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"No Police Were Touched"


Time, Jul. 7, 1930

Three new hospitals were established in Bombay last week by followers of St. Gandhi to care for bruised and wounded non-violent demonstrators of whom daily scores are beaten by the police. Asked why his men appeared to be making no more arrests and concentrating on beatings, Police Commissioner Dan Healy said laconically: 'Arrests do no good.'

Out to witness a mass-beating went Chicago Daily News's by no means squeamish correspondent Negley Parson. He noted that the first Gandhites to appear were ambulance men, stretcher bearers with red crosses on their arms. Next came the demonstrators for Independence, thousands of Hindus, scores of Sikhs. Then the police charged. All the Hindus seemed frightened - as well they might, being completely unarmed, knowing they would be beaten blue and blacker by police lathis (sticks) - but only a handful of the Hindus broke and ran, while not a Sikh stirred. Women, whom the police were ordered not to strike, rushed to try and put themselves in the way of blows. Correspondent Farson saw one woman hold up her baby and endeavor to secure for it a crack on the head. When he expressed his horror to her through an interpreter she remained unmoved, anxious to sacrifice her babe to the Cause.

'It was terrible,' cabled correspondent Farson. 'I stood within five feet of the Sikh leader as he took the lathi blows. He was a short heavily muscled man, like one of the old Greek gods.

'The blows came - he stood straight. His turban was knocked off. The long black hair was bared with the round topknot. He closed his eyes as the blows fell - until at last he swayed and fell to the ground.

'No other Sikhs had tried to shield him, but now, shouting their defiance and their determination to die rather than move, they wiped away the blood streaming from his mouth. Hysterical Hindus rushed to him bearing cakes of ice to rub the contusions over his brown eyes. The Sikh gave me a bloody smile - and stood up for more.

'For two hours these unbelievable scenes went on. Then, at last, came the blessed rain, the monsoon, like a healing balm.

'The Sikhs had told the police that if the police left first they would leave, too. The police did, and at 9 o'clock the survivors of the Sikhs, not one of whom was not covered with blood stains and with some part or another of his clothes torn, led the triumphant procession of Gandhi's non-violent Congress followers down the streets.

'The injured in the hospitals must number several hundred, some seriously hurt from the wounds of lathi blows. No police were touched.'