chapter  Chapter 12
43 Pages

The Perpetrators of Barbarities in Haryana

ByC.B. Singh Sheoran

Whenever there is a mention of butchers of 1857 who pestered, killed, crucified and hanged people in Haryana, the name of Hodson alone is generally taken. Even historians are not aware that there were huge numbers of such officers, some of whom were far more merciless in perpetrating brutalities on the rebels and innocents. More than 190 such persons have been identified and given here with their deeds to show the magnitude of massive operations for the suppression of revolt and unparalleled repression of the people. In their hands were put three terrible pieces of legislation in the shape of the Acts XI, XIV and XVI of 1857 passed on 30 May, 6 June and 13 June respectively. 1 Kaye and Malleson write about these,

These terrible acts passed by the Legislative Council in May and June were in full operation, that in addition to the Act of May 30 (XI), another was passed on June 6, extending the powers giving in the former: ‘By Act No. XIV of 1857, passed on the 6th June, [and Act No. XVI of 1857 passed on 13th June,]* provision was made for the punishment of persons convicted of exciting mutiny or sedition in the army, the offender was rendered liable to the punishment of death and forfeiture of all his property; and persons guilty of harbouring such offenders were made liable to heavy punishment. Power was also given to the general-courts-martial to try all persons, whether amenable to the Articles of War or not, charged with any offence punishable by these or the preceding Act; and the Supreme and Local executive governments were authorized to issue commissions in any district, for the trial by single commissioner, without the assistance of law officers or assessors, and with absolute and final power of judgment and execution, of any crime against the State, or any heinous offence whatever: the term ‘heinous offence’ being declared to include every crime attended with great personal violence or committed with the intention of forwarding the designs of those who are waging war against the State – Despatch of Government of India to Court of Directors, 11 December 1857. 2