Why were the Indians Outraged by the Rowlatt Act?

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 9th, 2023

The Indians were outraged by the Rowlatt Act because it was clearly undemocratic and oppressive, and it harmed national sentiments and dignity. The Rowlatt Act was launched in 1919, giving the government powers to repress political activities and detain political prisoners for two years.

Indians Outrage by the Rowlatt Act

Despite the opposition of the Indian members, the Rowlatt Act was passed by the Imperial Legislative Council. Gandhiji launched a nationwide satyagraha to protest this action. He desired a nonviolent civil disobedience movement.

The Rowlatt Act infuriated the Indians for the following reasons:

  • Gandhiji launched a nationwide satyagraha against the Rowlatt Act, which resulted in a strike and rallies across the country.
  • As the Amritsar police opened fire on a peaceful procession, widespread attacks on banks, post offices, and railway stations ensued.
  • General Dyre assumed command, and martial law was declared.
  • A large crowd gathered in the enclosed ground at Jallianwala Bagh. Some came to protest, while others were on their way to the Baisakhi fair and were unaware of the martial law.
  • Dyre blocked the exit and opened fire on the crowd, killing hundreds. This is referred to as the Jallianwalla Bagh massacre.
  • Following that, people attacked the government building, clashed with the police, and so on.

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