Rowlatt Act and Jallianwala Bagh Massacre – Part 9

Rowlatt Act (1919)

  • In 1917, a committee was set up under the presidentship of Sir Sydney Rowlatt to look into the militant Nationalist activities.
  • On the basis of its report the Rowlatt act was passes in March 1919 by the central legislative council.
  • As per this Act, any person could be arrested on the basis of suspicion.
  • No appeal or petition could be led against such arrests.
  • This act was called the Black act and it was widely opposed.
  • An all- India hartal was organized on 6 April 1919.
  • Meetings were held all over the country.
  • Mahatma Gandhi was arrested near Delhi.
  • Two prominent leaders of Punjab, Dr Satya Pal and Dr Saifuddin Kitchlew, were arrested in Amritsar.

Jallianwala Bagh Massacre (13 April, 1919)

  • The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre took place on 13 April 1919 and it remained a turning point in the history of India’s freedom movement.
  • In Punjab, there was an unprecedented support to the Rowlatt Satyagraha.
  • Facing a violent simulation, the government of Punjab handed over the administration to the military authorities under General Dyer.
  • He banned all public meetings and detained the political leaders.
  • On 13th April, the Baisakhi day (harvest festival), a public meeting was organized at the Jallianwala Bagh (garden).
  • Dyer marched in and without any warning opened fire on the crowd.
  • The firing continued for about 10 to 15 minutes and it stopped only after the ammunition exhausted.
  • According to official report 379 people were killed and 1137 wounded in the incident.
  • There was a nation wide protest against this massacre and Rabindranath Tagore renounced his knighthood as a protest.
  • The Jallianwala Bagh massacre gave a tremendous impetus to the freedom struggle.

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