Friday, September 11, 2009

Ganapathy: Strong Protest By India - 5th May 1949 Straits Times

Hanged: A. Ganapathy, who was hanged this week for illegal possession of arms
As I do not know where to start form, let me start with a news which was reported in The Strait Times (based in Singapore) on Thursday, 5th May 1949, the very next day after S.A Ganapathy was executed. It reads, " Ganapathy: Strong Protest By India"

New Delhi, Thursday.

The Indian Government has asked its London high Commissioner to lodge a "vigorous protest" with the British Government against the execution of A. Ganapathy, a former trade union leader in Malaya, according to official circles in new Delhi.

Ganapathy was hanged in Kuala Lumpur yesterday for possession of arms.

The Under-Secretary of State for Colonies, Mr David Rees - Williams, yesterday made a statement in the House of Commons on the execution of A. Ganapathy, a former trade union leader in Malaya.

Mr. Rees Williams said:

" Both assessors, one European and one Indian, found him guilty without retiring" he said.

The statement was made in reply to a question by Mr Philip Piratin (Comm.) who asked whether Ganapathy's appeal against the death sentence had been heard.

Mr. Piratin further asked, " Are you aware that the announcement you have just made will be met with widespread disapproval in the Labour movement in this country as Ganapathy was a leading trade unionist in Malaya?"

" Are you equally aware that this penalty of death for carrying arms in Malaya is something which does not conform with what the Minister has often declared as the Western way of life?"

Mr. Rees Williams made no reply.

News of the hanging of Ganapathy has aroused considerable comments in India. - Reuters

Now having read this article, it is pretty sure that harsh decisions have been made in Ganapathy's case. His appeal against his sentence had never been heard. Why there were unrest in India? What were the roles that Nehru and Indian government played in this case? Did Nehru failed to convince the British to grand reprieve or even to grand maximum imprisonment? Or was Ganapathy could have been a mere scape goat in Indo-British political controversy as India was also struggling to cope up with her domestic racial riots between Muslims and Hindus, unrest in Kashmir and possible military offensives from Pakistan or the membership of India in the Commonwealth Nation. India was very much vulnerable then and she needed military support from Britain.

But I am also very curious to know details of the Indian assessor who found Ganapathy guilty for illegal arm possession. And talking about arm, the white estate owners are allowed to carry arms in Malaya in those days which was described as western way of life in Malaya.

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