Coimbatore

The Wagon Tragedy of 1921

It was exactly on November 21, 1921, 93 years ago, that a goods wagon that steamed into Podanur Junction from Tirur in Kerala spilled out as many as 70-bodies of ryots.

These farmers were arrested when they revolted against Colonial rulers and clashed with the Malabar police. They were herded into a windowless wagon without food and water to be transported to the Coimbatore prison.

The Malabar region comprised of Palakkad, Malappuram, Wayanad, Kasargone, Kozhikkode and Kannur which was part of the then Madras Presidency.

By the time the train chugged a distance of 140 km into Podanur, 70 farmers had suffocated to death. Some of them survived by drinking urine.

This horrific incident came to be called the Jalian Wallabagh of the South. In 1972, the Kerala Government called it the Wagon Tragedy.

The British Raj tried to cover up this heinous event but finally relented to the pressure and gave a solatium of Rs 300 to the families of those who were killed.

The Sergeant of the Malabar Police who ordered the farmers to be transported in this inhuman way to the prisons in Coimbatore and Bellary was called Richard Harvard Hitchcock.



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Printable version | Jan 9, 2021 8:00:19 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/the-wagon-tragedy-of-1921/article7904715.ece

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