AMRITSAR, PUNJAB, INDIA (REUTERS)- The partition of India and Pakistan in 1947 led to one of the largest known mass migrations in the human history with millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims displaced from their homelands.
Sudheer Singh Kukreja (77), recalls the traumatic memories of fleeing from his ancestral village when British colonial administrators ordered the creation of two countries 70 years ago – one mostly Muslim and one majority Hindu – triggering an unprecedented communal carnage.
As Pakistan was born, Kukreja, only seven then, and his family found themselves on the wrong side of the border.
Panic gripped Kukreja’s Hindu-Sikh majority village and the rising communal tensions left them with no other option but to take an arduous journey to India.
Kukreja stayed at a refugee camp in Sialkot for 10 days till a safe passage out of the country was secured. His family was part of a group which was escorted across the border by the military.
His family reached Ludhiana city and were allotted a shop and house by the Indian government. However, things did not work out for them there and they moved to their current residence in Punjab’s Amritsar city.
During the chaotic transition, train cars full of bodies arrived at railway stations in the twin cities of Lahore and Amritsar in the province of Punjab, split roughly down the middle.
Many survivors of the bloodshed found themselves separated from family on the other side of a hastily drawn-up border. The partition also triggered rape, abductions, and looting. About 15 million people were displaced and more than a million liv