Thursday, 28 July 2016

Murder of British judge John Paxton Norman, Chief Justice of the High Court, Calcutta


1870s Judge John Paxton Norman chief justice, High Court, Calcutta, British India. flickr.com

The British East India company's repressive rule and dishonest dealings affected the physic of the Indian natives across the country. Some unscrupulous officers spoiled the name of their motherland by being rude to the natives and openly practiced racial discrimination, not to speak of indulging in corruption, breaking treaties with the Indian rulers, etc. The natives were appalled by their diabolism and cunningness.    The spill over effects of the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857  had lasted  for several years after the worst rebellion. Some unfortunate natives, instead of being patient, took to violence to express their anger, frustration and pent up feeling and  some innocent, honest British officers became victims of their fury.

The Officiating Chief Justice of the High Court, Calcutta the Honorable John Paxton Norman on 20th Sept. 1871 was stabbed to death on the steps of the Town Hall on his way to Court to do his official duty. Following day, he succumbed to severe stab wounds. Indeed, a sad news that a honorable British judge was murdered in a broad day light right before the public on the premises of the court house.  It was found out the man who did this heinous crime was one Abdulla  from Punjab province. He had been living in a mosque in Calcutta for the last 2 years. As it was a premeditated murder of a higher  judicial official, he was tried, convicted, sentenced and  finally ordered to be hanged to death by Judge Gregory Charles Paul.

Abdulla, during the course of trial when asked  to question the witness he said,  - quote "The earth is much below the water and the men have gone to the skies; the dog is eating the wall." Lord Mayo emotionally had expressed  his  intention  of destroying a particular violent sect, to which Abdulla belonged before his departure for  Andaman's  maximum security prison. Unfortunately, it was on the island of Andaman  Lord Mayo was assassinated  by a convict by the name of  Sher Ali Afridi. Mayo's assassin happened to be the brother of Abdulla - the man who killed justice Norman in Kolkata. What a quirk of destiny!

Tit-Bits:
 

Abdulla, assassin of judge John Paxton Norman, Calcutta, British India. www.flickr.com

On the 21st 1871 the following notification was published in a Gazette of India Extraordinary :
" Simla,- 21st September, 1871. The Government of India has received intimation of the death - this morning, from wounds inflicted by an 'assassin, of the Hon. John Paxton Norman, Officiating Chief Justice of tho High Court of Judicature at

Calcutta. Tho Viceroy in Council notifies this mournful event with tho deepest sorrow, and requests that all officers of Government, civil or military, at the Presidency, off-duty, will attend the funeral of the late Mr. Norman. His Excellence in Council also invites the community of Calcutta, European and native, and especially the members of the legal profession, to testify, by their presence on the occasion, their respect for the high character of the deceased, and their abhorrence of the foul criminal which has been committed. His Excellency in Council has directed tho public offices to be closed, and the flag of Fort William to be hoisted half mast during the day, and  seventeen  guns to be  fired from the  ramparts of  Fort William at the time of the funeral. The funeral will be conducted and a monument erected in St. Paul's Cathedral at Calcutta ............. -E. C. Bayley, Secretary to the Government of India."

 Ref:
http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/8925420