[ Killing of Indian policemen by followers of Birsa Munda; Indian Nationalism ] Printed 'Proceedings of the Court of Session.[...]King-Emperor [...], versus Saure or Sanday Munda and Chaura alias Jaimasi Munda, [...].' Annotated by Sir Richard Harington.

Author: 
[ R. R. Pope [ Richard Rodney Pope ], Judicial Commissioner, Chota-Nagpur ] [ Sir Richard Harington, judge; Birsa Munda (1875-1900), Indian tribal freedom fighter; Chota Nagpur ]
Publication details: 
'G. I. C. P. O. - No. 305 H. C. Mis. - 19-8-01. - 10.' [ i.e. Calcutta: Government of India Central Printing Office. 19 August 1901. ]
£750.00
SKU: 19241

[2] + 41pp., folio. Stitched and unbound. In fair condition, on aged and worn paper, but with the outer half of a fold-out map at the end lacking. The front page reads: 'Criminal Bench. | Reference under Section 374 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, | No. 30 of 1901. | Appeal No. 593 of 1901. | Chota-Nagpur. | [Ranchi.] | Letter No. 2229R, dated the 29/30th July 1901, from the Officiating | Judicial Commissioner of Chota-Nagpur. | Proceedings of the Court Session. | In the case of | The King-Emperor, . . . . . . Complainant, | versus | Saure or Sanday Munda and Chaura alias Jaimasi Munda, . . . . . . . } Accused. | Date fixed for hearing – The 20th August 1901. | Proofs compared by: | D. N. Das & David Carr. | G. I. C. P. O. - No. 305 H. C. Mis. - 19-8-01. - 10.' From the papers of Sir Richard Harington (1861-1931) of Ridlington, 12th Baronet, Puisne Judge in the High Court of Justice at Fort William in Bengal, 1899-1913. The document gives, for the purposes of appeal, an account of the proceedings in the original trial, and it may be that Harington acted as appeal judge, as he has marked up the pages in red and blue pencil, with a few brief annotations (such as 'Running for his life', 'Distance' and 'not required'), as well as writing the following in red pencil on the front cover : 'Conv affirmed | Saure - susp c | Chaura transported'. At the time of the killings the freedom-fighter and religious leader Birsa Munda and his followers were conducting a guerilla war against the British; he was on the verge of arrest, and would die in Ranchi Jail on 9 June 1900. The two individuals in the present case were charged with, 'on or about the 6th day of January 1900, at Etkedi, being members of an unlawful assembly [i.e. the followers of Birsa Munda] whose common object was to kill or to cause bodily injury to Joy Ram Singh and Budhu, Constables, and one or some of whose members committed murder in the prosecution of that common object by causing the death of the above Joy Ram and Budhu, Constables, […]'. The killings were committed with 'bows and arrows and axes'. The document includes the depositions of fourteen witnesses (ending with 'Ram Brikh Singh, Police Inspector'), and the findings of the doctor who conducted the post-mortems on the bodies of the two police constables. Of note is the emphasis placed in the judgment on 'the very important evidence of Ratan Munda, which sheds light on the object of the assembly at Gaya's house. This man says that he used to be a follower of one Birsa, and that Gaya and his 3 sons were also followers of the same man. | The follower of Birsa, he tells us, performed no demon worship, did not work on Thursdays and Sundays, and did not eat beef, or use leather made out of the skin of cattle. They also wore a thread round the neck, and did not eat with other mundas. They looked upon the country and its Government as belonging to them, and regarded the English rulers as intruders; and they determined to kill the Police, because they were oppressing them. This witness says that he attended the assembly which was held at the house of Gaya on the morning of the day of the occurrence. The object of that assembly was, he says, to shoot and cut the Head Constable and Constables who had come to Saiko. He mentions Gaya and his three sons (the two present accused being among them), and seven others, whom he names, as being among the men assembled. All were followers of Bisra, and all were armed with swords or axes, and bows and arrows. They all went down to the river and bathed and washed, intending them to march on Saiko.'