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Munir Commission Report-Part 39; Misleading statements by District Magistrate

Mr. Daultana’s view of D. M.’s duty.

 

immediately placed under other superior officers, they could not take independent action. I do not see why their duties should be different from those of other District Magistrates and Superintendents of Police. * * * * * if they have any doubts, the advice of senior officers would be available. I was not consulted when section 144 was promulgated.”

 

Mr. Daultana is forgetting the meeting at his house, over which he himself presided. His attitude towards responsibility in this behalf is the vary opposite of the District Magistrate. He cannot say he was not abreast of the situation, as that would betray extreme apathy. But if he was abreast of the situation, then let us suppose that it is a desperate situation and Mr. Daultana’s officers are oblivious of its character, would he regard it as unjustified interference with their duties if he pulled them up to action? But we agree that the position taken by him in respect of the duties of the two principal officers is correct. The District Magistrate can act independently. In Lahore, he should particularly consult the Inspector-General, and if any superior officer disagrees with him, he would be wise to record a note to that effect and send a copy thereof to the disagreeing officer. But he should not merely attend conferences. If he has one leg in the Government House, he should have the other in Wazir Khan Mosque—and we would prefer it to be the right leg.

 

In another context, Mr. Ghias-ud-Din Ahmad made the following observations. “I do not think anyone impeded the decisions of either the District authorities or the Inspector-General. I personally felt that in a place like Lahore the local authorities must be advised, helped and guided by senior officers like the Inspector-General, because it is actually his duty, in addition to the local authorities, to maintain law and order and look after the internal defence of the province”. That was in answer to the question whether it was not true that the case of Lahore suffered because there were too many persons here to be consulted.

 

II. The Walled City.

III. Wazir Khan Mosque.

 

These two subjects are connected. We have already quoted a passage from the Provincial Government’s “sitrep” dated the 9th March to the Central Government, describing events from the 2nd of March to the declaration of Martial Law. In that passage we particularly recall the statement that Maulana Akhtar Ali Khan, who was leading the procession of the 2nd March, could not be arrested earlier under the detention order issued against him, “as he was most of the time in Wazir Khan Mosque”. The date of issue of the order would appear from Mr. Daultana’s statement to be the 1st of March, and if he could not be arrested by reason of the fact that he was in Wazir Khan Mosque, it means that even on the 1st March Wazir Khan Mosque was beyond the pale of law and order. This is a plain fact which has impressed us right from the start, but which is obstinately denied by some officers because its admission cannot but land them in difficulties. The first difficulty is Duty of District Magistrate.

 

Home Secretary’s view.

Wazir Khan Mosque was beyond law and order.

 

That if Wazir Khan Mosque was such a dangerous spot, why was the prohibitory order not applied to it? The second difficulty is that if the police could not control the situation there, why was it not handed over to the military, particularly on the 5th March, when decision to that effect were taken at the Government House? The third difficulty is that an admission in this behalf would explain the fact that after the murder of the Deputy Superintendent of Police on the evening of 4th March, everybody rushed, not to the scene of occurrence—Wazir Khan Mosque—but to the Kotwali, and they do not wish to admit that the refractoriness of the situation was any reason for that remarkable conduct. The fourth difficulty is Maulana Abdus Satar Niazi—not a difficulty merely, but a razor edge—who had shifted his lodgings from his residential house to the Mosque and was sending out peals of religious thunder that reverberated up to the Government House.

 

The responsibility for excluding the walled city is principally that of the Inspector-General, though here again, the District Magistrate has insisted on transferring it to himself. Mr. Anwar Ali says: “It is an accepted principle that no order should be issued which is not capable of proper enforcement. In 1934, during the Shahidgunj agitation, when I was an Assistant Superintendent of Police, the police were brickbatted and completely isolated in the walled city. Thereafter, the Inspector-General, issued orders that we should never attempt to stop any procession or deal with it inside the walled city. In such a contingency, the military will face the same difficulties”.

 

Q.—Does it mean that both the military and the police would be helpless in this situation?”

Ans.—If such an order is essential, it should be enforced in a part or parts of the city, because in that case the difficulties in its enforcement would be comparatively less”.

 

At this stage a question naturally arose as to why it was possible for the military to control the whole city within six hours of the Martial Law, and in fact, this should have been anticipated. The answer was that the military had more man-power and greater fire-power, and, above all, they were not answerable for their action as the police is. This, again, gives rise to the question why a particular situation was not handed over to the military, or a particular duty, say that of arresting those who violated the curfew order, not assigned to it. Mr. Anwar Ali says: “If the military had come in full force to the aid of civil power, the situation would have been controlled. The reason why it was not requisitioned was (1) the Government were anxious to avoid requisitioning it and (2) there was a feeling that the army would co-operate only if complete control were handed over. It was felt that if control were handed over, there would be more bloodshed”. These are not two different reasons, because the anxiety of Government would be based on an apprehension of bloodshed. This is true enough, because even on the 6th of March, when the situation was by all accounts desperate, Mr. Daultana preferred a confession of defeat to military “occupation”, for that is how the civil authority appears to have looked at the matter.

 

Government anxious to avoid using troops.

I.G. advised exclusion of walled city.

How did the troops control the city within six hours?

 

Hafiz Abdul Majid, the Chief Secretary, viewed the matter as an outsider. Asked why the walled city was excluded from the prohibitory order, he replied: “It was to be imposed by the District Magistrate and he should be asked this question, * * * * * I myself did not raise any objection to the exclusion of the walled city”.

 

Mr. Ghias-ud-Din Ahmad was of the following view: “The District Magistrate and the Inspector-General, could have taken independent action, irrespective of other officers and Ministers. Wazir Khan Mosque, it is true, was the centre of all trouble at that time, but it was felt that it would not be possible for the police to take action there”.

 

(Asked about the military) “I do not know whether the military were specifically consulted on this point or asked to go inside the walled city, but it was the opinion of the Inspector-General that even during the pre-Partition days operations inside the city were not feasible owing to narrow streets and congested buildings. * * * * * It is true that the military operated in the walled city after Martial Law, but they threw in nearly four brigades and even then they had to wait for sometime. * * * * It is true that troops were available even before Martial Law. * * * * * * I did not notice any reluctance on the part of the civil authorities to hand over this particular situation to the army, but this question can be answered more appropriately by the District Magistrate and the Inspector-General.”

 

The District Magistrate said that he had excluded the walled city from the order of 2nd March “because there was no likelihood of disturbance there. There was not the remotest chance of that”. At least, after the murder of Sayyed Firdaus Shah (D. S. P.), a superlative should have been used with restraint. When reminded of that, he said that on the evening of the 4th March he did feel necessary to “include” the walled city and that he passed a curfew order accordingly. Then, when we saw the curfew order, and found that it excluded the area surrounded by the Circular Road, we asked him if the curfew order included the city. He replied, ignoring his previous answer: “I was not advised to impose curfew within the city walls”. Consequently, the entire statement about the remoteness or otherwise of the chance of disturbance collapses. Next he said that the reason why he had excluded the walled city was not that it could not be enforced, but because he was not moved by the police. When, however, he was confronted with the statement of the Senior Superintendent of Police that the walled city was excluded because the Inspector-General thought it might not be possible to enforce the order in that area, he said that was the correct position. Consequently, whatever be the correct position, we cannot rely for it on the District Magistrate.

 

Then he was questioned as to why, if that was the correct position, he did not ask for military aid. He said the military had already been requisitioned ! But we all know that the troops stood by. What we wanted to know was why this wholesome remedy that was available, was not applied to the disease. Why were quack remedies resorted to? For It is Chief Secretary had no view.

 

Home Secretary on walled city.

District Magistrate’s reason for excluding walled city.

The version is unreliable.

Why he did not ask for military aid.

 

worse than quack remedy to send troops to the Kotwali when Wazir Khan Mosque is the danger spot. He was then asked whether, as head of the police, he had commanded the police to clear Wazir Khan Mosque, and he replied: “My duty was to pass orders and the ground work was to be done by the police”. This made us hopeful and we asked him whether he had passed any order. But his reply was that “there was no need to pass an order as we were all clear that the mosque should be cleared and the police were alive to it”.

 

In another place, he said in connection with the mosque: “We all knew that it was a big menace, and the police were fully alive to their duty and did not require any formal order from me. In fact, the curfew had already been imposed.” And yet the curfew did not include the city! Asked whether he thought the police were failing in their duty in this field, he said he would not say that, for “they must have been considering to discover the best method of how to clear the mosque. * * * * * * The matter was being considered after Niazi’s fiery speech on the 2nd or 3rd March, and more thought was given to it after the murder of the D. S. P.”

 

Q.— “Did this serious thought lead to anything tangible?”

Ans.—“The police must have taken some action. * * * * No particular order was needed from me as we all were alive to the danger. * * * * * It is true that I am head of the police, but effort must have been made by the police to tackle the situation and I made an effort in a way.”

 

He sent some ladies and gentlemen to the mosque on the 6th March. Ch. Nazir Ahmad Khan, counsel for the Jama’at-i-Islami, thought the emphasis was on ladies, and read a quatrain in parody, from which we reproduce the following.

 

زنے از غيب بروں آيد و کارے بکند

 

But the emphasis was so much on the police that we asked him whether it would have made any difference to the police if Lahore had been without a District Magistrate. He said it would have, “because there would have been nobody to direct their action and supervise their activities.”

Q.—“Did you direct their action?”

A.—“No, because there must have been some difficulty in their way” .

 

Q.—“Did you try to find out that difficulty?”

A.—“I had not to look after Lahore only. * * * ” Among other things he was getting frantic telephone calls from the parents of Matriculation examinees, and he had naturally to leave Wazir Khan Mosque to the police.

 

But we only wish he admitted that he left it to the police. He was “supervising” the mosque and the police from at least three miles, but both the mosque and the police knew that it was a desperate situation and they both knew their jobs. He thought he was passing orders constantly, but he did not pass them in fact because the police knew Why the District Magistrate prevaricated.

 

their job and they were all alive to the danger. And we were made to put up with this nonsense—there are pages full of it which we have no leisure to reproduce—because he was not willing to say that his duty and that of everyone else lay, not in the Kotwali, not in Government House, but in Wazir Khan Mosque; that the curfew order should have covered at least Wazir Khan Mosque; that if the situation was beyond control, it should have been handed over to the military.

 

Niazi’s Arrest

 

It came to the District Magistrate’s notice “probably on 1st March” that Maulana Abdus Sattar Niazi was staying in Wazir Khan Mosque, “but none of his speeches was such as to justify arrest. * * * * *. I knew that it was a hotbed of agitators. * * * * *. After I promulgated section 144, it was for the police to go.” We think he believed at the time that he was including the walled city in the order, so often does he base an argument on that assumption. “It was reported on the 2nd March that Niazi was constantly criticising Government and rousing the feelings of the people. I think it was on the 3rd March. I was then thinking of arresting him but in the meantime a conference took place, in which I strongly suggested his arrest, but the consensus of opinion was against arrest from inside the mosque.” Now compare this with his written statement, where he says, with reference to the incidents of the 3rd of March, that he had suggested Niazi’s arrest because Niazi had been instigating the public for three days past. Going three days back, it means that Niazi had not only been in the mosque since at least 28th February; he had also been agitating the public since then. When confronted with this, he replied that the narrative in the written statement was based on “vague information which I got from the Senior Superintendent of Police.” This, we think, is eminently a situation in which a witness, particularly a District Magistrate, should not be allowed to run away from his previous statement.

 

There is no guarantee that the present information is not more vague than the previous one. In fact, even the statement that the District Magistrate’s suggestion as to Niazi’s immediate arrest from the mosque was opposed by other officers is contradicted by the record of the meeting of the 4th March, Ex. D. E. 316. That record contains a decision that “preventive action should immediately be taken against Niazi and orders for his arrest under section 3, Public Safety Act, should be issued by the Home Secretary.” Even after reading that decision and the word “immediately”, the District Magistrate insisted that the proposal which was turned down was not the mere arrest, but (1) immediate arrest and (2) arrest from the mosque. In other words, the other officers decided that arrest should not be effected so long as Niazi was in the mosque. He admitted, however, that one could not say when Niazi would leave the mosque and that the decision would not be effective if this interpretation is placed on it. “And that exactly was my grouse,” says the District Magistrate. But apart from the fact that the language of the decision contradicts him, the Home Secretary has denied that any proposal of the District Magistrate to arrest Niazi was turned, down. The decision was to take preventive action—that is to say, to prevent Niazi from making further speeches—and that could not be done without arresting him

District Magistrate says he proposed it, but others were opposed to arrest from mosque.

 

But the record contradicts him.

 

immediately. The Home Secretary says the warrant was issued the same day. The District Magistrate on being confronted with the Home Secretary’s statement that the order could not be served on Niazi as, according to the C. I. D. report, the mosque swarmed with agitated masses, replied that this did not mean that it was intended to arrest him from inside the mosque, “and it fits in with my version that my proposal to arrest him from the mosque was turned down.” The least we can say is that it is impossible to make any progress with such evidence. It is an extremely futile attempt to prove that although Maulana Niazi could be arrested from the mosque, no attempt was made to arrest him. We are clearly of the opinion that conditions in Wazir Khan Mosque were crying for action from the 28th February onward and that it was not an isolated spot but the very nerve-centre of activity. As to whether the Inspector-General’s apprehensions relating to the impracticability of blanketing the walled city with a curfew order are well-founded or not, his own answers to our questions leave room for considerable optimism, and perhaps we would not have been so confident in our questions were we not relying on a fact

accomplished by the army itself without the least ostentation. General Azam complained that in the general role assigned to the Army “we were kept outside the walled city. The storm-centre, however, was the walled area. We could have easily patrolled it. Half-hearted measures and poor leadership resulted in chaos.” Again “in the morning conference at the Government House I suggested that since the D. S. P. had been murdered in the walled city area and that was the most

disturbed, area, we should take strong action there.” Asked what he would do if the walled city were in revolt he replied: “I would clear that area as I did by six o’clock on the evening of 6th March. Of course it was not advisable to open the steel gate of Wazir Khan Mosque where people had locked themselves in. I stopped their electric supply, cut off their loudspeakers and their water supply and did not allow anybody to go in. This is exactly what I suggested in the conference at the house of the Chief Minister on the morning of the 5th March. The I. G. P., however, had then objected that many years ago, when the British had taken action within the walled city they had suffered. I did not suggest that the city should be handed over to the Army, but that I should be allowed to clear the affected areas if the police could not do this. I used only one battalion on the 6th March to clear the walled city.”

 

To control the turbulent mosque which had made itself a bugbear to Government by the simple expedient of cutting off its essential supplies is not a mere vision, for we have seen it done. We might have thought of it as some special military feat unknown to the civil administration, a guarded secret, if General Azam had not told us that he had made these suggestions at the conference also. With the exception of Mr. Chundrigar and Mr. Anwar Ali all the witnesses, belonging to the civil administration had the opportunity of reading General Azam’s evidence in the papers before they themselves were examined, and they have not contradicted him. Reluctance to hand over to the Army out of fear of bloodshed might be understandable if not exactly excusable, but what is the I. G.’s apprehensions as to walled city not well founded General Azam demanded action in walled area.

 

Mr. Daultana’s version excuse for not adopting even the peaceable methods suggested and later employed by General Azam?

 

After we had read the written statements in Murree, we felt convinced that Wazir Khan Mosque had been neglected. But what surprised us then was that when the news of Sayyed Firdaus Shah’s murder in front of the mosque came, everybody rushed to the Kotwali. In the first statement that we read, we thought “Kotwali” was a clerical mistake for Wazir Khan Mosque but when we read the next statement and found the Kotwali again mentioned as the centre of attraction we thought it must be a part of Wazir Khan Mosque. And now we know that the reason why they all rushed to the Kotwali was that it was next best to Wazir Khan Mosque, and one must do something to convince one’s own mind, often to deceive it. Mr. Anwar Ali said it was not safe to go to the mosque thereafter without taking precautions. We do not mean that they should have exposed themselves to the same risk which had cost Sayyed Firdaus Shah his life but surely there was justification at that stage to hand over that particular situation to the Army.

 

IV. The “Let-Up” decision.

 

With the exception of Mr. Chundrigar and General Azam all officers are agreed that there was a third meeting on the 5th March in the evening, and that Mr. Chundrigar himself presided over it. We mention General Azam because the brief memorandum recorded by Malik Habibullah, S. P. (C. I. D.) mentions his presence also. General Azam says he did not take part in this meeting. It may be that as he was generally present at these conferences, the memorandum inadvertently mentions him. Such error could not, however, be committed in respect of the person who presided over the meeting. But as regards the “let-up” decision, they are not all agreed. Mr. Daultana says no such decision was taken. All that happened was that His Excellency the Governor gave some instances of his own experience in other places and suggested that technical breaches of the curfew order should be ignored. This was after maghrib prayer. Mr. Chundrigar said it was possible that the Punjab Cabinet in his absence met in some part of the Government House and took that decision. So far as he himself went, he had, in the morning, contributed to the opinion that technical breaches of the curfew should be ignored. For instances if an individual was found passing on the road during curfew hours, the practice in such cases was, not to shoot him, but to arrest him.

 

He added that no case of relaxation of firing came to his notice. General Azam did not hear anybody mention any such decision, but Mr. Anwar Ali, he said, had visited him at 5 p.m. at his Gymkhana headquarters and told him that a meeting of the gentry was being held at the Government House. “He seemed cut up and said that Wazir Khan Mosque was neglected.

 

Mr. Chundrigar.

 

General Azam the firing in the town that had taken place during the day, had created defiance among the public. My impression was that he thought that it was a mistake to resort to heavy firing.

 

He said that whenever there is firing by the police, there is invariably an inquiry following it.”

 

Mr. Anwar Ali’s statement on the point may be thus summarised: “At a meeting on the 5th evening, at the Government House, the Governor asked me about the situation. Mr. Alam (D. I. G.) reported that the last incident of lawless-ness—setting fire to a police vehicle—had taken place at about 2-30 p.m. Until then the orders were that we were to disperse unlawful assemblies and use the maximum force. Then it was decided that for technical offences firing should not be resorted to. Probably the Governor himself used the word ‘let-up’. I am positive that he was present, and that it was he who suggested relaxation in firing. Possibly he had in mind the complaint of the leaders that there had been too much firing.” As to the effect it had on the police, he said: “It is not correct that the police were demoralised by these decisions, but they were beginning to show signs of strain and fatigue because they had been on duty without relief for long, and also because the agitation was not showing any signs of abatement. It is not correct that the police did not act by reason of these decisions.”

 

But he did receive information that some junior police officers thought firing was unnecessary, as the demands should have been accepted.

 

Malik Habibullah, who recorded the memorandum, cannot say what the exact decision was. (The memorandum merely say that technical breaches of the curfew order should be ignored.) The purport of the decision, according to him, was that the police should open fire only when they were attacked and that technical breaches of the curfew or other orders under section 144 might be ignored. “This decision was taken at the suggestion of the Governor, but I am not suggesting that it was the decision of the Governor alone, * * * * * I have a faint recollection that the Chief Minister, Malik Muhammad Khan Leghari and some other Minister said that they had received a disquieting report about the firing at Chowk Dalgaran. They seemed to have an impression that this had resulted from a technical breach of the curfew order on the part of railway labourers. Mr. Alam explained the position which seemed to have satisfied the Government, but I think pressure was brought to bear on the Government by prominent citizens. The officers did not seem in favour of the decision. The Governor cited the Sholapur riots of 1931 as a precedent. The background of the decision is this. After the murder of the D. S. P. on the 4th March, quite a number of incidents relating to arson and personal violence had been, committed both during the night following and on the 5th March, The police had to open fire on several occasions to disperse mobs. At the Government House meeting it appeared that the Government felt perturbed and thought that firing would further infuriate the masses. After the let-up decision, the situation became definitely worse. The police was demoralised and the hooligans became more offensive.”

 

Mr. Anwar Ali.

Malik Habibullah.

 

Hafiz Abdul Majid stated on the first day of his evidence that the word “let-up” was used by the Inspector-General and the suggestion also made by him. He was not sure of the Governor’s or General Azam’s presence. “The idea was that since the following day was a Friday and there had been no incident in the afternoon, we should not provoke the masses, but there was no indication that firm action was not to be taken when necessary”.

 

On the second day, however, he explained that he could not say for certain that the original proposal came from Mr. Anwar Ali, that it was not correct that the officers were opposed to the decision, and that, with reference to another incident, he now remembered by inference that the Governor must have been present at the meeting.

 

Mr. Ghiasud Din Ahmad said both the Governor and the G. O. C. were present at the meeting and that the former suggested that there should be no firing for mere technical breach of the curfew order. It was the Governor, he thinks, who used the word “let-up”. This was because it was reported that no incident had taken place since early afternoon and also because the analysis of the morning situation by the Inspector-General at the meeting of the citizens had evoked a storm of protest: both the Governor and the Cabinet felt that there should be an abatement in firing.

 

Mirza Naeemud Din, Senior Superintendent of Police, was not present at the meeting, but on the morning of the 6th March, when he went to Kotwali, he learnt that orders had been conveyed to the Kotwali control from the Government House that firing should be restricted and technical breaches of the curfew order ignored. The police officers, with whom he discussed the matter, were of the opinion that after this order, if they resorted to firing, there might be inquiries against them. .Another order, that the police should fire only in self-defence was also received at the Kotwali, by Mirza Abbas, D. S. P., from the same source, and a Sub-Inspector in the Civil Lines communicated it to Mirza Naeemud Din as the latest order. The instructions were thus confusing and contradictory, says Mirza Naeemud Din. They were not even clear to him, far less to his subordinates. He had expressed his disgust to the Inspector-General on the morning of 6th March. He told the Inspector-General that the week-kneed policy of Government was demoralising the force, and that if Government did not revise this policy he would resign. On this last point, Mr. Anwar Ali pointedly disagrees with him. According to Mr. Anwar Ali, the reason why Mirza Naeemud Din offered to resign was that the public expected some sort of appeasement and were sour about the demands having received no attention from the Government. Mr. Anwar Ali agreed with him and they both went to the Chief Minister and told him so. The Chief Minister also says that Mirza Naeemud-Din came together with the Inspector-General and advised that the only way to handle the situation would be to make some sort of a political approach. The matter appears to have come to the notice of the Governor also, through some army officers. He was told that the Inspector-General and the Senior Hafiz Abdul Majid.

Mr. Ghiasud Din Ahmad.

 

Mirza Naeemud Din.

Offer of resignation.

Varying versions.

 

Superintendent of Police had advised the Chief Minister that no amount of firing would be useful and that the public should be appeased. Mr. Chundrigar then asked the Chief Minister, then the two officers concerned, “who originally admitted having given this advice but who, when I took them to task, said that was not their advice, but the point of view of some people which they had communicated to the Chief Minister.”

 

The two officers stoutly denied that they had been taken to task. This is not altogether an impossible mess. This at least is clear, that Mirza Naeemud Din is contradicted heavily on the resignation issue, and since that is not a real issue to us, we should merely say his version of it is not proved. But if it is true that an impression did get abroad that firing was to be slackened, Mirza Naeemud Din would naturally complain to the Inspector-General from the police point of view. It may be that Mr. Anwar Ali is unwilling to admit the complaint because he himself also contributed to the decision. The statement of Malik Habibulah, which explains the background of the decision, enables us to steer clear through this vast labyrinth of evidence. There was undoubtedly a meeting in the afternoon at which the leading citizens protested against the heavy firing consequential upon the lawlessness which followed the murder of Sayyed Firdaus Shah. Some of the Ministers also were impressed. After all, the next election is more important than a temporary frenzy. There was firing at Chowk Dalgran, and whenever there is any firing, the police is to blame, just as whenever there is a motor accident, it is the driver’s fault. It is true that Mr. Alam explained the incident, but, after all, he is a police officer, and is it not for the police to explain away things? Consequently, that firing must have resulted from a mere technical breach of the curfew order, and this should not happen again. We can quite easily work ourselves into that decision. But when the subject under discussion is “heavy firing”, any decision modifying it would naturally be regarded as a decision to relax, and that is how many of the officers understood it in that sense. We shall assume that they all agreed.

 

If there were any doubts in their minds, they did not express them. Malik Habibullah’s statement that the officers did not seem to agree is a matter of impression only. Who conveyed the decision to the Kotwali is not in evidence, but whatever the expressions used in the conveyance, it was understood to mean relaxation.

 

Even Mr. Ejaz Hussain Shah says the Senior Superintendent of Police was grumbling on the morning of 6th March that there had been an order to restrict firing. Next, an Inspector at the

Kotwali also asked him if this was correct. He told the Inspector he had no such information and that duties should be performed in the normal way.

 

Mirza Naeemud Din

is not supported on resignation issue.

But some order in respect of firing did issue.

And it was understood as a relaxation order.

District Magistrate also heard about it.

 

Therefore, it would be proper to hold that firing was relaxed by reason of a notvery-clear decision at the Government House. Whether or not we are told that such a decision has a demoralising effect, we have no doubt that it will have that effect. After all, they were not firing because ammunition had not been tested for a long time.

 

They were firing because “there had been quite a number of incidents relating to arson and personal violence”. Our list shows that on the 5th March there were reported altogether 74 incidents of lawlessness, comprising eight arson cases, one murder, two cases of looting, apart from the blackening of faces of tonga drivers or shopkeepers, attacks on the police with brickbats and at least one attack on a railway train, as against nine cases of firing by the police. When, therefore, an order of this character is issued, it makes the police force apprehensive. It is for this reason that a military force is more effective. It has not to decide whether it is acting in self-defence or whether it is using more force than is absolutely necessary. It is for this reason that Mr. Anwar Ali, according to General Azam, was grumbling that whenever there is firing by the police, there is an enquiry following it.

 

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