28th May 1930 – Takkar Massacre, Mardan

KKBY KADWAL: The British colonialists were angry because the freedom movement of the Khudai Khidmatgars, also known as the Red Shirts, was in full swing. After Peshawar and Utmanzai, Takkar was the stronghold of the movement and the British authorities were arresting leaders of the movement to crush it. On May 26, 1930 the British police officer Murphy arrived in Takkar along with the police force to make arrests.

On May 27 the Khudai Khidmatgars set off to Mardan in the form of procession. The British force did not allow them to reach Mardan and demanded the surrender of the elders. It triggered a clash between the two sides. Murphy on horseback forced his way into the procession. Suddenly gunshots were heard and Murphy fell down from his horse. The women in the procession started throwing pitchers full of water on him and this led to his instant death.

On May 28 the revengeful British soldiers laid siege to Takkar and its villagers witnessed the brutality of the worst kind. An elderly man was able to break through the police cordon and announce to people in nearby village that the British had attacked Takkar. The British even fired at the trees to scare away the villagers who were rushing to Takkar to assist those under siege.

Around 70 people were martyred and 150 wounded in the violence unleashed by the British force. Some of the martyred were identified as Juma Syed, Sanobar Kaka, Said Buland Kaka, Zarawar Khan and Baghi Shah. Every name was prefixed with the word ‘Shaheed’ because these brave villagers from Takkar and adjoining villages were martyrs in the true sense of the word. They fought the British imperialists and their soldiers and cops and showed the path of freedom to the people of undivided India.

Takkar was immortalised and folksongs were written to remember the tragedy. “Pa Takkar jang de,” is still a popular and sorrowful folksong that depicted the village scene on the day of the British offensive on Takkar. There was violence everywhere. Women and children were beaten up and even molested.

This was followed by the August Spina Tangi or Hathikhel massacre in Bannu.

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