INA Trials – UPSC GS1

The agitation launched by the Congress post the capture of Indian National Army soldiers in 1945 is considered as landmark on many counts. Examine why. (200 Words)

The INC leaders were released to affect the Constitutional deadlock and they found masses ready to act. Further agenda was gifted to them in form of public trails of INA Prisoners of War which were captured by British. Also the elections were announced to be held in 1945-46. All this provided a great platform for mobilization of masses and INC prepared a defence plan for INA trials.
  1. The agitation often got mixed with election campaigning although INC did not need much of it. Huge crowds with masses excited over the return of nationalist leaders, gathered in sessions.
  2. Press support was immense. Daily editorials, priority coverage and support for INA men helped people form opinion.
  3. No communal clashes occurred during this period and as a matter of symbolism, British had inadvertently put One Hindu, One Muslim and One Sikh on trial first. INC, Muslim League, Sikh bodies, all supported leniency for INA.
  4. The support for INA men was unprecedented in all sections of society. Even Indian soldiers who may have fought them, believed them to misguided patriots.
  5. Soon people began to perceive this issue as India versus British. Students, youth, workers, etc. started to pledge revenge on British if any INA man was sentenced. Instances of hartals, processions, attacks of authorities, etc. began to increase. The matter went out if control for British when Calcutta hartals and Royal Indian Navy strike occurred.
  6. The demand for leniency to these patriots was made even before their trials were announced. Funds were established for these men so that they could be rehabilitated. Generous donations were received.
Prominent lawyers which took up the case were Bhulabhai Desai, Tej Bahadur Sapru and JL Nehru.
Thus altogether, the INA trails marshalled public opinion immensely. It had a huge psychological impact over wide geographical areas and along all social lines.