Dera Gufa Massacre

Before 1947, Muzaffarabad district of Kashmir (now under control of Pakistan) region had a good presence of Kashmiri Pandits, who became Sikhs during and even after Gurus’ era. ‘Dera Gufa’ (ਡੇਰਾ ਗੁਫ਼ਾ) was a famous Sikh religious center, which was very popular in and around Muzaffarabad. The ‘Dera Gufa’ was situated on a bank of river Krishna Ganga. It was close to border of Kashmir and Pakistan.

On October 22, 1947, when the recitation of ‘Sri Sukhmani Sahib’, a holy composition in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji was about to be completed in early morning, a bullet fired from a gun struck to Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji inside the Gurdwara. It was an attack by Pakistani tribesmen backed by Pakistani army.

Sant Kishan Singh and many prominent Sikhs of the region were inside at that time along with about 1500 Sikhs from nearby villages.

In a few moments, tribesmen and Pakistani army besieged the Gurdwara.

The young Sikhs came outside to face invaders. They killed many attackers and then were martyred one by one in front of Gurdwara Sahib. Now, only old people, women and children were inside the Gurdwara.

When Pakistanis faced no resistance any more, they put the Gurdwara Sahib on fire. Inside the Gurdwara, there were hundreds of women, old men and children. As the fire spread and heat became unbearable, people started to come out of the Gurdwara. As they came out, Pakistanis fired on them.

Among those martyred were Bibi Anand Kaur wife of late Sant Narayan Singh (a famous Sikh preacher and head of the Dera), and Bibi Malap Kaur, a daughter of Sant Narayan Singh.

Many Sikh women, including Bibi Parduman Kaur, a daughter of Sant Narayan Singh were abducted by invaders.

About 1300 Sikh men, women and children were martyred in this massacre.