Hunter Commission Report

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : May 26, 2022, 11:25

Following the horrific slaughter at Jallianwala Bagh on April 13, 1919, the Indian government's Legislative Council established the Hunter Commission Report to investigate the incident. Under General Dyer's command, at least 1000 people were massacred, including women, children, and the elderly, and another fifteen hundred were wounded on that terrible day. Lord William Hunter directed the investigating committee. The Hunter Commission Report was established on October 29, 1919. It began hearing testimony in November and lasted 46 days.

Hunter Commission Report - Major Members

The major members of the Hunter Commission Report were -

  1. Chairman - Lord William Hunter, ex- Solicitor-General
  2. W.F. Rice, Additional Secretary to the Government of India (Home Department)
  3. Justice G.C. Rankin, Judge of the High Court, Calcutta
  4. Major General Sir George Barrow, Commandant of the Peshawar Division
  5. Sir Chimanlal Setalvad
  6. Pandit Jagat Narayan
  7. Sardar Sultan Ahmed Khan

On November 19, General Dyer came before the commission. He indicated that he intended to shoot at the gathering to separate them and create a moral impact to avert a mutiny. He also stated that he would have planned to employ machine guns and armoured vehicles and that he would have utilised them if given the opportunity. He also admitted to leaving the wounded neglected.

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Punjab's declaration of martial law under the Hunter Commission Report

On May 26, 1920, the committee presented its Hunter Commission Report. In it, most of its members admonished Dyer for the misguided notion of duty. It was determined that the assembly would not be the product of an Indian scheme. Punjab's declaration of martial law was legitimate. It also found that Dyer's shooting at the crowd was justified, except that the officer should have given a caution first and that the fire time should have been reduced. (He had authorised ten minutes of fire.)

The Indian members of the panel issued a minority report, questioning the need for martial law at the time and disputing the seriousness of the unrest.

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Military rule in Punjab under the Hunter Commission Report

Congress presented its viewpoint even before the senate could issue its report. This viewpoint condemned Dyer's actions as inhumane and claimed that the imposition of military rule in Punjab was unjustified. The Hunter Report, on the other hand, saw things differently than one might anticipate. Although it opposed most of General Dyer's policies, it supported the establishment of military rule in Punjab. It also chastised Gandhi's Satyagraha strategy and held him partially accountable for the "deteriorating" law and order situation.

As a result, Dyer was relieved of his command and transported to England. However, the rest of the information was based on the government's official position. Gandhi was enraged, and the Kaisar-I-Hind Gold Medal was returned to him. He believes the moment has arrived when such flagrant acts of inhumanity can no longer be remedied through traditional political channels.

It was also a good time for the Khilafat Grievances. As a result, the Indian National Congress teamed up with the Khilafat leaders. In the aftermath of resurgent Hindu-Muslim solidarity, Gandhi proposed a countrywide non-cooperation movement intending to reach full Swaraj, as it was the only viable option for nationalists.

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FAQS on Hunter Commission Report

Q1. When was the Hunter Commission Report established?

The Hunter Commission Report was established on October 29, 1919.

Q2. Who were the prominent members of the Hunter Commission Report?

The major members of the Hunter Commission Report were:

  1. Chairman - Lord William Hunter, ex- Solicitor-General
  2. W.F. Rice, Additional Secretary to the Government of India (Home Department)
  3. Justice G.C. Rankin, Judge of the High Court, Calcutta
  4. Major General Sir George Barrow, Commandant of the Peshawar Division
  5. Sir Chimanlal Setalvad
  6. Pandit Jagat Narayan
  7. Sardar Sultan Ahmed Khan

Q3. Why was the Hunter Commission Report established?

Following the horrific slaughter at Jallianwala Bagh on April 13, 1919, the Indian government's Legislative Council established the Hunter Commission Report to investigate the incident.

Q4. When was the first Hunter Commission Report presented?

On May 26, 1920, the committee presented its Hunter Commission Report.