DATED 22ND SEPTEMBER 1914.
(NOTE. - It is recommended that this report be burned and not kept on record.)
INDIAN AGITATORS IN AMERICA.
1. The Komagata Maru. - The following report gives some information about attempts to smuggle arms and ammunition on board the Komagata Maru:
"Several attempts have been made in Victoria, Vancouver, and a few adjacent towns, to purchase wholesale supplies of small arms and ammunition, with the object of furnishing them in those on board the Komagata Maru so that they should be in a position to offer armed resistance to the Immigration officials and the officers of the law. Subsequent events have clearly shown that the resistance offered by these Hindus on the Komagata Maru is the result of a conspiracy, the leaders of which are educated Indians resident in the United States.
About three weeks ago, two Hindu residents of Victoria, B.C., named respectively Harnam Singh and Hookum Singh, made an attempt to purchase 25 automatic revolvers and ammunition in that city. The hardware people refused to sell the arms and ammunition, where-upon Harnam Singh stated to the salesman that they could easily procure their wants at Port Angeles, Washington, where a countryman, named Taraknath Das, had made arrangements to assist them in their purchases. On the 17th July Harnam Singh took with him three other Hindus, named Bhag Singh, Balwant Singh and Mewa Singh, and proceeded by electric train to Huntingdon, B.C., where they interviewed the United States Immigration Inspector in charge, Mr. Jenkins, and stated that they had come to meet some friends in Sumas and wished to have an hour or two in their company. Unfortunately, Mr. Jenkins was not aware of the fact that Bhag Singh, Balwant Singh and Harnam Singh had been debarred from entering the United States and granted their request. Some hours afterwards the Provincial Police in Abbotsford, a short distance from the United States territory, arrested the Hindu named Mewa Singh. On searching him we found in his possession two automatic revolvers and 500 rounds of ammunition, which he said he had purchased in Sumas. This clue led to the discovery that Bhag Singh, Balwant Singh and Harnam Singh were still in Sumas, and our Immigration Officer at Huntingdon was instructed to refuse them entry into Canada on their return. Inspector Jenkins, to whom the information was communicated, soon traced these three men and found that they had been in conference with Taraknath Das. It was also found that besides Taraknath Das, there were three other Hindus from the United States who were implicated, one of these being Bhagwan Singh. On Inspector Jenkins talking these three men into custody, it was discovered that they were each armed with automatic revolvers and ammunition".
Balwant Singh was a member of the recent deputation from the Sikhs in Canada to His Excellency the Viceroy. Bhag Singh and Harnam Singh are well known to us as leaders of the seditious movement in British Columbia. Bhagwan Singh, who was deported from Canada for preaching sedition and Taraknath Das, Har Dayal's lieutenant, are too well known to need description.
There is reason to believe that the attempts to smuggle arms on board were not altogether unsuccessful, as it is reported that during the fight with the police in Vancouver harbor two or three shots were fired from the ship.
It is known in the Punjab that the Komagata Maru is on her way to India. A correspondent writes that he heard in Lahore that the ship had reached Colombo and that the passengers had several revolvers and bombs on board.
The latest news of the Komagata Maru is that she is coming straight to Calcutta from Singapore and not via Colombo. Arrangements to meet her at Calcutta have been concerted between the Bengal and Punjab Governments and this Department.
2. The following account of the fight between the police and the passengers on board the Komagata Maru has been sent from Panama to several persons in Karachi:
"Scores of policemen injured in a hit battle with Hindus on board a Japanese steamer.
Vancouver, B.C., July 22nd. - Scores among a party of 175 policemen and constables were injured, several seriously, the other day in a battle with several hundred infuriated Hindus on board the Japanese steamer Komagata Maru in the harbor here. Showers of coal, clubs, iron bars, hatchets and other missiles rained from the ship on the official force which attempted to board the steamer.
The Hindus braved the steam from a big hose which the tug turned on them and mercilessly pelted the men on the decks of the tug with lumps of coal. Fire bricks and pieces of iron from what is believed to have been the wreckage of the engine room followed. No shots were fired on either side. The Hindus had no firearms, and the police refrained from using theirs.
The battle grew out of an attempt to rid the harbor of the Japanese steamer on which 350 Hindus came to this port three months ago, only to have the Canadian Immigration officials refuse them admission to the country. Their claim of a right to land as British subjects was overruled by the Courts, and the steamer was ordered to sail with them on board. The Hindus had been rebellious, and several times attempted, to land but were prevented.
As the steamer was without provisions, the Canadian authorities a day or two ago decided to put sufficient stores on board for the voyage to the Orient whence the Komagata Maru came. Plans were carefully matured and early on Sunday the tug Sea Lion put out with the provisions and what was deemed to be a sufficient boarding force to overcome any opposition. The 125 city policemen had revolvers and the special constable’s rifles. The Sea Lion slowly steamed out to the Japanese vessel. When within hailing distances of her, it was seen that every inch of space along the rail and on the deck and bridge was occupied by Hindus armed each with a club or other weapon, while at the bow of the steamer a solid mass of humanity was congregated.
The Tug's hose was made ready, and back and forth along the rows of Hindus a steam was played. That form of attack was effective momentarily, and the Hindus retreated under the rush of water propelled at high pressure. It looked for the time as if the boarder would carry through their program without serious trouble. The situation quickly changed, however. Pluckily rallying, several Hindus faced the stream and began dashing a shower of missiles upon the attacking party. This was only a foretaste. Reinforcement in the ship followed up the defensive move and soon a tremendous storm of lumps of coal was being rained upon the party on the top deck, which was at the mercy of the Hindus above as they had orders to use fore arms.
As the shower of missiles continued, thick and fast, many men were felled by blows on the head. Soon the police had enough, and the Sea Lion withdrew.
True copy of one of the esteemed papers of Germany. We Indians are in the dark."
3. Circulation of the "Khalsa Akhbar" in Vancouver. - Information has been received that Harchand Singh, the Sikh agitator of Lyallpur, used to send a copy of his newspaper, the Khalsa Akhbar, to the Sikh temple at Vancouver every week. This newspaper which during its short career made itself notorious for its hostility to Government and to the Chief Khalsa Diwan, particularly in connection with the Rkabganj Gurdwara agitation, was much appreciated by the Sikhs in Vancouver. It was circulated from hand to hand eventually returning to the priest of the temple.
4. Ram Chand Peshawari. - The Paisa Akhbar of Lahore, dated the 19th September, published a communication from California, in which it is stated that large meetings were held at six different places in America at which Sikh and Mohammedan preachers delivered spirited and learned lectures on the condition of Indians in foreign countries, particularly Canada, the United States and Africa. Pandit Ram Chand, it is said, delivered exciting speeches on national progress and national movements. Appeals were made for a National Scientific Educational Fund and a sum of 20,000 dollars was collected. Pandit Ram Chand is, of course, Ram Chand Peshwari, at present editor of the Ghadr.