British Spied On Udham For Years Before O’Dwyer Killing | Chandigarh News – Times of India

Countless books, stories and countless popular cultural stories have told generations of Indians that Shaheed Adham Singh, the avenger of Jallianwala Bagh massacre whose 124th birthday falls on December 26, was caught unawares by the British.
He appeared suddenly and unseen in the heart of the British capital on March 13, 1940, almost 21 years after the massacre, and took moments to kill. Michael O’Dwyerwho was the Lieutenant Governor of Punjab at the time of Jallianwala Bagh massacre.
However, if one believes that excerpts from “secret” notes exchanged between British intelligence officers operating in England in the 1930s, British spy Caxton Hall had been monitoring Udham’s activities in England for four years before the shooting.

This has been revealed from the available extracts of the files. British authorities Adham began tracking down mid-1936, when Dwyer’s murder was still four years away. For nearly 57 years after the incident, the complete official records on Dwyer’s murder remained inaccessible until 1997, when members of the Birmingham-based Shaheed Odham Singh Welfare Trust obtained access to a set of five files after an eight-year campaign.
For the first time, the contents of the files became public after they were reproduced in the book ‘Emergence of the Image: Redacted Documents of Udham Singh’, co-authored by Dr Notij Singh, retired professor of Punjabi, Department of Historical Research. University, Patiala, and Avtar Singh Johal, then General Secretary of the Indian Workers’ Association of Great Britain and Visiting Fellow at the University of Warwick.
Extracts from these files show that Adham Singh became a “curiosity” to the British authorities in 1936, when Adham, while in England, “authorized” the British authorities to travel to Holland, Germany, Poland, Austria. (permission) was sought. , Hungary and Italy on 10 May 1936.
In a communication dated 25 May 1936, a British official noted, “I agree that there are some interesting features in this case, but I do not think that if the petitioner Adham Singh (sic) again If applied for, endorsement should be denied.”
Adham was arrested by the British. In 1927, the Indian police arrested issues of Ghadar Di Ganj, a magazine published by the Ghadar Party, in Amritsar for possession of illegal arms and prohibited literature.

He spent five years in prison. In the official records of those years, he gave his name as Uday Singh. However, after his release, he got a passport number. 52753 from Lahore on 20 March 1933 in the name of Adham Singh. The similarity in names, among other factors, was one of the reasons that made him “curious” to the British.
According to British records, Adham visited Poland, Latvia and Russia and returned to London on 25 June 1936. His last stop during his stay was the Russian city of Leningrad, which was the center of communist activities. This visit to Leningrad raised British suspicions.
An extract from another report, written in November 1936, gives a clear glimpse of this doubt. Officials wrote in a “secret” report, “This Indian (Udham Singh), whose arrival from Leningrad was referred to in the previous report, was heard expressing views of servitude and boasting of it.” that he had smuggled revolvers into India”, officials wrote in a “confidential” report.
This report, along with several other such communications between British officials in the years before the Caxton Hall shootings, shows British spies’ eagerness to dig up details of their residence in England and what it was about. Reveals.
“He declared that he resided at 30, Church Lane, E. but subsequent inquiries revealed that the address was occupied by a firm of merchants and general warehousemen … he never lived there and that company Whereabouts unknown,” reads the “confidential” report. He is believed to be living with a white woman somewhere in London’s West End and intermittently working on ‘crowd scenes’ at film studios.
But by October 1937, British intelligence had joined all the dots and concluded that the man they had been carrying since 1936 was none other than Ghadar Party worker Uday Singh. In a confidential communication dated 11 October 1937, the official noted, “Udham Singh, whose real name is Uday Singh, has a poor record, as will be seen from the attached summary of his history sheet.
Given his conviction for arms smuggling in 1927 and his association with the Ghadar Party, Indian authorities strongly oppose any endorsement that would allow him to establish new links with the party in these countries. Facilitate where he wants to go now. “
Moreover, he obtained his current passport in Lahore by having Udham Singh instead of Uday Singh and engaging in skillful complications in relation to previous travel documents and valuable applications made by him.
After his return to India the question of his prosecution on this score is still pending with the Indian authorities, who will in any case oppose the renewal of his passport, which is due to expire next March, if They apply for such renewal. It is therefore recommended that the present application of Adham Singh be rejected.
A similar communication was posted 40 days later, on 22 November 1937, in which the officer wrote: “You will see from this note that Adham Singh spent about seven years in America… Adham Singh spent five years in India in 1927. Imprisoned for smuggling two revolvers and ammunition in 1931. At the same time, it was clear that in doing so he was influenced by Ghadar propaganda as a result of his contacts with the Ghadar party in California.
There are therefore ample grounds for the United States to maintain its refusal to ratify.”
By February 1938, the British were not only tracking Udham but also keeping records of the politically active people he was meeting.
In an intelligence report dated 23 February 1938, officials noted: “Udham Singh left Dover for France on 15 February. It is learned that he met Dr. Hazara Singh at Dunkirk. Udham Singh on 19 February returned, accompanied by two other British Indians like Habib G. Patel and VR Kopekar, who apparently had recently arrived in France from India…On arrival in London, the three proceeded to the Indian Students’ Hostel, Gower Street. W.C. “
Available records show that at least three more intelligence reports on Udham were prepared by British spies in the months of July, August and October 1938. The revolutionary and his friend met with the Indian owner of his company.
It is not yet clear whether British spies continued to track Udham Singh extensively throughout 1939 and the first quarter of 1940 or whether their attention was diverted to other events leading up to World War II. Excerpts from secret intelligence reports do not answer this aspect of Adham’s case.
However, what they definitely answer is that Udham, despite being under close surveillance by British spies for four years straight, had given them the slip. He managed to enter Caxton Hall in the heart of London city, that too during the years of World War II.
He was able to accomplish his task in a place where, in addition to Dwyer, there were other distinguished aristocrats, including Lawrence John Lumley Dundas (Lord Zetland), former Secretary of State for British India; former Brigadier General of the British Army, Sir Percy Sykes; and former Bombay Governor Charles Cochrane Baillie (Lord Leamington).
How did he manage it? The answer may have gone with the respected martyr. Or, it’s still buried in files in the dark corners of the British archives.
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