Page:Forty Thousand Followers of Gandhi in Prison.djvu/8

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

We find that the attitude of the Government has entirely changed, specially since the departure of the Prince of Wales from the Indian shores, and it has taken to methods which, I have no hesitation in calling a repetition of the methods under Martial Law. It seems, the Government has issued instructions that the Akali, the Congress and the Khilafat movement in the Punjab and the system of panchayats must be completely suppressed and, I have it on a reliable authority, that one of the District officers had issued instructions to his subordinate to make a clean sweep of all the political workers in his district. Let me just detail to you some of the things that have been done and are being done in the name of law and order in this unhappy Province.

Methods of repression.

ARRESTS. Arrests are being made usually without warrants. Recently, since the new repressive policy started about a month and a half ago, a number of blank warrants are issued by the magistrate to the police officials and the filling up of the names of the accused is left to their sweet will and pleasure. Sometimes the magistrate accompanies these parties of the police and sometimes not. But it can readily be imagined, what an abuse this practice lends itself to as it gives a wide scope to the police to terrorize innocent people and extort, perhaps, money from them by threatening them with arrest. A police party going into any village with blank warrants in their hands can terrorize the whole village, and especially those people who are not avowed non-co-operators.

Reports have come from Sialkot district that the police have very often arrested people unconnected with political movements, especially, non-co-operation, simply because they were easier game. The non-co-operators, not being afraid of arrest, on the contrary welcoming it, are not a paying proposition. Sometimes, where instructions to arrest two or three men in a village were given, the police have arrested a lot more