In October, 1947, Pakistani tribesmen and Pakistani army attacked Kashmir. Sikhs lived in many villages all over the state. In this page, we are remembering a massacre which took place in Domel (Punjabi: ਦੋਮੇਲ, Hindi: दोमेल).
Sikhs were settled down in many villages around Muzzafrabad (present Capital of Pakistan occupied Kashmir). When Pakistanis attacked Kashmir, many Sikhs living near border villages were martyred without getting any chance to leave the area.
As the news of massacres of Sikhs and Hindus spread in Muzzafrabad and nearby villages, they tried to go to safe places.
A group of about 1200 Sikh men and women of 8-9 villages (Kotli, Avihar, Basnara, Haru, Rarha, Tera and Bakka etc) were trying to escape under their leaders Sant Baldev Singh, Giani Rangeel Singh and S. Gurbaksh Singh.
When they reached ‘Domel’ (near Muzzafrabad, they were confronted by Pakistani Army. The Pakistani army commander promised Sikhs that if they surrender their weapons to Pakistani army, they would be sent to Jammu safely.
These Sikhs have not enough weapons and ammunition to battle an army of a country. Also, they thought Pakistani army will not harm innocent civilians. Sikhs gave their arms to Pakistanis. Immediately after getting all weapons of Sikhs, the army commander asked them either to embrace Islam or get killed.
When the leaders of this group of Sikhs found that they were betrayed, they asked to give them time to consider Pakistanis’ offer. Pakistanis agreed.
There was a hotel in Domel, whose Hindu owner was killed during this invasion. These Sikhs took a ‘Karhahi’ (ਕੜਾਹੀ, an iron utensil used to cook ‘Karhah Prashad’) and other utensils from this hotel.
They prepared ‘Karhah Prashad’ (ਕੜਾਹ ਪ੍ਰਸ਼ਾਦ) and gathered in form of congregation. As not a single Sikh was ready to be a Muslim, they decided to embrace martyrdom.
They performed an ‘Ardas’ (ਅਰਦਾਸ) asking the Waheguru for ‘Trust of Dharma and Gurmat’. The ‘Karhah Prashad’ was distributed among them. All of them took ‘Karhah Prashad’ with devotion.
The Sikh women and children were advised to run towards river Neelum. Bibi Makhan Kaur (wife of Sant Baldev Singh) and his young daughter led the women and children towards the river.
Sikh men went to Pakistani army commander. Amidst the holy slogans of ‘Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal’ (ਬੋਲੇ ਸੋ ਨਿਹਾਲ ॥ ਸਤਿ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਅਕਾਲ॥) they announced that they were ready to drink the cup of martyrdom.
Pakistanis opened fire by machineguns. Hundreds of faithful Sikhs cheerfully embraced the martyrdom.
Sikh women carried their children in their arms and jumped into the river.