Bhagat Singh & assembly incident

Bhagat Singh was an Indian socialist activist who at 23 years of age made him a hero of the Indian independence movement by two acts of dramatic violence against British citizens in India and his executions.

For some time, Singh had been using the power of drama as a way to encourage the rebellion against the British, purchasing a magic lantern to display slides that enlivened his talks about revolutionaries such as Ram Prasad Bismil who had died as a result of the Kakori conspiracy. In 1929, he suggested a dramatic act to the HSRA intended to obtain significant attention for their aims. His intention was to blow a bomb inside the Central Legislative Assembly, inspired by Auguste Vaillant, a French anarchist who bombed the Chamber of Deputies of Paris. The nominal aim was to denounce the Public Safety Bill and the Trade Differential Act, which were defeated by the Assembly but passed by the Viceroy with its special power; it was actually the intention of the perpetrators for prosecution and release to use court appearances.

The leaders of the HSRA initially opposed Bhagat ‘s participation in the bombing because they knew that his previous participation in the shooting of the Saunders meant he would be executed in the end. But ultimately they agreed he was their most fitting choice. Together with Batukeshwar Dutt, Singh hurled two bombs from his gallery during his meeting in the Assembly Chamber on 8 April 1929. The explosives were not intended to kill but some members of the Viceroy Executive Council were wounded, including George Ernest Schuster. The bombs filled the House with smoke, so that Singh and Dutt could well have eschewed uncertainty if they had wanted to. The slogan “Inquilab Zindabad!” instead remained screaming and hurled flyers. Both men had been arrested and later transferred to a number of prisons in Delhi.

“Public condemnation of this terrorist activity was unambiguous,” according to Neeti Nair, associate Professor of History. Again, Gandhi issued strong words of condemnation for his actions. The imprisoned Bhagat was, however, claimed to have been exhilarated and was referred to as “drama” during the ensuing litigation. Finally, Singh and Dutt replied in writing the Bomb Statement of the Assembly to the criticism:   Over and beyond terms, we keep human life sacred. Neither are we perpetrators of the nauseous outrage nor are we ‘lunatics’ as the Lahore tribune and some others would have it believed that force is morally unjustifiable if it is actively applied, but it does have a moral justification if used to promote a valid cause.

After a preliminary hearing in May the trial started in the first week of June. On 12 June, the two men were sentenced to life imprisonment for: “causing unlawful, malicious explosions that might endanger their lives.” Dutt was defended by Asaf Ali, though Singh stood up. The credibility of the evidence given during the trial was challenged. The electronic gun Singh was carrying when he was arrested was an significant difference. Some witnesses said that he had shot two or three times while the police sergeant who arrested him testified that the weapon was pointing downwards when he picked it up. Accruity witnesses had been coached, their findings wrong, and Singh had handed over the pistol himself according to an article in the India Law Journal. A life sentence was awarded to Singh.

The HSRA set up the Lahore and Saharanpur bombing factories in 1929. The Lahore bombing plant was discovered by the police on 15 April 1929 and other HSRA members, such as Sukhdev, Kishori Lal, and Jai Gopal, were arrested. Shortly afterwards, the Saharanpur factory was also raided and some conspirators were informed. The police could link the three streams from the killings, the assembling bombing, and the bombing industry with the new information available. The killers of Saunders accused Singh, Sukhdev, Rajguru, and 21 others.

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