Lahore, December 21, 1919
THE JALLIANWALA BAG HOOTING.
"VIEWS OF THE "TIMES".
London, Dec. 16
The "Times" draws attention to the profound impression made throughout the country by the disclosures of what happened at Amritsar and says that the public has been shocked by the occurrence and the delay in publishing the facts. The "Times" recites the broad facts of the risings and expresses the opinion that they constituted open rebellion. The paper mentions that the secret leaders were associated with Bolshevism and, after detailing the events at Amritsar, says that the result of the firing on April 13 was massacre. It declares that General Dyer's conduct, on his own showing, was indefensible, the worst feature being the continued firing although the crowd instantly began to disperse. General Dyer's evidence suggested that he held an excessive and unwarrantable conception, both of his own powers and of the steps necessary to restore order.
The "Times" assumes that the telegram approving General Dyer's action from the Lieutenant-Governor of the Punjab was despatched on insufficient knowledge. While awaiting fuller information, the "Times" urgently inquires why Mr. (Edwin) Montagu (Secretary of State for India) and Lord (Frederic Thesiger) Chelmsford never alluded to the happenings in Amritsar.
Lahore, December 20, 1919
The British Press on General Dyer's Action.
As might have been expected, the progressive section of the Press in England is as strong in its condemnation of General Dyer's action at Jallianwala Bagh as all sections of the Indian Press. The Daily News says that "the impression created must be removed at all costs if our credit and honour are not to be fatally impaired." The Daily Herald describes the proceedings as "Imperial atrocities". The description is rather premature, because the Imperial government neither sanctioned, nor have so far publicly upheld, the action of General Dyer, and it will, we are confident, turn out to be incorrect, because it is inconceivable that either the Imperial Government or the Government of India will, after the disclosures now made, have any opinion of those proceedings except the opinion of those proceedings except the opinion of India herself and of the better mind of England. But it certainly shows what the great Labour party thinks of these proceedings. And thus the Manchester Guardian:-"The shooting at Amritsar is as though a mad man had been set loose to massacre at large." The paper gives General Dyer credit for honesty, but adds:-"If General Dyer and his procedure were to be regarded as precedents for the future government of India, we might well despair of success in that tremendous and difficult task." To which we will only add that the question of precedents for the future government of India, we might well despair of success in that tremendous and difficult task." To which we will only add that the question of precedent or of future is not the only or the most important question in this case. The only organ which supports the General the notorious Morning Post, the most anti-Indian of all English papers at the present time, and which has constituted itself the mouthpiece of Sir Michael O'Dwyer even since he left this country.
December 25, 1919
More British Press Comment on General Dyer's Action.
The latest comments of the British Press on the Jallianwala Bagh tragedy draw attention to an aspect of the affair that is as important as it is serious. The Pall Mall Gazette says that Mr. Montagu's statement that he was ignorant of the details of the Amritsar affair until they appeared in the papers in England is astonishing and leaves an almost indescribable impression of the mechanism of Indian administration. The paper urges full disclosure of the official communications....The Times goes further and is even more pointed in its comment, which is the Times way, when it is able to make up its mind as to what it should do. It says that "so far as can be gathered Mr. Montagu never received a detailed account of General Dyer's action at Amritsar on April 13." "How comes it, then," asks the paper, "that a British General can inflict nearly 2,000 casualties on an unarmed mob in the Punjab without the full facts being forwarded within a reasonable time by the Viceroy to the Secretary of State?" This, indeed, is the question which the people of England who, as Mr. Montagu stated in his recent speech in the House of Commons, are at present the sole trustees for the good government of India, must ask, and ask ceaselessly until the wrong is righted and things in India are put on the right footing. The Times has rendered a service of the greatest value both to India and the Empire by leading the way in this vitally important matter. For once its position as the greatest English paper stands truly vindicated. We can only hope the Times will go on hammering at it, as it always does when it lays it finger on an evil which it wishes to see eradicated. Only thus can it get an answer to the "How," and also make sure that the state of things to which it refers shall never again be repeated in India or in any other part of the Empire.
Lahore, December 25, 1919
Where the Shoe Pinches.
It was only to be expected that the righteous indignation exhibited by a number of British papers and especially by the Times, the greatest of them all, both at what occurred at Jallianwala Bagh and at the delay in making the facts known to the British public, would be keenly resented by such a journal as the Civil and Military Gazette. The paper charges the Times with being subservient to the political whims of Lord Northeliffe, and with taking Mr. Montagu under its wing and discrediting the Government of India. One does not know where subserviency comes in the direct and outspoken comments of the paper on an obviously indefensible proceeding, nor is there any question of protecting Mr. Montagu or discrediting the Government of India, if, as is alleged and has not yet been denied, the latter did not, for reasons with which we have nothing to do, disclose material facts in connection with the Amritsar affair to the Secretary of State who is responsible for all their doings, first, to Parliament and then to the British elector....We suppose the Times has just as much right to express its opinions on such material it has before itself. Nor is it at all clear that the material on which the Gazette bases its comments is at all fuller than the Times' material. The Times' "nearly 2,000 casualties" is not a wild guess, but is based on the evidence of General Dyer himself.
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