Rowlett Satyagraha

The 1919 sedition Committee headed by Justice Rowlatt, led to the Rowlatt Act (18 March 1919) where by war time restrictions of civil rights were to be made permanent by

(a) System of special courts

(b) Detention without trial for two years maximum

(c) Greater police powers

  • This Act authorized the Government to imprison any person without trial and conviction of the court of law.
  • This law also enabled the Government to suspend the right of Habeas Corpus, which had been the foundation of civil liberties in Britain.
  • Anti-Rowlatt Satyagraha intended to mobilise public opinion against the Act.
  • It was first country wide agitation by Gandhi and marked the foundation of Non-Cooperation Movement.
  • During March and April 1919, the country witnessed a remarkable political awakening in India. There were hartals, strikes, processions and demonstrations.
  • On April 13-1919 (Baisakhi Day), Dr Saifuddn Kitchlew and Satyapal were addressing a peaceful rally in Jallianwala Bagh when Genral Dyer ordered for the infamous massacre.
  • The Hunter Commission’s report on the Punjab disturbances was described by Gandhi as a ‘White Wash).
  • Tagore returned his knighthood in protest.
  • Sardar Udham Singh who took the name of Ram Mohammed Singh murdered Dyer in England.
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