Refers to Montagu’s private telegram of 31 July [wanting] regarding the debate in the Lords on martial law in the Punjab, and responds to the questions in his ‘first’ telegram as follows: (1) ‘Persons tried by commissions 852, convicted 582, acquitted 270.’ The number tried by summary courts will be sent when it is available. (2) The few absconders remaining to be dealt with will be tried by ordinary courts, as all martial law tribunals have been dissolved. One tribunal under the Defence of India Act still has one or two cases to try. (3) Figures for the reduction of death sentences were sent in his telegram of 23 July. Local Government has reviewed 564 convictions, and in nearly 500 cases a large number of reduction have been granted. All sentences of forfeiture are being remitted. (4) The only sentences suspended are those of the five persons sentenced to death in Amritsar and the National Bank case, whose appeals have been admitted by the Privy Council. (5) For the intentions of Local Government or Government of India he refers to his private telegram of 2 August on the proposed inquiry [wanting].
Refers to the questions in Montagu’s ‘later’ telegram. Discusses the reduction by Local Government of the sentences of Har Kishen Lal, Ram Bhuj Datt, Duni Chand, Allah Din, and Mota Singh, convicted by commission of organising protests in Lahore against the Rowlatt Act. Responds to four specific points as follows: (1) Local Government has reduced the sentences of Kichlu and Satyapal and other Amritsar conspirators, and commuted the death sentence of Doctor Bashir. (2) Eleven persons were executed for murders at Kasur and Amritsar. In commuting sentences his principle has been that the death sentence should be reserved for cases of murder. (3) Details of remissions and commutations granted by Local Government and the Governor General have already been reported. Few petitions for clemency have come before them, except regarding death sentences. Confirms that the Lieutenant General refused to reduce the sentence of imprisonment on Kali Nath Roy. (4) Besides special commissions, summary courts were created by order of the General Officer Commanding with certain limited powers. Numerous reductions of their convictions will probably be granted on review.
They desire to emphasise the following general considerations: (1) The Punjab disturbances were not sporadic riots but organised risings, with definite anti-Government and anti-British bias. (2) The simultaneous cutting of railway and telegraph lines in different places points to a common purpose. (3) The danger to the lives of Europeans in isolated stations justified prompt and stern measures, which he believes prevented the spread of disorder. (4) Unprovoked attacks by the mob at Amritsar on Europeans unconnected with Government show how the ‘latent savagery of [the] lower classes’ may be excited, and emphasise the moral responsibility of the educated leaders who incited them. Finally, when the Punjab Government requested the application of Regulation X the procedure was altered in order that it might be enforced by experienced men on specified tribunals rather than courts martial.