On 13th April, 1919 people gathered at Jallianwala Bagh to protest against the arrest of the two nationalist leaders, Satya Pal and Dr Saifuddin Kitchlew. Suddenly, the British military officer,General Dyer, ordered his troops to fire at the unarmed crowd without even giving a warning to the people.

  • Rowlatt Act was passed and it led to massive protests across the country. This act authorised theBritish government to arrest anybody suspected of terrorist activities. It also authorised the government to detain such people arrested for up to 2 years without trial.
  • Even Gandhi organised Rowlatt Satyagraha to protest against the unilateral powers, the act confers on British administration.

Rowlatt Act, 1919:

  • The act was officially known as the Anarchical and Revolutionary Crimes Act, 1919 and was passed in March 1919 by the Imperial Legislative Council.
  • The act was passed as per recommendations of the Rowlatt Committee chaired by a judge, Sir Sidney Rowlatt.oThis act authorized the government to imprison for a maximum period of two years, without trial, any person suspected of terrorism.
  • The act provided s speedy trial of the offenses by a special cell that consisted of 3 High Court Judges. There was no court of appeal above that panel.
  • This panel could also accept the evidences which were not even acceptable in the Indian Evidences Act.oIt also placed severe restrictions on the freedom of the press.
  • The act was widely condemned by Indian leaders and the public. The bills came to be known as ‘black bills’.

What followed:

    1. This massacre exposed the inhuman approach of the British when the British troop cold-bloodedly open fire into an unarmed crowd.

    2. The massacre aroused the fury of the Indian people and the government replied with further brutalities. People in Punjab were made to crawl on the streets. They were put in open cages and flogged. Newspapers were banned and their editors put behind the bars or deported.

    3. Rabindranath Tagore, who had been knighted by the British, renounced his knighthood.

    4. Mahatma Gandhi felt the need to launch a broad-basedmovement so as to avenge the wrong done in Punjab.

    5. Hunter commissionwas established on this massacre but it was just an eye

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