Harphul Singh

September 1932

Cause of death Executed
Penalty Sentenced to death
Attack information
Date July 23, 1930
Location(s) Tohana, British Raj
Killed 11
Injured 4
Weapon(s) Double-barreled shotgun

Harphul Singh (also known as Chaudhuri Harphul Sing Gawbhagat) was an Indian dacoit who killed at least eleven people and wounded four others in Tohana, British Raj on July 23, 1930. He was later arrested, sentenced to death, and executed in September 1932.[1][2][3]


Singh was the son of a tailor. He had a deep hatred for butchers. In 1928 he killed his sister's father-in-law. Later he robbed and killed a Muslim butcher in Narwana. When a police sub-inspector was sent to arrest him, Singh shot him dead in a doorway. A month later he murdered two other Muslim butchers.[4][5]


On July 23, 1930 Singh and a companion came to Tohana with the intent of frightening inhabitants and rob them of money and the women's gold bangles. Both were armed with double-barreled shotguns, they fired shot to frighten the inhabitants they dropped to the ground, Singh and his companion set fire to the thatched roofs of two or three huts. Singh then rushed through the village and shot people at random after asking if they were Muslims, apparently to avenge the killing of a cow, killing five Muslim butchers and five Hindus, then killed a mother with her child, he killed a money-lender who refused to give him gold, when his cartridges were spent he and his companion fled. Townspeople and police took up pursuit. On his way Singh killed a tax collector and his orderly. A reward was offered for Singh's capture.[4][5]

Death tolls vary, some sources state eleven people were killed, among them seven Muslims and four Hindus, while four others were injured.[6]


After the murders Singh escaped and waylayed Muslims in the district whenever possible, until he was arrested. Great sums of money have been raised and spent for his defence, but he was convicted and sentenced to death. He was executed in September 1932.[7][8] Among the Jats in the area songs were composed and sung to honour him.[9]


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