Noakhali Riots | Indian History | Free PDF Download
British Prime Minister Clement Attlee sent Cabinet Mission to India to discuss about the transfer of power from the British Raj to the Indian leadership.
On 16th May, 1946, the Mission proposed initial plans of composition of the authority of India and its Government.
On 16th June, 1946, the Mission proposed an alternative plan to arrange for India to be divided into Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan.
Muhammad Ali Jinnah had accepted the Cabinet Mission proposal of 16th June. But the Congress rejected it.
DIRECT ACTION DAY
On July 1946, Jinnah held a press conference at his home in Bombay where he declared his intent to create Pakistan. He had decided to boycott the Constituent Assembly.
On the next day, Jinnah announced 16th August, 1946 would be “Direct Action Day” for the purpose of winning the seperate Muslim state.
The seed for Noakhali riots has been planted on Direct Action Day on 16th August, 1946.
The riots started on 10 October, the day of Kojagari Lakshmi Puja, when the Bengali Hindus were involved in puja activities.
On 12 October, the residence of Chittaranjan Dutta Raychaudhuri at Shayestaganj under the Raipur police station was attacked by a Muslim mob.
The attackers resorted to murder, loot and arson.On 13 October, at 12 noon, a mob of 200 to 250 Muslims armed with deadly weapons attacked the Hindus in Changirgaon. Their houses were being looted and set on fire and they were being forcibly converted to Islam.
Mohandas Gandhi played a role in cooling down the situation. He toured the area with his aides, and was instrumental in calming the communal tension.
At the evening prayer Gandhi mentioned the events in Noakhali with concern. He said, if one half of India’s humanity was paralysed, India could never really feel free.
Gandhi started for Noakhali on 6 November and reached Chaumuhani the next day. on 9 November he embarked on his tour of Noakhali, barefoot. In the next seven weeks he covered 116 miles and visited 47 villages.
He set up his base in a half-burnt house in the village of Srirampur, where he stayed until 1 January. He organised prayer meetings, met local Muslim leaders and tried to win their confidence
Mistrust between Hindus and Muslims continued to exist, and stray incidents of violence occurred even during his stay in Noakhali.
Gandhi’s stay in Noakhali was resented by the Muslim leadership. The resentment against Gandhi’s stay in Noakhali grew day by day. Towards the end of February 1947 it became vulgar. Gandhi’s route was deliberately dirtied everyday and Muslims began to boycott his meetings.
Mohandas Gandhi discontinued his mission halfway and started for Bihar on 2 March 1947 at the request of the Muslim League leaders of Bengal.
Though the massacres and mass conversions had stopped in October, persecution of the Hindu population continued in Noakhali, even during Gandhi’s stay there.
On 19 March 1947, the Muslims held secret meetings in various places. They threatened the Hindus with mass slaughter. The moderate Muslims added that this time they would not be able to protect the Hindus.
In 1960, he suffered a heart attack. He was treated by top doctors in India, including his friend Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy, the then Chief Minister of West Bengal.
His health started deteriorating and he died on 7 March 1961 at the age of 74, from a cerebral stroke. At that time he was still in office as the Home Minister of India.