Page:Forty Thousand Followers of Gandhi in Prison.djvu/11

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Seventy year old woman beaten.

From Raikot in Ludhiana District comes a tale that the Additional Superintendent of Police who went to make arrests, resented the people salaaming Moulvi Fazal Haq after his arrest, and insisted on their salaaming him instead. When they refused, he whipped them himself with his cane, and even an old woman of 70 and a boy of 5 did not escape his anger. When, as a protest against this inhuman treatment the shop-keepers observed a hartal,[1] he had them hauled up before him and had them given five stripes each, and to what he considered the ringleader ten stripes for this heinous offence. You are also aware of the case of a courageous lady of Amristar who tried to shield with her body the poor volunteers from being mercilessly beaten by the police and got belaboured herself for her merciful intervention.

Take again the parade of armed forces in the several districts in the Punjab. The Government has not alleged that there is any rebellion or fear of any violence; still large forces are being marched through the villages simply with a view to overawe the public and strike terror into them. Is it any wonder if in these marches exactions are made or forcible supplies levied? In many villages punitive police are quartered, simply because the villagers take part in the Congress, Khilafat and the Gurdwara movement. The police acts with studied insult and cruelty towards the inhabitants.

In some places they go on singing ribald songs throughout the day in the middle of the village while there are women and girls about.

Panchayats. There is also a regular campaign against the Panchayats, (Arbitration Courts) and the policy of the Government seems to be to suppress them at any cost. Sometimes whole Panchayats are arrested and false cases of coercion and intimidation brought against the Panches. Their only crime seems to be that they are trying to prevent litigation by settle-

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  1. Voluntary civic strike such as closing shops, etc.