A hundred years ago | January 21, 1920. Archives

From the Archives (January 21, 1920): Montagu Must Go.

The India writes: The most horrifying and amazing fact about the Amritsar Massacre after the vile deed itself, is that it has been possible to conceal it for exactly eight months from the British people. For that concealment the Secretary of State for India cannot possibly evade their responsibility. The direct culprit guilty of this campaign of suppression is either General Dyer, the Viceroy of India, or the Secretary of State — or all three combined. For the moment we have the word of the Secretary that he did not know the figure of the massacre until December 13, when he learnt them from the columns of our contemporary, the “Daily Express.” What a confession to be made by a Minister of the Crown! Taking it as strictly veracious, we are driven back upon the Government of India and General Dyer himself. Judging by the tone of his evidence the butcher of Jalianwala was supremely unlikely to fail to do justice to his own prowess and presumably reported the result of his great victory (which, by the way, included the killing of a seven months old baby and 52 children). Then what must have happened to his Report? At the moment we cannot say, but the questions arise in the mind: Was it suppressed deliberately by the Viceroy? And if so, why? One can believe almost anything of Simla, but it is difficult to believe that such a report could be casually laid aside and this famous victory immediately forgotten. Did not Pandit Malivya press hard for statistics of casualties in the Viceroy’s Legislative Council himself, stating them as some 500, and not actual figures given — 291? For doubling this, did not the Hon. C.M. Thompson severely castigate the Honourable Pandit?

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