HINDU BRITISH RIOT IN LAHORE
HENRY LAWRENCE IN ACTION 1846
Brahman Dutt hanged to death
It would be like other days as on 21st April, 1846 at about 11 am. Nothing unusual was expected. A camel caravan from Ferozepur, with ammunition, was outside one of the Gates of Lahore. There were some cows blocking their way. A British sentry tried to move the cows away, but they were not budging from their stance. Instead of the butt of his gun, he used the bayonet side, and injured three cows in the process. A riot started in Lahore in 1846.
Sir Henry Lawrence was the British Government Agent at Lahore. Henry Lawrence was taken by surprise. He wanted to control the situation, realizing that a little mishandling could go wrong in a long way. He found out about the three owners and visited the house of each of the Hindus, to offer regrets for the injury sustained by the cows and promised punishment to the European sentry involved in the incident.
As Henry Lawrence along with his colleagues (Major McGregor and Lt Edwardes) were there at the house of one of the owners, brick bating started at them from Hindu houses. A crowd had followed them to their journey to the houses, and a riot and scuffle had started with their group, with the Brahmans and the Khatrees. Shops were closed in the streets. The three Brahmans involved were picked up by the police and the fear was that they would commit suicide, as they threatened same. So immediate flogging was not possible. All three were taken out of the city. In the run their leader Dutt Brahman was executed for causing head injury to Lt Edwardes, colleague of Henry Lawrence.
Sir Henry Lawrence recognized the religious fanaticism which was taking place, and the British did what the did best, over react to a situation, to prevent re-occurrence of same in any further incident. In the past few ‘kind words’ would appease the people but the circumstances were different now. The plan to annex Lahore was on the anvil. Sir Lawrence noted the zealous divide between Hindus and Mohammedans, and knew that Sikhs very strongly supported the Hindus. So the balance had to be created. And this incident led to other incident of the cow riots of Lahore, where the Hindus went on a rampage and murdered some butchers of the city. That we have already told before this.