Caxton Hall – Udham Singh

 

A site associated closely with Uddham Singh –revolutionary freedom fighter and assassin. On 13 March 1940 the East India Association was to host a lecture on the Afghan crisis at Caxton Hall, Westminster. Attendees included Lord Zetland, Secretary of State for India, and Sir Michael O’Dwyer – a name that would have been immediately reviled by Udham Singh.
As the audience stood up to leave Singh stepped forward and drew his pistol. Just inches from O’Dwyer’s back Udham Singh shot him twice, further shots hit Zetland and two others. O’Dwyer was killed immediately.
In custody he gave the name of Mohammed Singh Azad – an eclectic mixture of a Sikh Hindu and Muslim names, his statement ultimately sealing his fate; “I just shot to make protest. I have seen people starving in India under British Imperialism. I done it . . . I am not sorry. . it was my duty.”
The prosecution case was simple, the defence chaotic, revenge came at a heavy price. On 5 June 1940 Udham Singh was sentenced to death. There was no appeal hearing.

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