Caxton Hall is a site associated closely with Udham Singh – an Indian revolutionary freedom fighter and assassin. On 13 March 1940 the East India Association and the Royal Central Asian Society was to host a lecture on the Afghan crisis at Caxton Hall, Westminster. Attendees included Lord Zetland, Secretary of State for India, and Sir Michael O’Dwyer – a name that would have been immediately reviled by Udham Singh. As the audience stood up to leave Singh stepped forward and drew his pistol. Just inches from O’Dwyer’s back Udham Singh shot him twice, further shots hit Zetland and two others. O’Dwyer was killed right away. In custody he gave the name of Mohammed Singh Azad – an eclectic mixture of a Sikh, Hindu and Muslim names, his statement ultimately sealing his fate; “I just shot to make protest. I have seen people starving in India under British Imperialism. I done it... I am not sorry... it was my duty.” The prosecution case was straightforward, the defence chaotic, revenge came at a heavy price. On 5th June 1940 Udham Singh was sentenced to death. There was no appeal hearing.
Shaheed Udham Singh - Shooting at Caxton Hall London
- Deepak Kamboj
- Aug 18th, 2014
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