In 1919, Gandhiji Decided to launch a nationwide Satyagraha against the proposed Rowlatt Act 1919. This act had been passed by Imperial legislative council, despite the opposition of the Indian members.
What was Rowlatt act?
Under Rowlatt act, enormous power had awarded to the government to suppress political activists. It also allowed detention of political prisoner without trail for two years. Mahatma Gandhi demanded non-violence civil disobedient against such injustice. Later it inaugurated with hartal on 6th April.
Consequences of the Rowlatt act:
Rallies were organized in various cities. Worker went on strike in railway workshop. Shops closed down. British scared that line of communication such as railway line and telegraph would be disrupted. Alarmed by popular upsurge, British decided to clamp down on nationalists. Local leaders were picked up from Amritsar. Mahatma Gandhi was barred from entering Delhi.
Jallianwala bagh Massacre:
On10th April, Police in Amritsar fired upon a peaceful procession. This incident provoked widespread attacks on banks, post office and railway stations. Martial law was imposed and General Dyer took command. On 13th April the infamous Jallianwala bagh Massacre took place. On that day, large crowd organized in the enclosed ground of Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar. Some came to protest against the government new repressive measures. Some people arrived to attend the Baisakhi fair. They were actually unaware of martial law imposed by British government. Suddenly dyer entered the area and blocked the gate. After that he ordered his soldiers to start open fire on the crowd, killed hundreds. His main motto was to create terror in the mind of Satyagrahi.
Result of the Rowlatt act:
As the news of Jallianwala Bagh spread, the crowd took to the streets in towns. There were strikes, clash with the police and attack on the government buildings. The government responded with brutal repression. Satyagrahi were forced to rub their nose in ground, crawl on street and do salute to all sahibs. Seeing violence spread, Mahatma Gandhi called off the movement.
Read also: Satyagraha in India and Mahatma Gandhi