Kakori Conspiracy

Kakori Conspiracy is also known as Kakori Conspiracy Case or The Kakori Train Robbery, it was an armed robbery which took place on August 9, 1925, on a train in central Uttar Pradesh. The robbery occurred at the town of Kakori, about 16 km from Lucknow which was where the train was headed. The raiders were known to be members of the newly formed Hindustan Republican Association, a revolutionary organization, later renamed as Hindustan Socialist Republican Association, whose mission was to liberate India from British colonial rule through a revolution which included armed rebellion.

Kakori Train Robbery Objectives:

The objectives of the Kakori Conspiracy were to:

  • Gain funds from the HRA by taking the money from the British Administration by force.
  • Create a positive image of the HRA among Indians by attacking a high- profile British government target with minimum collateral damage.

The Sequence of Events:

The robbery was planned by Ram Prasad Bismil and Ashfaqullah Khan. It was executed by Bismil, Khan, Chandrashekhar Azad, Rajendra Lahiri, Shachindra Bakshi, Keshab Chakravarty, Murari Lal Khanna(Gupta), Banwari Lal, Mukundi Lal Gupta and Manmathnath Gupta. The target was the guard cabin, carrying money collected from various railway stations to be deposited in Lucknow. Though no passengers were targeted by the revolutionaries, one passenger named Ahmed Ali was killed in the crossfire between the guards and revolutionaries. This made it a manslaughter case.

  • 8 August 1925: Decision to rob the government treasury to buy arms is taken at an HRA meeting.
  • 9 August 1925: Revolutionaries stop the Number 8 Down train near Kakori from Saharanpur to Lucknow and loot Rs. 8000 from the guard cabin.
  • British Administration launches a manhunt to arrest the revolutionaries.
  • 26 Sept 1925: Ram Prasad Bismil is arrested by the colonial authorities.
  • Kakori trial proceeds in the sessions court of A.Hamilton on 21 May 1926.
  • Mid-1926: Ashfaqulla Khan and Shachindra Bakshi are arrested after the conclusion of the trial.

After the incident, the revolutionaries fled to Lucknow. According to official records, 40 people were arrested during the trial. Chandrashekhar Azad who could not be captured reorganised the HRA and ran the organisation till 1931. He shot himself after being grievously injured and down to his last bullet at Chandrashekhar Azad Park (then known as Alfred Park) in a shootout with the police on 27 February 1931.

Kakori Conspiracy Case:

The trial on the Kakori Conspiracy Case started on 21 May 1926 against 28 active members of the Hindustan Republican Association. The lawyers defending the revolutionaries were:

  • Gobind Ballabh Pant
  • Chandra Bhanu Gupta
  • Gopi Nath Srivastava
  • R. M. Bahadurji
  • Kripa Shankar Hajela
  • B. K. Chaudhury
  • Mohan Lal Saxena
  • Ajit Prasad Jain

Ram Prasad Bismil famously defended his own case.

The public prosecutor for the British Crown was Pandit Jagat Narayan Mulla, who had refused to defend the revolutionaries.

The judge was assisted by:

  • Gyan Chattarji
  • Mohd. Ayuf
  • Banvari Lal Bhargava
  • Abbas Salim Khan

The final verdict of the case was pronounced in July 1927. Around 15 people were let off by the court for lack of evidence. Death sentences were awarded to:

  • Ram Prasad Bismil
  • Ashfaqullah Khan
  • Thakur Roshan Singh
  • Rajendra Lahiri

The following revolutionaries were sentenced to deportation to Cellular Jail in Port Blair, Andaman & Nicobar Islands:

  • Sachindra Bakshi
  • Shachindra Nath Sanyal

The others were sentenced to varying lengths of imprisonment:

  • Manmath Nath Gupta was sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment
  • Ram Krishna Khatri, Mukundi Lal, Raj Kumar Singh, Govind Charan Kar and Yogesh Chandra Chatterjee were sentenced to 10 Years in prison.
  • Suresh Charan Bhattacharya and Vishnu Sharan Dublish were jailed for 7 years.
  • Prem Krishna Sharma and Bhupen Nath Sanyal were imprisoned for 5 years
  • Keshab Chakravarthy was sentenced to 4 years in jail.

After the final judgement, the revolutionaries, who were sent to different jails, undertook hunger strikes protesting against the jail conditions and also demanding political prisoner-status for them.

Despite strong protest in India against the death sentences, the colonial government was unwilling to reconsider. The four death sentences were carried out between 17 to 19 December 1927. The Kakori case is an important event in the Indian independence movement.

IAS aspirants should read more about the various revolutionary movements in India during the freedom movement. The ideologies that revolutionaries espoused are important from the point of view of the UPSC syllabus. Candidates may be asked about these events in the interview especially if they have chosen history as an optional.

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