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Historic Chauri Chaura Incident

  • Published
    5th Feb, 2022
Context

The historical Chauri Chaura incident occurred on Feburay 4th in 1922 at Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh). 

  • The centenary of Chauri Chaura is also coinciding with the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence. 
About

What is Chauri Chaura Incident?

  • The historical Chauri Chaura incident occurred on Feburary 4, 1922 at Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh).
  • The incident occurred in Chauri Chaura town of Gorakhpur district of the United Province (Uttar Pradesh) in British India.
  • A large group of protesters, participating in the Non-cooperation Movement, clashed with police, who opened fire.
  • In retaliation the demonstrators attacked and set fire to a police station, killing all of its occupants.
    • The incident led to the deaths of three civilians and 23 policemen.
Background

Background of the Incident

  • Non-Cooperation Movement: On August 1, 1920, Gandhi had launched the Non-Cooperation (Asahayog) Movement against the government.
    • The movement involved a boycott of foreign goods, especially machine-made cloth, and legal, educational and administrative institutions, “refusing to assist a ruler who misrules”.
  • As the movement gathered momentum over the next year and a half, large numbers of volunteers became active across the country.
  • In the winter of 1921-22, volunteers of the Congress and the Khilafat movement were organised into a national volunteer corps.
  • In mid-January 1922, after a meeting addressed by a functionary of the Gorakhpur Congress and Khilafat Committees, peasant “officers” were appointed to fill out pledges of non-cooperation, collect subscriptions, and lead the picketing of shops selling foreign items.
  • A few days before the February 4 incident, police cracked down on volunteers who were trying to stop trade in foreign cloth, and enforce a just price for meat and fish, and severely beat up one Bhagwan Ahir, a demobilised soldier from the British Indian Army.

Details of the very day

  • On February 4, volunteers congregated in the town, and after a meeting, proceeded in a procession to the local police station, and to picket the nearby Mundera bazaar.
    • They ignored warning shots fired in the air by police and pelted the police with stones.
    • The police fired into the crowd, killing three people and injuring many others.
    • A volcano of anger then erupted, there was heavy brickbatting, and the policemen were forced to flee inside the thana. The crowd proceeded to douse the building with kerosene and to set it on fire.
    • Some of the policemen who tried to escape were caught and battered to death, some others managed to escape by throwing away their conspicuous red turbans, which the angry crowd tore to shreds. A lot of police property, including weapons, was destroyed.
    • The volunteers saw the “abolition of the thana” as a sign of the arrival of “Gandhi raj”.

Aftermath (Impact of the Incident)

  • Mahatma Gandhi, who was strictly against violence, halted the Non – cooperation Movement on the national level on 12 February 1922, as a direct result of this incident.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had inaugurated Chauri Chaura Centenary Celebrations on 4th February 2021 and also released a postal stamp on this occasion.

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