The passage of the Rowlatt Act in 1919 resulted in large scale political unrest throughout India. A large peaceful crowd had gathered at the Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, Punjab to protest against the arrest of pro-Indian independence leaders Dr. Saifuddin Kitchlew and Dr. Satya Pal. In response to the public gathering, the British Brigadier-General R. E. H. Dyer surrounded the Bagh with his soldiers. General Dyer ordered his troops to open fire on the nationalist meeting killing hundreds. The brutality at Jallianwala Bagh stunned the entire nation.
Gandhiji called for a campaign of “non-cooperation” with British rule. Indians who wished colonialism to end were asked to stop attending schools, colleges, and law courts. They were asked to not pay taxes. In sum, they were asked to adhere to a “renunciation of all voluntary association with the British Government”.
Gandhiji said that if non-cooperation was effectively carried out India would win swaraj within a year. When the Congress met for its annual session at Nagpur, C.R. Das moved the main resolution on non-cooperation. Many groups of revolutionary terrorists, especially in Bengal, also pledged support to the movement. The goal of the Congress, by this time, changed from the attainment of self-government by constitutional means to the attainment of Swaraj by peaceful means.
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