For his ambitious plan to consolidate himself in the possession of north-west Panjab by expelling the Bhangis and by subduing the independent and refractory Muslim chiefs, Mahan Singh needed money. It was not available anywhere in the Panjab as all the villages and towns had been reduced to poverty by the foreign invaders, government officials, the Sikhs and predatory tribes,. In the whole of northern India Jammu city alone was prosperous. It was due to Ranjit Dev who had established perfect peace there. Thousands of rich merchants, bankers and nobles had settled there. His greedy eyes turned towards it for riches.

Ranjit Dev had died in 1781. Brij Raj Dev was the ruler. His subjects and troops did not like him for his bad ways. Sandhu and Bhatti Jat rulers Haqiqat Singh Kanhiya and Mahan Singh had made a pact to plunder Jammu jointly, but Mahan Singh did it alone. Towards the close of January, 1784, Mahan Singh led his plundering hordes to Jammu. Brij Raj Dev fled into the distant hills of Vaishno Devi. The leading citizens of Jammu waited on Mahan Singh and offered to pay tributes. Mahan Singh assured them that he had not come to plunder, but to establish his authority. In the night he surrounded the town and closed all exits. The whole town was thoroughly sacked. Not a single house or place escaped. Women were stripped of all their ornaments and costly clothes. Floors were dug in search of buried wealth. Plunder lasted for three days and nights. Loaded with enormous booty worth more than a crore Mahan Singh returned to Gujranwala. Haqiqat Singh was so deeply shocked at this’ treachery that he died soon afterwards.

References :-

  • History of Sikhs -Vol. IV ,The Sikh Commonwealth or Rise and Fall of Sikh Misls By Hari ram gupta.
  • Elliot and Dowson, II, 429.
  • Attock Gazetteer, 1907, 39-40.
  • Gujranwala Gazetteer, 1893-94, 15, 22-25.
  • Gujrat Gazetteer, 16.
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