The 30th of October 1928 was an evil
day in India's political history. The Simon Commission was expected to
arrive in Lahore on that day. The rulers had taken precautions to prevent
a public protest. Prohibitory orders were enforced. Lalaji was ill that
day. Still he led the procession to protest against the. Commission.
When the Simon Commission arrived,
on one side there where traitors to welcome them. On another side the revolutionaries
demonstrated against the Commission. In the protest march youths staged
a tremendous show. A hartal was observed that day; there was a sea of black
flags. Thousands and thousands of hearts and voices shouted "Simon, go
back!" The lion of Punjab, Lala Lajpat Rai, led the procession. When the
trains reached the station, the cry "Simon, go back!" hit the sky. Police
security arrangements crumbled. The crowd was so thick that movement was
impossible. The Police charged with their Lathis (stout sticks). The blood
of innocent people began to flow. Lalaji's friends Sukhdev, Yashpal, Bhagavati
Charan and others surrounded him, in order to protect him. Police officer
Scot saw Lalaji and his bodyguards. He ordered the Police to beat thebodyguards.
A Police officer named Sanders came forward to do the job. The Police Lathis
rained blows on Lalaji - on the head and all over the body. Lala realized
this incident would lead to conflict and a bloodbath. He told the huge
crowd of revolutionaryyouths: "Leave this place." The crowd dispersed.
The same evening there was a mammoth
public meeting. The despicable action of the Police was severely condemned
and the Simon Commission was boycotted. Police Deputy Superintendent Neal
was present at the meeting. Lalaji turned to Neal and said in English so
that he could understand him: "The blows, which fell on me today, are the
last nails driven into the coffin of British Imperialism."
One word from Lajpat Rai to the youths
would have been enough; they would have let loose rivers of blood. But
Lalaji practiced non-violence strictly. The country had to restrain its
anger. In the very week of the incident Lalaji attended the All-India Congress
Committee and all-party meetings. He grew weak and returned to Lahore.
Lalaji fell ill and died of a heart
attack on 17th November 1928. The whole of India knew that his death was
a result of the lathi blows. A deliberate murder by the Police!
More than a lakh of people took up
in his funeral procession.