, kerosene, and matches as well as chanting slogans in favor of the Congress (I) party.[4] For four hours the Congress members mob beat to death and burned alive 31 Sikh villagers.[1] They continued to burn down the Sikhs’ bungalows and Gurdwara until the villagers who were able to escape the initial attack tried to find shelter in three different houses. The mob then set two of the houses on fire by pouring kerosene through the roof.[4] One villager, Balwant Singh, retaliated by killing one of the rioters with a sword and another group of villagers ran out of their burning house to fight back.[1][4] Once the villagers started fighting back the massacre “came to an abrupt halt”.[1]

On the night of November 2, the 32 surviving Sikhs found shelter in the house of a Hindu family in Dhanora, a nearby village.[4] Under the cover of night they escaped to Rewari in a tractor trolley.[1] Once the villagers started fighting back the massacre “came to an abrupt halt”.[1] The survivors now reside in Ludhiana and Bathinda in Punjab [7]

A FIR was filed by Dhanpat Singh, the then sarpanch, or mayor, of Chillar at police station Jatusana in Mahendragarh district, which is now in Rewari district.[2] It reveals the killers first came from Hali Mandi[note 2] around 11 AM but were persuaded by the villagers to turn around.[2] When they came in the evening they had several more trucks of reinforcements and a group of three Hindus had tried to persuade the killers to leave the village but were intimidated into leaving.[2] It reports that 20 of the dead Sikh villagers’ bodies were burned beyond recognition.[2]

On February 23, 2011, the local police claimed to have lost the First information report, however The Times of India was able to find a signed copy of the report which had been obtained from the same police station just days earlier.[2]

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