The Punjab Governor Shooting Conspiracy Case

Everyone has to stand for something - if nothing else, to avoid falling for anything.

On one hand, Indian revolutionaries or freedom fighters (as they are popularly known in India) fighting for liberation - and on the other hand, the British colonial rulers with the opposite view, attempting to maintain civil order in a colony.

The period before independence for India in 1947, was marked by many incidents, both peaceful and non-peaceful.

This is about the latter.

As part of the Civil Disobedience Movement of 1930, Hari Kishen, with others, made a plan to shoot and kill the Governor of Punjab, Sir Geoffrey De Montmorrency at the annual convocation of Punjab University at Lahore on December 23, 1930.

This is an excerpt from the official British Court judgement:

On the 23rd, December, 1930, as His Excellency the Governor of the Punjab was progressing towards the door of the University Hall at Lahore at the Convocation, a young man, Hari Kishen, fired at him with a revolver, and then tried to escape, but was captured and overpowered, not however before he had wounded the Governor, a lady doctor and two Police officers, one of whom, Sardar Chanan Singh, died the same evening of his wound.

Hari Kishan has been convicted and sentenced and hanged.

As the Police correctly surmised that Hari Kishen could not have worked alone but must have had some organisation behind him, they prosecuted the investigation with energy and in a short time, on the 30th of Januray 1931, placed their case before a Magistrate, Mr Luthra, who at once discharged certain persons at the request of the Prosecution and in due course committed the three prisioners, Ranbir Singh, Durga Das and Chaman Lala, with a carefully compiled recorded and a considered order, to this Court.

The only penalty for the offenced proved against these prisioners is death, and I, therefore under section 302 read with sections 109, 111 and 120-B, of the Indian Penal Code, for Conspiracy resulting in, and abetment of the murder of Chanan Singh, sentence Ranbir Singh, Durga Das and Chaman Lal each to be hanged by the neck until he be dead; these sentences being subject to the confirmation of the High Court.

(Sd) A.L. Walker.
Sessions Judge,
Dated 9-9-31

Pronounced in the Borstal Jail Lahore to the three convicts who have been told that, if they wish to appeal, they can do so within seven days and that they will be given a copy of this judgement gratis. They are financially able to bear the cost of their own defence in the High Court. The approver is discharged.

(Sd) A.L. Walker
Sessions Judge,
Dated 9-9-31

The Punjab Governor Shooting Conspiracy Case Judgement
Trial No 34 of 1931.
Case No 52 of 1931
The Crown
1  Ranbir Singh son of L Khushal CHnd, aged 21 years, student Law College, LL.B. Class Lahore

Committed by R. N. Luthra Esquire, Magistrate of the 1st Class in the District of Lahore, on the 23rd of July 1931.

Trial held at Lahore in the District of Lahore on the 5th of August to 9th of September 1931.

As a point of interest, it is believed that Hari Kishan got the inspiration from Chandrasekhar Azad, who having fled to Punjab from Delhi, was intensifying his revolutionary activities there.                                                                               The Punjab Governor Shooting Conspiracy Case by itself, had its repercussions for the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association as almost all its leaders were arrested. This, in turn, led to Chandrasekhar Azad's visit to Allahabad and the subsequent betrayal of his whereabouts, which culminated in his last stand against the British police in Alfred Park on February 27, 1931.