Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Kedah Riot 1947 - Govindaraju, Kuppusamy and Muthaiah Charged

As my quest to find the names of those involved in one of the most vigorous rebellious acts against oppressive British masters in Kedah, a few names appeared in The Straits Times dated 22nd April 1947.

The President of Sungai Petani Estate Workers Union, Govindaraju, faced charges of intimidation and wrongful confinement of an Indian named Ayaroo. In his defend, Gavindaraju told the court that he was not at the estate when the incident took place. Ayaroo, was said to be taken away by the three accused and tied to a post for four hours and guarded by 15 members of "youth corp" - Thondar Padai. Apparently, Ayaroo was not happy that the workers formed an union.

Charged with Govindaraju were Kuppusamy and Muthiah (a Hindu priest) and two women. ( I discovered that the names of these two women were Annathaai and Manidammal - http://www.malayaganapathy.com/2016/10/kedah-riot-1947-indian-women-labourer.html)

 

As Thondar Padai's foremost activity (which upset the British the most) was demolishing toddy shops in estates, it is quite normal Thondar Padai members and its leaders to punish those who patronize toddy shops by metered out punishment such as tied to posts or trees. Eventually, this act incited hatred among the older generation who regularly patronize toddy shops. The Straits Times reported on the 18th March 1947, that complaints have been made against some individuals connected to Thondar Padai movement. Labourers from many estates around Sungai Petani made police reports for intimidation and threatened for drinking toddy. Thirteen men and three women have been already charged in Sungai Petani magistrate court for intimidation.


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