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India@75: The Hindu-German conspiracy of 1917

Did you know that a largely-unknown chapter of India's freedom movement took place in the United States? It was the Hindu-German conspiracy case of 1917. 

Jun 21, 2022, 11:20 AM IST

Did you know that a largely-unknown chapter of India's freedom movement took place in the United States? It was the Hindu-German conspiracy case of 1917. 

The Hindustan Gaddar Party, based in the US, and the Germany-based Indian Independence League formed by expatriate Indian nationalists were behind the conspiracy. The plan was to launch a series of explosions in India, the US, and various European cities simultaneously in order to attract global attention to India's struggle for freedom and Britain's intransigence. 

The plan had the support of anti-British governments of Germany, Japan, China, Turkey, the Russian Bolsheviks and the Irish revolutionaries. 

Money and arms, organised by the Germans were shipped to India. But the British-American intelligence found out about the plan, intercepted the ship, and arrested many of the organisers, including Gaddar leaders like Chandrakanth Chakravarthi, Pandit Ram Chandra, Ram Singh and many German diplomatic officials based in the US. 

The trial of more than 100 persons, including Germans and Indians who were called Hindus, began in San Fransisco in 1917. The last day of the trial witnessed dramatic events inside the court. Ram Singh a Gaddar leader shot dead Gaddar Party President Pandit Ram Chandra Bharadwaj, accusing him of treachery. 

The US police officer in the court immediately shot and killed Singh. Most of the accused were sentenced by the court. But Britain's request for extradition of all the convicts to be tried by them was denied by the US following the American public's sympathy for the radicals.

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