Today in Sikh History – 17th September
The working committee of the Indian National Congress set up an inquiry committee to report on the brutal treatment meted out to the Akal Satyagrahies by the Govt. forces in Guru-Ka-Bagh.
==> GURU KA BAGH gurudwara was under the control of Mahant Sundar Dass. He had agreed to serve under a committee of eleven members appointed by the SGPC on August 23, 1921, but the land remained under his possession. The Sikhs used to hew wood from the land for common kitchen and Mahant, under instigation from others, lodged a complaint against the Akalis. The government was on the outlook for opportunities to retrieve its prestige, lost in the Key’s affait. On Aug. 9, 1922, five Akali Sewadars were arrested for cutting wood for Guru Ka Langar from Guru Ka Bagh. Subsequently a morcha was launched to seek the release of the five GurSikhs.
From Aug. 23 until Sept. 13, the government sided with the Mahant and ruthelessly lathi-charged the visiting Jathas. The violent use of force on the non-violent Akalis had great impact in and outside the Punjab. The Government brutality was condemned. The police beat the Akalis with iron-tipped rods and batons, till blodd began to flow and the brave GurSikhs fell unconcious. The insults heaped up on the Akalis were unbearable. They were given inhuman punishments and their religious symbols were desecrated and hair pulled out. The effect of all this on thousands of GurSikhs was tremendous, resulting in deep seated hatred against the British rulers and the Sikhs lost all faith in non-violence. The Babbar Akali movement took its final shape during this Morcha. The courage and persistent of Sikhs became world renouned during this period. From Sept. 13 until Nov. 17, Sikhs courted arrests. Finally, the government gave in and on Nov. 17, 1922, all Sikh demands were accepted and the agitation was successfully concluded. During this agitation 5605 Sikhs courted arrest including 35 members of the SGPC, over a dozen Sikhs accepted shahidi and thousands were injured.
-Ref. Babbar Akali Movement, A Historical Survey, by Gurcharan Singh, Aman Publications, 1993.