“Killing two birds in one shot,” is a popular idiom. But the brutal Razakars, the private army of the Nizam rulers in 1948, adapted it for a cruel game, in Bhairanpally village decades ago. They made people stand one behind the other, fired a bullet into the chest of the first person, ensuring that it pierced the chest of others too.
“They made the villagers stand in three, ten and even twenty in a row and fired from close range into the chest of the one standing in front. One or two persons who survived lived with those injuries till their death,” said 89-year-old Challa Chandra Reddy who was witness to the terror unleashed by the Razakars on Bhairanpally on August 27, 1948.
“I was around 18 or 20 years then. I either used to guard the village border or work as courier to communists and village elders, apprising the tense situation and attempts of Razakars to enter the village,” Mr. Chandra Reddy explained.
The Nizam’s private army was trying to quell the uprising of people demanding merger of Nizam dominion into the Indian Union soon after August 15, 1947. They marched the length and breadth of Telangana plundering and looting villagers, acting like bandits who were let on the loose.
A section of Razakars tried to enter Bhairanpally. They made three attempts since June of 1948. The villagers resisted by using slings and other traditional weapons and chased them away. However, in August the Nizam government police helped the Razakars gain entry into the village. They first made those guarding the village from the mud fort climb down and shot them all. “After the night vigil, I came down that morning and went home. Those who came to take charge from us were all killed and thus I narrowly escape death that day,” Mr. Chandra Reddy recalled. The Razakars killed 96 people in Bhairanpally that day. They raped women, paraded them naked and snatched away gold ornaments from them. As the brutes chased, the villagers ran helter skelter and some even died jumping into the open wells in agricultural fields. With tears rolling, Mr. Chandra Reddy recalled those appalling times, saying his spine still chills thinking of the way the Razakars terrorised the villagers. The communists tried to help the villagers by supplying rifles, but it was inadequate . They used to camp on the village outskirts hiding from the Nizam police.