Wagon Tragedy - what is it ?
The 1921 Wagon Tragedy -The British government had sent around 100 rebels in a freight wagon to Podanur Central Jail near Coimbatore from Tirur Railway station on 20 November 1921, after the quelling a rebellion in the south Malabar taluks of Kerala.
The wagon tragedy was the death of 64 prisoners on 10th of November, 1921 in the Malabar region of Kerala state of India. The prisoners had been taken into custody following the Mappila Rebellion against British in various parts of Malappuram district .
Their deaths through apparent negligence discredited the British Raj and generated sympathy for the Indian independence movement. In order to attract more Muslim support to the Indian National Movement, Mahatma Gandhi and the national leaders of India initially supported the Khilafat movement and merged it to the famous Non Co-operation Movement.
This succeeded in bringing almost all sections of Indians under one flag for a Pan-Indian movement for the first time. The southern Malabar district welcomed this movement in a great spirit. However, in Eranad and Walluvanad taluks it took the form of an armed rebellion by the Muslim Mappila community, who were largely tenants being exploited by British and certain high caste Hindu landlords. After a series of events that culminated in violent clashes between police and protesters, martial law was introduced and the rebellion was mostly crushed.
On 10 November 1921, when the uprising was near its end, almost 100 detained Muslim rebels were sent by train from Tirur to the Central Prison, Bellary in the Madras Presidency. During the return journey, 64 of the 100 rebels suffocated to death in the closed railroad wagon. Historian Sumit Sarkar referred to it as the "Black Hole of Podanur". A monument to this event can be seen at Tirur.
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