Simon was present in central assembly when Bhagat Singh, Batukeshwar Dutt hurled bombs: Archives

The entire plan, in fact, was modelled on a similar plan by French revolutionary, Auguste Vaillant, it wrote on social media.

Published: 08th April 2022 09:55 PM  |   Last Updated: 08th April 2022 09:55 PM   |  A+A-

Revolutionary Bhagat Singh

Revolutionary Bhagat Singh


NEW DELHI: When revolutionaries Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt hurled bombs in the Central Legislative Assembly in Delhi on April 8, 1929, Sir John Simon, head of an infamous commission which had faced widespread protests in India, was present in the chamber, according to archival records.

Newspapers then had also carried reports that the two freedom fighters dropped red leaflets from the Visitors' Galleries bearing the message -- 'It takes a loud voice to make the deaf hear', from Hindusatn Socialist Republican Army.

Among those present in the chamber (now called Parliament House), was Sir John Allsebrook Simon, the British man referred to in the 'Simon Go Back' slogan.

The Indian Statutory Commission, commonly known as the Simon Commission after its chairman, was sent to India twice -- from February-March in 1928 and October 1928-April 1929 -- to study potential constitutional reforms.

In 1930, the Commission published its two-volume report, also known as the Simon Report.

The Simon Commission faced protests and demonstrations in various regions across India, and was welcomed with black flags and slogans from Lahore to Patna.

The Delhi Assembly bomb case, as the April 8, 1929 incident is widely known, has been portrayed in a number of films and documentaries, showing the revolutionary duo hurling low-intensity bombs, chanting 'Inquilab Zindabad' ('Long Live Revolution') and also firing a few shots in the air.

Both Singh and Dutt surrendered after this incident and later a few newspapers reports quoted them as saying that it was only a "danger signal to the government" to "change the system of administration".

The Tribune's Lahore edition on June 8, 1929 had carried a report on the duo on its front page, with sub-headlines quoting them: 'We wanted to make deaf hear'; 'No faith in utopian non-violence', 'Assembly is only a hollow show'; and 'We could have ambushed Simon, but that was not our intention'.

The Delhi Archives on Friday marked the anniversary of the incident and also shared on social media, rare archival records, including news reports published on the incident and around the time of the their trial later in 1929.

"On 8 April 1929, revolutionaries Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt hurled two bombs at the Central Legislative Assembly at Delhi, in protest of an unfavorable Bill which would reduce the civil liberties of citizens. The true motivation behind this daring conduct was to be apprehended and use the ensuing court appearances to advance the cause of their organization, the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA), for India's independence," the Delhi Archives wrote on Twitter.

It also shared a rare poster bearing images of the duo, when they were on hunger strike in jail, protesting the conditions there.

According to a letter written to the superintendent of Central Jail, Lahore by B K Dutt, he had complained "against the discrimination faced by Indian prisoners".

In the letter he had asserted that they should be considered as 'political prisoners' and given better food, including "loaf and milk", toilet and other facilities, and "all kinds of literature and newspapers".

"People call us rash, misguided and impatient youths. So we must be given a fair chance of studying various books in order to see that whether we are really impatient, misguided youths or not; whether our live of work is wrong or right," Dutt wrote in the letter.

The Delhi Archives also wrote on Twitter that "Certain newspapers, namely Hindustan Times, Pioneer, and Bande Mataram, were to face contempt of court for printing images of Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt, who were implicated in the Assembly Bomb Case at the time", and also shared documents in connection with it.

The bombs meant to be thrown into the Delhi Legislative Assembly were to be harmless.

The entire plan, in fact, was modelled on a similar plan by French revolutionary, Auguste Vaillant, it wrote on social media.

In another old news clip, a report by Reuters news agency is headlined "Sir John Simon in the Chamber".

"In addition to Sir George Schuster, Sir Bomanji Dalal, and Mr Roy, Mr Raghvendra Rao, and Mr Shankar Rao were injured. The galleries were crowded to overflowing. Sir John Simon, the Chairman of the Indian Statutory Commission, was present to hear the ruling of Mr Patel as to whether or not he would permit the debate on the Public Safety Bill to be resumed," says the report.

The Simon Commission was sent to India in 1928 to review the Government of India Act 1919.

The Commission, appointed by then British prime minister Stanley Baldwin, did not include any Indian delegates.

As a result, the Indian National Congress and a faction of the Muslim League, led by Mohammed Ali Jinnah, decided to boycott the Commission.

According to a National Archives of India document on the incident and the subsequent trial, a session judge in Delhi had sentenced Singh and Dutt to “transportation for life”.

The document said freedom fighter Asaf Ali was the defence counsel.

The Central Legislative Assembly was housed in the Council House (now Parliament House building), an architectural masterpiece designed by Sir Herbert Baker.

The iconic building was inaugurated on January 18, 1927, 20 years before India attained its freedom on August 15, 1947, by then Viceroy, Lord Irwin.


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