UPSC Exam Preparation: This Day in History – Apr 08

08 April 1929

Central Assembly bombing case               


What happened?

On 8 April, 1929, revolutionaries Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt threw bombs at the Central Legislative Assembly at Delhi.

Background

  • At about 12:30 PM on 8th April, 1929, as the President of the Central Assembly (akin to today’s Lok Sabha Speaker) Vithalbhai Patel began to give his ruling on the Trade Disputes Bill at the Assembly, an explosion occurred and the hall began to be filled with smoke.
  • There were slogans raised by young men from the Visitors’ Gallery, stating ‘Inquilab Zindabad’, ‘Workers of the world unite’, and ‘Down with imperialism’. The voices belonged to two young revolutionary freedom fighters Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt (also called B K Dutt). They also threw pamphlets into the hall.
  • Both the men did not flee the scene or try to evade arrest after the act. They willingly courted arrest.
  • Both of them were members of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association. Their motive, as stated by them, was not to kill or injure people, but to ‘make the deaf hear’.
  • Bhagat Singh, who masterminded the attack, was inspired by the French anarchist Auguste Vaillant who had bombed the French Chamber of Deputies in the year 1893. Vaillant was executed for the act.
  • In the 1929 attack, nobody was killed and only a few people had sustained minor injuries.
  • In fact, the revolutionaries only wanted to spread their ideas of revolution and inspire Indians to fight British imperialism, apart from protesting the unpopular bills that were being enacted in the assembly that day.
  • Among those present in the Hall were Motilal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Madan Mohan Malaviya, John Simon (of the Simon Commission) and others.
  • Both Singh and Dutt courted arrest even though both the bombs were thrown by Singh alone.
  • The trial started in May 1929. Lawyer Asaf Ali represented Dutt while Singh defended himself during the trial.
  • In June, the verdict was pronounced and both Singh and Dutt were sentenced to ‘transportation for life’.
  • In the meantime, the case of the murder of ASP John Saunders was linked to Bhagat Singh who was then charged in that case as well. He, along with Rajguru and Sukhdev Thapar, was executed for the murder case on 23 March 1931.
  • Dutt took part in the freedom movement after his release from incarceration. He died in 1965 after a prolonged illness. He neither received any recognition from the Indian government nor financial support despite being a part of one of the most illustrious chapters of the freedom struggle.
Also on this day

1894: Death of Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, writer and poet who composed the Vande Mataram.

1950: The Liaquat–Nehru Pact or Delhi Pact was signed between India and Pakistan.

 

See previous ‘This Day in History’ here.