Jallianwala Bagh Massacre

On 10 April 1919, there was a protest at the residence of the Deputy Commissioner of Amritsar, a city in Punjab, a large province in the northwestern part of India.

The demonstration was to demand the release of two popular leaders of the Indian Independence Movement, Satya Pal, and Saifuddin Kitchloo, who had been earlier arrested by the government and moved to a secret location.

Both were proponents of the Satyagraha movement led by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.

The peaceful gathering was attended by men, women, and children.

General Dyer, a British military officer, declared the meeting illegal and without warning ordered his soldiers to fire.

The firing lasted for ten minutes, till all the ammunition was exhausted.

More than a thousand people were killed and over twice that number wounded.

The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre inflamed the anger of the Indians.

There were widespread protests. Rabindranath Tagore renounced his knighthood I protest.


Hunter Commission 1919

On 14 October 1919, after orders issued by the Secretary of State for India, Edwin Montagu, the Government of India announced the formation of a committee of inquiry into the events in Punjab.

The commission was formed to investigate Jallianwala Bagh Massacre event.

Referred to as the Disorders Inquiry Committee, it was later more widely known as the Hunter Commission.

It was named after the name of chairman, Lord William Hunter.

Lord William Hunter was assisted by five Englishmen and four Indians.

The stated purpose of the commission was to “investigate the recent disturbances in Bombay, Delhi, and Punjab, about their causes, and the measures taken to cope with them“.

The report of the Hunter Commission concluded that the Indian gathering was not the result of a pre-arranged conspiracy.

It asserted that the rioting in Amritsar had turned into rebellion.

The declaration of martial law was viewed as justifiable and that its application was, in the main, not oppressive.

The report concluded that General Dyer was justified in firing on the mob, though notice should have been given and its duration shortened.