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Jallianwala Bagh Tragedy

Jallianwala Bagh Tragedy: In protest to the Rowlatt Act, Amritsar observed hartal peacefully both on 30th March and sixth of April 1919. The government decided to made the popular protest with repression. On April 10, 1919, Dr Satyapala and Dr Kitchlew, two popular leader of the province, were deported from Amritsar. On the same day a peacful procession at Amritsar was fired upon. Thereupon, the people committed acts of arson and assulted a few Europeans.
On 12 April, 1919, the proclamation was issued by General Dyer, who had taken charge of troops the day before, that no meetings or gathering of the people were to be held. However, no steps were taken to see the proclamation was brought to the notice of the people. The result was, public meeting was announced for 13 April, 1919 at 4:30 PM in Jallinwalla Bagh. Neither General Dyer nor other authorities to connection to stop the meeting. The meeting started at right time and there were about 6,000 to 10,000 people present in the meeting. Without giving any warning to the people to disperse, Gen Dyer ordered the troops to fire. The firing continued until the whole of the ammunition at the disposal of the troops exhausted. Officially 379 people were killed.

The Jallianwala tragedy had a lasting impact on succedding generations. Rabindranath Tagore renounced his Knighthood as a measure of protest. Ghandhiji returned the Kaisar-i-Hind medal given to him for his work during the Boer War. C.F. Andrews, a friend of Tagore, Mahatma Gandhi and the Nehrus, wrote to Mahadev Desai after a visit to Amritsar, “It was a massacre, a butchery.”

Hunter Committe: The Jallianwala Bagh massacre provoked a strong public reaction in India and England. The Government pointed a Committee of Enquiry (consisting of four British entry Indian members) under the chairmanship of Lord Hunter to enquire into the Punjab disturbances. The Indian National Congress decided to boycott the Hunter Community and appointed the nonofficial committee consisting of popular lawyers, including Motilal Nehru, CR Das, Abbas Tyabji, MR Jayakar and Ghandhiji. Before the Hunter Committee began its proceeding, the government passed an Indemnity ACt for the protection of its officers. The “white washing bill” as the Indemnity Act was called, was severly criticised by Motilal.

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