The Delhi Conspiracy case, also known as the Delhi-Lahore Conspiracy, refers to an attempt to assassinate the then Viceroy of India, Lord Hardinge by throwing a local self-made bomb, on the occasion of transferring the capital of British India from Calcutta to New Delhi.
The conspiracy culminated in the attempted assassination on 23 December 1912, when a homemade bomb was thrown into the Viceroy’s howdah as the ceremonial procession was moving through the Chandni Chowk suburb of Delhi.
The Viceroy and vicerine were sitting on an elephant and entering the city. Basanta Kumar Biswas, a revolutionary from Nadia village threw a homemade bomb at the Viceroy who was seated on an elephant. Although injured in the attack, the Viceroy fled with flesh wounds, but the servant behind him carrying his parasol was killed. Lady Hardinge, the elephant, and its mahout (handler) were uninjured. Lord Hardinge himself was wounded all over the back, legs, and head by fragments of the bomb, the flesh on his shoulders being torn in strips.
Viceroy and Vicerine were making their ceremonial entry to the new capital of India, Delhi. The howdah in which they were traveling was blown into pieces and there was some difficulty to remove Viceroy from the back of the elephant on which they were traveling. The man killed was an umbrella bearer and he acted in that capacity to the previous viceroy Lord Curzon also.
Injuries to Viceroy
Viceroy Hardinge suffered several injuries due to the piercing of nails filled in the bomb. They penetrated the back and shoulders of the Viceroy.
In the aftermath of the event, efforts were made to stop the Bengali and Punjabi revolutionary underground, which reached under extreme pressure for some time. Rash Behari Bose, identified as the person who threw the bomb, successfully escaped for nearly three years, was involved in the Ghadar Conspiracy before it was found, then fled to Japan in 1915.
A reward of Rs.10,000 was declared for the arrest of the bomb thrower since the identity of the assassin was not directly known to Government agencies.
The investigations in the aftermath of the assassination attempt led to the Delhi Conspiracy trial. The case was filed against Lala Hanumant Sahai, Basanta Kumar Biswas, Bhai Balmukund, Amir Chand, and Awadh Behari. On 5 October 1914, Lala Hanumant Sahai was sentenced to life imprisonment in the Andaman Islands, and the other four were sentenced to death for their roles in the conspiracy.
Basanta Kumar Biswas was hanged on 11 May 1915 at Ambala Central Jail in Punjab aged twenty and became one of the youngest people to be executed during the Indian revolutionary struggles during the 20th century.
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