16 APRIL 1932, Page 16

Letters to the Editor

[In view of the length of many of the letters which we receive, we would remind correspondents that we often cannot give space for long letters and that short ones are generally read with more attention. The length which we consider most suitable is about that of one of our paragraphs on "News of the IV eek."—Ed. Srucrewon.j


[To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.] SIR,— It may interest the readers of Mr. Thompson's article on Amritsar to have other evidence of General Dyer's real intentions on that dreadful Sunday at Jalianwalabagh. I was at Khalsa College, two or three miles from Amritsar City, engaged in taking names of College students ready to serve as special constables, when news came from the city that some of the boys had been killed. And soon after there galloped across the football fields (where I was) an escort of Cavalry with instructions from the general commanding that they were to conduct my English colleagues and myself at once to the Amritsar Club in the flambee', where the general's headquarters had been established. Though begged by frightened students not to go we obeyed military com- mands. I reported at once to General Dyer, and I remember well his very words when I asked him what had happened : 'It was a ghastly thing to have to do" (ho said) "and it will haunt me for the rest of my life ; I gave the order to fire so as to disperse the meeting: the crowd lay down, I ceased fire ; but soon after the crowd began to riso and looked threatening. They were in thousands and I was responsible for the lives of my small force. I gave the order again to fire and this time I decided to hit hard ; my men used all their ammunition, altogether 1,600 rounds —I then withdrew my force M safety."

Hampstead, N.W.3.

P.S.—An interesting commentary on the effect of the shooting happened three weeks later. Edmund Candler and I went alone to see the spot. We dismounted outside the garden and walked in. It happened that a meeting was taking place to celebrate the release from gaol of a well-known agitator. Candler said, "I must photograph this," and he started setting up a small camera on a tripod. Some of the crowd mistook the camera for a machine-gun. A ery was raised, " Gora aya " (the white folk have come) and the crowd scattered in all directions.