Page:Speeches And Writings MKGandhi.djvu/761

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1 will take the very first repudiation. The reply says they (the Govt.) emphatically repudiate the statement that they have embarked on a policy of law- less repression and also the suggestion that the present campaign of civil disobedience has been forced on the Non-Co-operation party in order to secure the elemen- tary rights of free association, free speech and free press. Even a cursory glance at my letter would show that whilst civil disobedience was authorised by the All-India Congress Cornmitte meeting held on the 4th November at Delhi, it had not commenced. I have made it clear in my letter that the contemplated mass civil disobedience was indefinitely postponed on account of the regrettable events of the 17th November in Bombay. That decision was duly published and it is within the knowledge of the Government as also the public that herculean efforts were being made to combat the still lingering violent tendency amongst the people. It is also within the knowledge of the Government and the public that a special form of pledge was devised to be signed by volunteers with the deliberate purpose of keeping out all but men of proved character. The primary object of these volunteers' asso- ciations was to inculcate amongst the masses the lessons of non-violence and to keep the peace at all Non-Co- operation functions. Unfortunately the Government of India lost its head completely over the Bombay events and, perhaps, still more over the very complete hartal on the same date at Calcutta. I do not wish to deny that there might have been some intimidation practiced in Calcutta, but it was not, I venture to submit, the fact of intimidation, but the irritation caused by the com- pleteness of the hartal that maddened the Government

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