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GOVERNMENT  OF  EAST  BENGAL
HOME   (POLICE)   DEPARTMENT
RESOLUTION

 

No. 2148PL, Dated the 3rd June, 1952.
READGovernment Notification No. 943-PL, dated the 13th March, 1952, stating that with regard to the firing that took place at Dacca on the 21st February 1952, an enquiry should be held by a judge of the Dacca High Court, to be nominated by the Hon'ble the Chief Justice, to ascertain whether

(i)        the firing by the police was necessary ; and
(ii)       the force used by the police was justified in the circumstances of the case.

READThe Report, dated the 27th May, 1952, submitted by the Hon'ble Mr. Justice T. H. Ellis, who was nominated by the Hon'ble the Chief Justice and appointed by Government to hold the enquiry.

The Government of East Bengal are pleased to accept the findings of the

Enquiring Judge that—

(i)         the firing by the police was necessary ;
(ii)        the force used by the police was justified in the circumstances of the case.

Ordered that a copy of the Resolution be forwarded to the Enquiring Judge, the Hon'ble Mr. Justice T. H. Ellis, for information.

Ordered also that copy of the Resolution together with a copy of the Report be forwarded to the Commissioner of the Dacca Division and the Inspector-General of Police, East Bengal, for information and necessary action.

Ordered further that the Resolution together with a copy of the Report be published in an extraordinary issue of the "Dacca Gazette".

 

AZIZ AHMED
Chief Secretary,


From
The Hon'ble Mr. Justice Ellis,
High Court of Judicature,
Dacca

 

To
The Chief  Secretary
To The Government of East Bengal,
Dacca.

Dated Dacca, the 27th may, 1952,

Sir,
I have the honour to submit herewith my report on the Firing by the Police at Dacca on the 21st of February, 1952, in pursuance of Notification No. 943PL, dated the 13th March, 1952, published in the Dacca Gazette, Extraordinary, dated the 13th March, 1952.

I have the honour to be,
Sir,
Your most obedient servant,
T. H. Elliss.

Report of the Enquiry into the FIRING BY THE POLICE AT DACCA on the 21st February, 1952, in pursuance of Notification No. 943)L, dated the 13th March, 1952, published in the Dacca Gazette, Extraordinary, dated the 13th March, 1952, by the Hon'ble Mr. Justice Ellis of the High Court of Judicature at DACCA.

1.         On the 31st of January, 1952, a Committee styled the "All-Party Committee of Action" was formed in order to direct the agitation which was being carried on in East Bengal for the inclusion of Bengali as State Language. This Committee claimed to guide and controls the agitation and announced through the medium of the Press that a mammoth demonstration would be staged in Dacca on the 21st of February, 1952 and called for a complete hartal on that date. The East Bengal Legislative Assembly would be in session on the 21st of February, 1952, and the Provincial Muslim League Council had also arranged to hold a meeting on that date. In these circumstances the District Magistrate of Dacca apprehended that the might be a breach of the peace and disturbance of public tranquility in the city; accordingly at about 5 o'clock in the afternoon of the previous day the 20th of February, 1952, he duly promulgated an order under sections 144 the Code of Criminal Procedure prohibiting processions, demonstrations a the assembly of 5 or more persons in any public place or thoroughfare in the city except with the prior permission of the District Magistrate. The order was promulgated by beat of drum throughout the city; a publicity van broadcast it through the microphones and copies were given to the various newspapers. Police arrangements were made to meet the expect emergency and by 7:30 a.m. on the 21st of February, 1952, the Control Room was manned and dispositions were, made of the Police forces accordance with these arrangements. Reports were received at the Cont Room and at the various police stations from an early hour in the morning that attempts were being made to enforce the hartal by closing down shops interfering with vehicular traffic and compelling passengers to dismount from buses, taxis, rickshaws and hackney carriages. Throughout the day the situation deteriorated and ultimately the Police opened fire at 3-20 p.m. the Medical College gate with the result that one person was killed on 1 spot and three others subsequently succumbed to the injuries they received. One of the persons killed was a student named Abul Barkat.

2.         On Thursday, March 13, 1952, a notification, being Notification No. 943-PL, dated the 13th March, 1952, was published in the Dacca Gazet Extraordinary of that date. The notification is in the following terms :

"With regard to the firing by police that took place in Dacca on the 2' February, 1952, the Government of East Bengal has decided that enquiry should be held by a Judge of the Dacca High Court to be nominal by the Hon'ble the Chief Justice. The terms of reference of the enquiry are as follows: The enquire and report—

(i)         whether the firing by the police was necessary, and (ii) whether the force thus used by the police was justified in t circumstances of the case or whether it was in excess of that necessary restore order.
The enquiry shall be held in camera. The Enquiring Judge may at discretion permit advocates to assist him in the conduct of the enquiry.

The enquiry shall start on a date to be fixed by the Enquiring Judge and shall be completed as soon as possible.

3.         The notification recited that the Government of East Bengal had decided that the enquiry should be held by a Judge of the Dacca High Court nominated by the Hon'ble Chief Justice. Thereafter, I received a copy of an order dated the 17th of March, 1952, from His Excellency the Governor of East Bengal, directing that I should hold the enquiry. The order runs as follows:

"His Excellency the Governor of East Bengal is pleased to direct the Hon'ble Mr Justice T H. Ellis, a Judge of the High Court of Judicature at Dacca to hold an enquiry into the firing by the police at Dacca on the 21st February, 1952 as required under Notification No. 943-PI., dated the 13th March, 1952, published in the Dacca Gazette, Extraordinary, dated the 13th March,1952.

A. O. RAZIUR RAHMAN,
Secretary to the Governor of East Bengal."

 

4.         On receipt of the order I issued the following notice:


NOTICE
"Statements in writing, preferably typewritten, of facts relevant to the firing
by the Police at Dacca on the 21st of February, 1952, are invited from
members of the public, members of the University student group of
organisations from the Provincial Government and any other part.es
concerned.    

The statements should be accompanied by a list of the full names and
addresses of the witnesses cited in their support.

The statements should be addressed to the Hon'ble Mr. Justice Ellis at the
High Court, Dacca, and should reach him on or before the 31st March,1952.

t.   H.   ELLISi
Judge, High Court, Dacca
20-3-1952

The notice was given wide publicity by publication in the Provincial newspapers and by broadcast announcement over Road Pakistan.

5.         The notice invited statements in writing from persons in a position speak to facts relevant to the firing by the Police on the 21st of February, 1952. In all I received 28 communications and of those 28 communications one related to the events of the 22nd of February, 1952, which did not fall within the scope of my enquiry and therefore did not call for consideration. Eleven of the communications were received from persons who thought that the firing by the Police was not warranted by the circumstances of the case. Two of the communications came from the convenor of the All-Party State Language Committee and from the acting General Secretary, East Pakistan Youth League respectively. They forwarded resolutions of those associations announcing that they did not propose to take part in the enquiry in a smuch as they objected to its scope and limitation. An anonymous petition purporting to come from the students and public complained that the students' leaders and the leaders of the public who were aware of the material facts had been kept in jail and thus were not in a position to make any statements relevant to the Police firing. One communication was a letter signed by one Syedule Huq of Mymenshingh who asked me to send his letter to the press for publication. It appeared that he was labouring under a personal grievance, had a private axe to grind and was anxious for a little free and safe publicity. One statement in Bengali, dated the 28th March, 1952, was received from a student of the Dacca College by name Mohd. Abdul Matin, but he subsequently withdrew in a letter of the 9th April, 1952 that statement on behalf of himself and the witnesses he had cited. A statement was sent by one Aktaruddin, President of the All East Pakistan Muslim Students' League, 24, S. M. Hall, Dacca, on the 27th of March, 1952. It did not reach me till the 1st of April 1952, one day after the date been dispatched on the 27th of March, 1952. It contained the surprising statement that a written order to fire was handed over to the Police officials from a private car from Burdwan House. It was accompanied by a letter expressing the students' mortification at the limited scope of the enquiry and then apprehension that it would prove impossible—or had been made impossible for me to gather the true facts of the occurrence. 6. The principal statement of the communicants who objected to the Police firing was received from one Dewan Harun Md. Maniruddin, a student of the Jagannath College, Dacca, He was the only person who claimed to have personally witnessed the Police firing. He submitted one statement on the 21st March, 1952, in which he gave the names of 5 witnesses but followed it up two days later by another statement, dated the 23rd of March, 1952, shorter but substantially on the same lines—in which he added the names of 17 more witnesses.

7.         Sixteen statements were received from persons who complained that they had been the victims of lawlessness on the part of the student body on the 21st February, 1952. Some of them were bus conductors, drivers and rickshawalas, who had apparently gathered the impression that one of the functions of the enquiry was to assess damages and award compensation to persons whose vehicles had been damaged. The principal statement in justification of the firing was that submitted by the Government of East Bengal to which a list of 21 persons was attached as witnesses in a position to give evidence material to the enquiry.

8.         I considered it desirable to secure the statements of all the persons whose names had been given in the various statements submitted and accordingly had notices issued or requiring requesting them to attend the enquiry for the purpose. The address proved insufficient to reach 8 of the persons whose names had been given and so no notice could be served upon them. Seven of those who actually did receive notice did not put in an appearance. They replied either declining to give evidence or explaining that they were not in a position to give any evidence material to the scope of the enquiry.

9.         The Government notification of the the 13th March, allowed me at my discretion to permit Advocates to assist me in the conduct of the enquiry. Mr. Hamoodur Rahman appeared with my permission on behalf of certain of the Government officers concered in the enquiry. No other Advocate applied for permission to appear nor did any other party ask to be represented by an Advocate. Though the Government of East Bengal had submitted a statement it did not consider itself a party to the enquiry and was not legally represented. At my request however, Mr. Syed Abdul Ghani appeared as appointed by Government to assist me in the enquiry.

10.       The hearing in a camera should have commenced on the 7th April, 1952, but on that date it proved impossible to examine any witness as certain preliminary arrangements were not completed in time. The examination of witnesses actually commenced on the 8th of April.

Witnesses whose statements were in support of the police claim that the firing was justified and was not in excess were examined on the 8th, 9th, 10th, 15th, 16th, 17th, and 18th of April, i.e., for 7 days. Witnesses whose

names figured in the statements disapproving of the firing were examined on the 21st, 22nd, 24th, 25th, 26th, 28th and 30th of April, i.e., for a similar period of 7 days. After the statements of the witnesses had been recorded two days were taken up in argument. Mr. Hamoodur Rahman presented the case for his silents on May 2nd, and Mr. Abdul Ghani argued his case on May 3rd. After the enquiry was concluded, although familiar with the topography of the scene of the firing I visited the locality to refresh my memory as to the position and lie of the buildings and landmarks figuring in the enquiry and to see for myself the bullet marks on the Medical College hostels. 12. Witnesses' statements recorded in the enquiry may conveniently be divided into 5 classes. The first class consists of official witnesses—1 to 21 and witness No. 36. Ashraf All Wahidi, a photographer attached to the firm of Messrs. Zaidi & Co., who took photographs at the instance of the police after the occurrence was over.

Witness No.
Mr. Md. Idris, P.S.P., S.P., Dacca                                                                                    1
Mr. S.H. Quraishi, C.S.P., District Mangistrate, Dacca                                                 2
Mr. A.Z. Obaidullah, D.I.G., Dacca Range                                                                      3
Mr. Md. Siddique Dewan, D.S.P., City, Dacca                                                              4
Mr. Nuruddin Ahmed, S.D.O., Sadar South, Dacca                                                       5
Mr. Masood Mahmood, P.S.P., Additional S.P., City, Dacca                                      6
Mr. Nabi Sher Khan, then R.I. 2nd, Dacca, Now R.I., Faridpur.                                    7
Mr. Md. Yosuf, Special Superintendent of Police, I.B., East Bengal, Dacca               8
Mr. Abdul Gofran, then O.C., Lalbagh, Dacca, Now Inspector of Police, Barisal       9
Mr. Md. Ashraful Huq, Inspector of Police, D.D., Dacca                                             10
Mr. J.D' Mellow, Inspector of Police, Dacca                                                                 11
The Hon'ble Mr. Hasan Ali Minister-in-charge of C.B.I. Department,
Government of East Bengal, Dacca.                                                                             12
Mr. Syed Abdul Majid, Director of Land Records and Surveys, East
Bengal, Dacca.                                                                                                                13
Mr. Aulad Hossain Khan, Parliamentary Secretary to Hon'bel Minister,
Civil Supplies, Government of East Bengal, Dacca.                                                   14
Dr. Altafuddin Ahmed, Civil Surgeon, Dacca                                                              15
Mr. Abdur Rahman, Sub-Deputy Magistrate, Dacca                                                   16
Mr. A. Jabbar, Inspector of Police, Lalbagh Circle, Dacca                                         17
Dr. Habibuddin Ahmed, Professor of Midwifery and Gynaecology,
Medical College, Dacca.                                                                                                18
Dr. Ahmed Hossain, Electro-Therapist attached to Medical College
Hospital, Dacca.                                                                                                              19
Dr. Hammadur Rahman, Medical Practitioner, Dacca                                                20
Dr. Shaikh Abdus Shakoor, Medical Practitioner, Dacca                                           21
Mr. Ashraf Ali Wahidi, Photographer attached to Messrs. Zaidi & Co.                     36

13. The second class of witnesses consists of the 3 University officials:
Dr. I.H. Zuberi, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, and Head of the Department
of English, Dacca University.                                                                                         37
Dr. M.O. Ghani, Provost, Salimullah Muslim Hall, Dacca                                            38

14. The third class of witnesses consists of 10 students, 7 of them being, students residing in the Medical College Hostel and 3 of them being outsiders

 

The students are—
Witness No
Abdul Malik                                                                                                                      42
Safiuddin Choudhury                                                                                                      47
Hurmat Ali                                                                                                                        50
Md.Gholam Zulfiquar                                                                                                      52
Aminur Rahman                                                                                                              53
Rafiqur Raza Choudhury                                                                                                 54
Syed Abdul Malik                                                                                                            60
and the 3 outsiders are—
Ahsanullah, Resident of Salimullah Muslim Orphafiage, Dacca                                58
Shaikh Md. Abdul Hye                                                                                                    62
Dewan Haroon Md. Maniruddin                                                                                    64
15. The 4th class of witnesses may be described as witnesses hailing
from the Medical College. Of their number, four are doctors-

                                                                                                                           Witness No
Dr. Zinnur Ahmed Chaudhury                                                                                        39
Dr. Abdul Masood Khanmajlis                                                                                       40
Dr. Nawab Ali                                                                                                         41, and
Dr. Abdus Samad Khan Chaudhury                                                                             55
Three of the witnesses are nurses, viz-                                                                       
Sister Miss Eliza Kuruala                                                                                               43
Miss Nur Jehan Begum                                                                                         44, and
Miss Pulu Costa                                                                                                              48
Five of the witnesses are Ward boys and Ambulance attendants, viz.—
Deedar Bux                                                                                                                     45
Mohammed Mian                                                                                                            46
SekanderAli                                                                                                                     49
Muslim Khan                                                                                                           59, and
Ramzan Khondkar                                                                                                          61
Witness No. 51, Mr. Abdus Sattar Dewan is connected with the Medical
College Hospital being its Accountant and witness No. 63, Mr. Ekhlas
Uddin Ahmed is a representative of the firm of Khondkar & Co.,
Contractors to the Medical College Hospital.

16. The 5th and the last class of witnesses consists of those persons who may be conveniently grouped together as witnesses belonging to the public.

They are—                                                                                                     Witness No.
Mir Muslim, Bus driver                                                                                                    22
Mansur, Bus conductor                                                                                                   23
Sona Mian, Rickshaw-puller                                                                                          25
Pear Bux, Rickshaw-puller                                                                                             27
Faku Mian, Rickshaw-puller                                                                                           29
Kala Chan, Rickshaw-puller                                                                                           30
Nawab Mian, Rickshaw-puller                                                                                       31
Ashrafuddin, Rickshaw-puller                                                                                        32
Abdul Hamid, Rickshaw-puller                                                                                      33
Witness, No. 26, Khairllah, is a Rickshaw passenger. In this class also
come—
Dr. A. Musa A. Huq, a medical practitioner                                                                 24
Mr. Md. Kamal, M.A., At present unemployed                                                             28
Mr. Abdus Sattar, A technician of the A.P.P.                                                               34
Matil Islam, an Assistant in the C.L. and I. Department, Government of
East Bengal, Dacca.                                                                                             56, and
Mr. Noor Mohammed, an Assistant in the Air Custom Office, Tejgaon,
Dacca                                                                                                                               57
17.       The witnesses who were represented by Mr. Hamoodur Rahman had
already had their statements recorded and these were produced as each of
the witnesses presented himself at the enquiry. As it was thought advisable
to do so, each of the witnesses was examined by Mr. Hamoodur Rahman and
was then cross-examined Mr. Ghani. When the witnesses who had been
cited in disapproval of the firing presented themselves they were questioned
by the presiding officer first of all and were then questioned by Mr. A. Ghani
and Mr. Hamoodur Rahman in turn. It may be added that none of the
witnesses deposed on oath as the enquiring officer had no power to
administer an oath to any person appearing as a witness in the enquiry.
It may be here observed that the witnesses whose evidence is really
immaterial in this enquiry are the 8 official witnesses, 6 police officers-

Witness No.
Mr. Md. Idris, P.S.P., S.P., Dacca                                                                                   1
Mr. A.Z. Obaidullah, D.I.G., Dacca-Range                                                                     3
Mr. Md. Siddique Dewan, D.S.P., City Dacca                                                              4
Mr  Mohammed Yusuf, Special Superintendent of Police, I.B., East                       
Bengal, Dacca                                                                                                                  8
Mr. Abdul Gofran; then Officer in Charge, Lalbagh P.S. Dacca, now
Inspector of Police, Barisal                                                                                              9
Mr. Mir Ashraful Huq, Inspector of Police, Detective Department, Dacca;
and two Magistrates                                                                                                       10
Mr. S.H. Quraishi, C.S.P., District Magistrate, Dacca                                                  2
Mr. Nooruddin Ahmed, S.D.O., Sadar, South, Dacca and non-official
witnesses                                                                                                                           5
Mr. Md. Kamal, M.A.                                                                                                       28

 

Dewan Haroon Md. Maniruddin                                                                                    64
These are the only witnesses who claim actually to have seen police the
firing. The evidence of the other witnesses is important only in so far as it is
of assistance in assessing the situation as it developed from the early
morning of the 21st of February up to the time when the police actually
opened fire at 3-20 p.m.

19.       With regard to the incidents in the morning the police witnesses claimed that the day opened with interference with vehicular traffic in the University area from 7-30 a.m. The Police had anticipated that the hartal declared for the 21st February would soon lead to trouble in the University are and had made arrangements to face the emergency. Accordingly the police forces took up their position according to the arrangements previously made by 7-30 in the morning. Md. Siddique Dewan, City D.S.P., Dacca, being detailed for duty in the University ground. Mr. Masood Mahamood, the Additional Superintendent of Police, City, went out on his rounds and visited the Police Outposts from the early morning. In the University area he saw that students were stopping vehicular traffic, forcing passengers to alight from buses, taxis, rickshaws and cars and the tyres of those conveyances were deflated in order to prevent them from being used subsequently. The Police officers intervened in order to keep traffic moving and were abused in filthy language and in particular the Additional S.P., City, was made the target of the students' attack. The Superintendent of Police, Mr. Idris, at 7-45 a.m. received information that a large number of students had collected inside and outside the University premises and the Medical .College Hostel compound and they were compelling drivers of vehicles to stop and passengers to alight in order to enforce the declared hartal. The Superintendent of Police hurried to this troublous spot at 8-15 in the morning and found that the students were actually using violence in order to stop vehicular traffic as had been reported to him. The S.P. tried his best to dissuade the students from carrying on these activities but he found that his protests were not having any effect and as he anticipated trouble he stationed police in that particular area. At 9 a.m. at the University gate he had in position the D.S.P., City, one Inspector, two head constables and 20 constable of the S.A.F., one Inspector, one Sub-Inspector, one Sergeant, two head constables and 14 constables armed with lathis. At the Medical College gate he had one head constable, and 10 constables of the S.A.F., and near the Salimullah Muslim Hall he had one head constable, and 10 constables and the constables were armed.

20.       At about this time people began to collect in the University compound in driblets, small groups of students and outsiders filtering into the compound until by 10 a.m. a large number of persons had assembled in the University compound and preparations were being made for a meeting. The situation by 10 a.m. had become so tense that a message was sent to Mr. Quraishi, the District Magistrate, and he immediately proceeded to the University, gate. When he reached the spot, Mr. Quraishi found that a very large crowd had gathered at the gate and inside the University compound which was indulging in abuse of the police and preparing for a mass defiance of the orders under section 144 of the Code. Mr. Quraishi got the Registrar of the University to telephone to the Vice-Chancellor, asking for the University authorities to persuade the students not to violate the order under section 144, Cr, P.C. Shortly after the arrival of the District magistrate the Vice-Chancellor, together with Dr. Zuberi and Dr. Ghani had arrived on the scene. The District Magistrate Mr. Quraishi, requested them to prevail upon the students to stop their unlawful activities, to refrain from interference with traffic on the public highway and to refrain from violating section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. When the Vice-Chancellor approached the students whose number he estimated at 1,000 or so, at first they asked him to lead their procession in violation of the order. He proposed that they might hold a meeting, pass a resolution and then disperse. The students met this proposal with a request for him to give them a lead in the matter and preside over the meeting. He did not agree. But he said he was prepared to associate with them if they gave him a guarantee that they would behave peacefully and disperse peacefully after the meeting. The guarantee was never given though some of the leading students tried without success to prevail upon the general body of students. The Vice-Chancellor refused to accept the students' suggestion that he should act according to the decision of the meeting. It was abundantly clear that the students were in no mood to listen to any reasonable suggestions and had obviously made up their minds to violate the orders under section 144 of the Code. 21. The meeting which was held inside the University compound broke up at about 11 a.m. The students then "terribly excited" according to Dr. Zuberi, took possession of the University gate and according to the statements o the Vice-Chancellor and his two colleagues they began to emerge from the gate in small batches of 5, 7 or 10 at a time in order to court arrest by the Police. The police witnesses stated that they came out in batches of 25 or 30. The University authorities stated that the students went out of the gate as their names were called from a roster-list in a note-book—a circumstance which establishes beyond doubt that the "meeting" was merely a specious pretence, the students had made all preparations beforehand for their defiance of section 144 and had selected the names of the students who were to defy the order and had arranged the order in which particular students were to leave the University premises for that purpose. As the students emerged through the University gate the Police arrested them— ignoring the girl students—and indeed some of the students of their own accord climbed into the vehicles which were to convey them to the police-stations. In all 91 persons were arrested and by that time all available accommodation in the police vehicles had been filled up and the Police were in the embarrassing position of not being able to remove any more persons under arrest. Sensing this embarrassment the crowd became more truculent and began to throw brickbats at the Police. The Police had to make further arrangement in the disposition of their forces. Some constables had to be sent in order to escort the students who had been arrested. The Additional S.P., City, was sent to the Assembly House in order to guard the same as it was reported that the students intended to stage a march on the Assembly House and a gas squad was brought to the University gate. At this time the disposition of the police force was as follows:

At the University gate one Inspector, one Sub-Inspector, one head constable, 6 constables of the S.A.F., one head constable and 4 constables armed with lathis and 14 constables of the gas squad. At the Madical College gate there was the D.S.P., City, one head constable and the 10 constables of the S.A.F. At the Assembly House corner there was the Additional S.P., City, 3 Sergeants, one Sub-Inspector and 2 head constables and 18 constables armed, one head constable and 4 constables with lathis and one head constable and 6 constables of the gas squad. 22. After the arrest of the 91 offenders who violated section 144 of the Code there was a general rush from the University compound. The mob began to run in the direction of the Assembly buildings shouting slogans such as, "Rastra; Bhasa Bangala Chai", "Police Zulum Chalbe Na". Its members were informed by the S.P. and the District Magistrate that they constituted an unlawful assembly and unless they dispersed force would be used to disperse them. They did not disperse and so the police fired gas shells and threw gas grenades in order to disperse them. The result of the gas attack was that the students scattered only to reassemble in the Medical College area and on the other side of the Secretariat Road in the University playground. The students could pass from the University compound area into the Medical College compound area because the wall which separates the two at that time was breached and it was physically possible to pass from one compound to the other within the University area without coming out on to the Secretariat Road. The gas attack temporarily dispersed the crowd but by that time the Additional S.P., City, Mr. Masood Mahmood had already been injured, a jeep had been smashed and there was intermittent brickbatting on the police force from the University premises and from the Medical College area. The situation was regarded as serious enough to call for the presence of the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Dacca Range, Mr. A. Z. Obaidullah. He arrived on the spot at about 1 p.m. There he-met the District Magistrate and the Superintendent of Police and found that a crowd was collected on the road in front of the University and the Medical College extending almost up to the Assembly House. Warnings by the District Magistrate, the Deputy Inspector-General of Police and the Superintendent of Police went unheeded and the crowd intensified its attack on the police and showers of brickbats were hurled at them. When dispersed by gas attacks, they merely retreated temporarily into the University area—their "sanctuary" and gathered for a fresh attack. It appeared that the focus of the trouble was at the gate of the Medical College and accordingly it was decided to concentrate the police force at the Medical College gate, where it appeared to be more urgently needed. Between 2 and 2-30 p.m. the situation developed more serious and the police were forced to take shelter behind the shops on the western side of the Secretariat Road. A member of the Legislative Assembly Maulvi Aulad Hossain, was actually intercepted on his way to the Assembly and was forced to drive into the Medical College Hostel compound. He was compelled to sign a paper that Bengali should be one of the State languages—and, under threats, that he had witnessed lathi charges were being made and had seen the injuries on some boys though as a matter of fact he had not done so. He was unable to come out until 9 p.m. At about this time also the D.S.P., City, Mr. Md. Siddique Dewan, was manhandled and one of the two determined lathi charges which took place on the afternoon of the 21st February was made to effect his rescue from the hands of the crowd. The Police made repeated use of tear gas grenades and shells but the effect produced was not lasting and the mob quickly recovered the initiative. They played what one witness has described as a "cat and mouse" game with the Police, put the grenades and shells out of action by pouring water upon them and then continued their attacks on the Police and passers-by with showers of brickbats.

23.       It was at this stage that the Hon'ble Mr. Hassan Ali passed by that way in his car on his way to the Assembly together with Maulana Abdullah-al-Baqui, M.L.A., M.C.A.— President of the Provincial Muslim League, who was travelling with him in the same car. The car was stopped by the crowd and put out of action by having the tyres deflated. Two young men got into the' car, one by the left door, the other by the right door. They wished the Hon'ble Minister and his companion to go with them into the Medical College Hospital and pressed them hard. His companion got out of the car in order to do so, but the Hon'ble Minister and his orderly pulled him back into the car as he considered it highly unsafe for him to go as so many brickbats were flying about the place. The Police put the Hon'ble Minister and his companion into a Police car and drove them off to the Assembly House but the Hon'ble Minister was injured on his head by a brick as the jeep drove away. But this time the Police had sustained a considerable number of casualties and the D.I.G., the District Magistrate, the Superintendent of Police and the Additional Superintendent .of Police, City, had all been injured with brickbats. Other members of the Police force had also sustained injuries but they were carrying on in spite of that handicap.

24.       It was about this period from 3 p.m. onwards that the Police found the situation was slipping beyond their control. A second and last determined lathi charge was made by the Police at 3 p.m. on the mob on the road. This time, however, the lathi charge did not have the desired effect and the Police found that instead of the mob falling back they themselves had to fall back as they could not face the heavy showers of brickbats rained upon them. According to estimates of the District Magistrate and Police Officials, the mob at this time consisted of over 5,000 men. It was closing in on the Police force from two sides—from the University playground corner and from the Medical College Hostel, in a menacing fashion and finding that the Police party was in danger of being encircled and overpowered, the District Magistrate, the D.I.G. and the S.P. agreed that the situation was so desperate that it was necessary to open fire. As a last resort, a final warning was given but as this had no effect, under the direction of the District Magistrate and under the direct orders of the Superintendent of Police, the Police party fired on the rioters. The firing party consisted of 3 head constables and 30 constables who formed a square on the road between the Medical College gate and the Medical College Hostel gate. Five men on each flank faced the University ^ground and the Medical College Hostel in a kneeling position. The rest remained facing the north-west, the D.LG's recollection of the exact formation does not agree with that of the S.P.—but as the S.P. was in actual command his recollection is more likely to be accurate. Other members of the Police party and the S.P. himself took up their position inside the square. The S.P. ordered the two flanks to fire one round each and they did so. The mob on the University playground side fell back but the mob on the Medical College Hostel side halted momentarily and again advanced throwing brickbats. And then the S.P. ordered the flank facing the Medical College Hostel to open fire a second time. As soon as the mob on this side began to fall back the Superintendent of Police ordered the "cease fire". After the firing the ammunition was checked and it was found that 27 rounds in all had been fired. Five towards the rioters on the University playground side and 22 rounds towards the rioters on the Medical College Hostel side. At the time of the firing one man dropped dead near the corner of the University ground and was removed to the hospital in an ambulance but as the rioters were still in an excited and turbulent mood, it was impossible for the Police to discover what were the casualties on the Medical College Hostel side. It was ultimately discovered that there were nine casualties as a result of the firing, of whom three were students and six outsiders. Two died in the hospital that night at about 8 p.m., one being a student and a third succumbed to his injuries during the course of the enquiry. Even after the firing the crowd did not stop throwing brickbats—a microphone was set up in the Medical College Hostel compound and fiery speeches were made against Government and the Police. Bloodstained clothes were displayed to the crowd to keep its excitement high. And the Police had to make a lathi charge to prevent another concerted rush on the Assembly at 4-30 or 5 p.m.
25. Mr. Homoodur Rahman has contended that the statements of the Police officers with regard to the development of the situation in and around the University area have been corroborated by the evidence of the witnesses of the University itself. These witnesses, namely, the Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Zuberi and Dr. Ghani were in a position to corroborate the position inside the university compound and to speak of the .excitement and commotion amongst the students although they did not see what was actually happening outside on the road, save on their visits to the University gate. They did admit, however, that complaints were made to them by the officials that brickbats were being thrown from the University area and those brickbats had actually injured personnel of the Police force and had damaged some of the Police transport. Dr. Zuberi (Witness No. 37) was questioned with regard to the brickbats:
Question No. 140—"Please try to remember if you had noticed whether while these arrests were being made any brickbats were comming from the University compound and hit policemen and the jeep?"
Answer—"When the arrests were being made I do not think any brickbats were thrown."
Question No. 141—"Later?"
Answer—"But after the firing of the tear gas shells the Police complained to the Vice-Chancellor that brickbats had been thrown at them."
Question No. 142—"Was any attempt made by the Vice-Chancellor to ascertain whether brickbats were thrown from that place across the railings?"
Answer—"I do not think that the Vice-Chancellor made any attempt to find that out. But I think some brickbats were thrown. I was outside the failings. I tried to dissuade the students myself that they should now throw any brickbats. I remember that very well."

26.       Although the Vice-Chancellor and Dr. Ghani did not themselves see any brickbats being thrown, yet the Vice-Chancellor in answer to questions 59, 64 and 245 admitted that he saw brickbats on the streets when he came out of the University and in answer to question No. 246 he admitted that as he left the University brickbats fell near him and caused him hurriedly to leave that particular place. The doctors who gave evidence also speak of seeing brickbats scattered about on the road as they entered or left the premises on their duties. Witness No. 39, Dr. Zinnur Ahmed Chaudhury, No, 40, Dr. Abul Masood Khanmajlis, No. 41, Dr. Nawab AN, and all the male nurses, namely, No. 46, Mohammed Mian, No. 49, Sekander Ali made mention of brickbats in the course of their statements and so does witness No. 63, Ekhlasuddin Ahmed, a Contractor's representative. That brickbats were thrown and were to be found scattered about the street is also apparent from the photographs exhibited and from the statements of witnesses who belong to the class of the general public, the bus drivers, the doctors, the rickshawalas who wanted to claim compensation for damage done to their vehicles (Witnesses Nos. 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 and 34). Perhaps even more impressive is the statement of witness No. 24, Dr. A Musa A. Huq, a medical practitioner of Dacca, who deposed that he was stopped on his way to attend a patient while driving in his car past the-medical College. He spoke on the sudden swelling of the crowd at that particular junction, the crowd being composed of boisterous elements and he also spoke of the brickbats being thrown at the Police. This doctor is a gentleman whose word there is no reason to doubt and if his statement is accepted as true then certainly at 2 p.m. the situation in front of the Medical College gate was serious.

27.       It has been suggested by Mr. Ghani that as a matter of fact the incidents prior to the firing by the Police have been exaggerated and the numbers of the crowd magnified in order to give a veneer of truth to the police statements that they were in danger of being overwhelmed. It was suggested for example that the crowd in the University and the Medical College areas has been estimated by the police witnesses as being somewhat 4,000 or 5,000 strong while according to the Vice-Chancellor the total number of University students is only 2,500. It is claimed therefore that even if the whole body of students and Medical College Hostel boarders were involved in the disturbances the number falls short of the estimate given by the Police. It is also claimed that only two outsiders, Mr. Shamsul Huq and Mr. Oli Ahad were mentioned as having been seen within the University area on that morning. The high officials of the University, the Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Zuberi and Dr. Ghani, according to their own statements estimate the crowd in the University precincts at about 1,000 and Mr. Ghani points out that they say that after the meeting was over a large number of the persons who had
attended the meeting dispersed peacefully. The ranks of the students thinned out and some merely listened to the meeting and left shortly thereafter. It is also pointed out that the police raised no objection at all to these students who wished to leave and allowed them to do so and therefore if the University officials figure of 1,000 is approximately correct and if a considerable number of these dispersed peacefully, then 'it is difficult to accept the Police figure of 4,000 to 5,000 at about 1-45 p.m. This argument, however, does not really carry conviction because the police opened fire at 3-20 p.m. and it is possible that the crowd augmented in the interval between the termination of the meeting and the actual firing. Indeed if the evidence of P.W. 28, Mr. Mohammed Kamal be believed—that would seem to be what actually happened and as has already been noticed—it was not difficult for students and outsiders to pass from one part of the University and the Medical College compound to another without coming out on the road at all. And that there were outsiders within the University compound at this particular time admits of no dispute on the statements of witnesses and on the casualty lists.
28.       The Vice-Chancellor spoke of the students as being "Exasperated" after the police used tear gas on them and it is perhaps not without significance that one witness No. 55, Dr. Abdus Samad Khan Chaudhury, Assistant Surgeon in the Ear, Nose and Throat Department stated that after he had heard, the explosion of the first gas attack to disperse the students, they were excited and shouting and he told the Resident Surgeon that they might expect trouble. In answer to the President's enquiry as to why he expected trouble the witness stated that as a result of his own Calcutta experiences in 1947, he knew that when student's excitement clashed with the Police, trouble always broke out and the students really were very excited. As a result of his Calcutta experiences he expected a large number of casualties. That this really was so is shown by the fact that he told the , Resident Surgeon to draw up a list of doctors to cope with the influx of cases which he expected.

29.       It has been suggested that the University authorities were amiss in that they failed to take steps to check outsiders from the University premises and to close the University gates. The Vice-Chancellor stated that any attempt to remove outsiders would have worsened the situation and an invitation to the Police to enter the premises of the University to remove the outsiders would have only complicated matters. He was supported by his colleagues who also stated that no such steps were possible and it was not physically possible to any close the gates because the students were in command of the gates.

30.       It has also been suggested by Mr. Ghani that the Police did not hardle the
 
   
     
     
 
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