A hundred years ago Dec. 25, 1920 Archives

From the Archives (December 25, 1920): The Nellore riots

The Local Government have just published the papers relating to the Nellore riot including the report of Mr. M.E. Couchman who was deputed to inquire into the rioting and the Government’s own order thereon. Mr. Couchman’s findings, so far as the magistracy are concerned, are as follow. After referring to the previous history of the case, and after deducing, from the action of the District Magistrate (Mr. R. Ramachandra Rao) in 1912 and the subsequent period the reproachful proposition “that there was if anything a bias in the district in favour of taking risks where the decrees of Civil Courts were concerned”, he absolves from blame Mr. Nedungadi, the District Magistrate concerned, on this ground and on the ground that he had no information of the intentions of Muhammadans from the police. “It is, however, impossible that he can have intended that the decree should be enforced by bloodshed, and it would have been better if he had instructed the Magistrates and Police that the procession should be stopped if serious rioting would result from persisting in it.” As regards the Magistrates on the spot, Mr. Couchman finds: “(1) The Magistrate should have made some attempt to personally reason with the rioters and warn them that firing was about to be ordered if they persisted in their unlawful actions.”

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