Tuesday, 23 August 2011

The well of death at Thuvur ( Sep 25, 1921 )


  On 25th Morning nearly 100 houses with the sleeping inhabitants of Tuvvur were surrounded by Mappilla rebels. The residents were ordered out and some escaped.  The men had their legs and hands tied.  The women and children were unharmed.  All the houses were burnt  The prisoners were taken to Cherikamalkunnu and from there to Pangodu. On the eastern side of the land called Palurkuzhi parambu there is a  rock which stands below a small hillock. The trial of the prisoners took place here. Some versions attribute the atrocities to V.K. Haji, some to Chembrasseri Thangal.  The latter was given credit by a large section for this deed. K. Madhavan Nair, the leader of the Congress, says that he was told by certain Mappilas of Tuvvur that the culprit was a relative of Chembrasseri Kunhikoya Thangal called Imbichikoya Thangal.

                        The well which attained, notoriety is situated midway between Tuvvur and Karuvarakundu on the slope of the bare hillock.  The meeting of about 4,000 followers of Chembrasseri Thangal from the neighboring amsoms was presided by the Tangal sitting in the shadow of the small tree.  More than 40 Hindus were taken to the Tangal with their hands tied behind their back. Three people were shot dead; 34 Hindus and 2 Mappilas ( who were living with the Hindus ) were taken one by one to the well 15 feet away from the rock.  Just at the brink there is a small tree. The executioner stood here and after cutting on the neck with his sword pushed the body into the well.  Many of the people who were thus thrown in were not dead, but escape was impossible.  The sides of the well are cut in hard laterite rock and there are no steps.  It is said that some people were crying out from the well even on the 2nd  day of the massacre.  They must have died a particularly horrible death. ( There is another story associated with the Thuvvur well. It is said that after two days a nearby Mappila named 'Kandarmadi' climbed down the well using a ladder and hacked the remaining Hindus to death using a machete ) At the time when this massacre was perpetrated it was the rainy season, and there was some water in the well.  E. Rama Menon, B.A. visited the spot along with Pandit Rishi Ram the Arya Samaj Missionary. At this time the well was dry. The visitors had a look at the gruesome sight.  The bottom was entirely filled with human bones and 30 skulls were counted.  One skull was particularly noticeable as it was neatly divided into two halves by means of a saw. This was the skull of an old man pensioned head constable Kumara Panikker. K. Madhavan Nair visited the spot with Srinivasa Sastri a few months after the rebellion and he counted 20 skulls.

                        In the Zamorin's  records is a letter which states – In Tuvvur most houses were looted and burnt, men with hands tied  behind were taken, some flayed alive, some hacked all over, some hacked half to death and thrown into a well.  Two were killed  mid way to the well. An 80 year old man bedridden for 10 months was killed there. In all 36 were killed, 33 killed were put in a well of which 3 were Embrandiris. The Tuvvur case was tried in the Court of the Special Judge Malabar E. Pakenham Walsh and the accused Achuthodi Kunhappi sentenced to death on 25th Jan. 1923.
                        The leaders of the Tuvvur massacre were identified. The witnesses included the widow of the head constable Kumara Panikker who was stripped, her husband was tied up and their and house set on fire. Her husband and another man who were sleeping were taken away.  She was informed of the murder of her husband by a local man who had managed to escape the massacre. Achuthodi Kunhappi and Amakundan Mammad were two of the rebels who came to her house.  The former had came earlier demanding a gun and he was armed with a gun when he came to their house on that day.  The latter tied her husband’s hands.

                        There were three other witness to the crime who had been seized by the rebels but let off. One by promising Rs.100/- and to help to capture his brother the Amsam Menon. Another was let off because be surrendered some jewels.  All the relatives of these people who were seized with them were killed.  The information about the crime had reached the Sub Inspector at Pandikkad within 3 days.
                        All the witnesses were consistent about the horrible massacre.  There are 4 leaders Chembrasseri Thangal, Imbichikoya Thangal, Amakundan Mammad and Achuthodi Kunhappi.  It was Imbichikoya Thangal who ordered Kumara Panikker to be put to death for rendering assistance to the Military.  It was Achuthodi Kunhappi with Amakundan Mammad’s assistance who sawed through the skull with a saw and finally the latter finished the work by cutting his neck with a sword and throwing the body into the well.  One Murthi Embrandiri, priest of a temple was killed by Chembrasseri Tangal. There was a gruesome competition among the Mappilas as to who should have the pleasure of killing the captives.  The ‘cases were tried under Section 121(waging war), Section 110 (abetment) and Section 302 (Murder) and accused was found guilty.

                         - Madhavan Nair P 207/ Gopalan Nair P 56 / Hitchcock P 287          

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I believe that the greatest Hindu deficient is not unity. It is COURAGE.