|Allahabad butcher: James George Smith Neill, Brig. Gen. www.geograph.org.uk|
The Jallianwalla Bagh massacre (April 13, 1919), Punjab resulted in the death and serious injuries of scores of innocent men, women and children - it is yet another story written in blood. Like Gen. Reginald Dyer, the man who master-minded the Punjab massacre, there was an equally vicious military officer with the EIC's military stationed in Madras. James Neill of the Madras Fusileers regiment played a vital role in putting down the Indian Rebellion of 1857. He was killed during the Siege of Lucknow and was reviled as the "Butcher of Allahabad" by the Indians. Lots of Indians are not aware of the British Army officer who was behind the killing of thousands of Indians during the Sepoy Mutiny and the accolades he won after this mass slaughter operation.
Neill, born near Dalry, Scotland and educated at the University of Glasgow, joined the service of the British East India Company in 1827. From 1828 to 1852 he was with the 1st Madras Europeans and in 1852 he successfully did his military duty in the Second Burmese War and later in the Crimean war. In 1857 he returned to India to resume his duty with the EIC military.
Six weeks after his arrival, many states in Northern Indian were in the grip of revolt and rebellion by the Sepoys against the British regime. For some time the relationship between Indian soldiers and British military officers had been at the lowest ebb because of rampant racial discrimination, arrogance and above all blasphemy on the part of EIC and the British military officers. The simmering frustration and hatred for the British had begun to boil and rear its ugly head. There were some sporadic incidents of violence and revolt in the Northern states of India. It all began at the cantonment of Meerut, now in Madhya Pradesh. Because of poor handling and lack of restraints by the British rulers, it was turned into a towering inferno - worst up-raising in the British Empire called the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. Brig. Gen. Neill responded quickly without weighing the pros and cons of after effects of his proposed move. He went to Benaras (Varanasi) from Madras with his regiment and upon his arrival on 3 June 1857, he preemptively disbanded the local native regiment consisting mainly of Sikhs stationed at Varanasi. Honestly speaking, they were very loyal. The Sikhs and others revolted and later fled the scene when Neill's commanders began shooting at them indiscriminately.
|atrocities at Jhansi.The Victorian Web|
|James George Neill, killed 1000 plus natives,but, a hero in England.en.wikipedia.org|
Gen, Henry Havelock's troops were busy in Allahabad having a pitched battle against the rebels and made some victories. In the wake of the Bibighar massacre of British women and children at Kanpur - an unfortunate incident, perpetrated by the emotionally charged and rampaging Indian soldiers, General Neill took the opportunity to get the devil out of him and indulged in indiscriminate killings of Indians. He, in his capacity as a higher military officer, personally executed many of his prisoners under his very nose.
Now his indulgence of violence with glee against Indians reached the summit. In a disgusting and highly condemnable episode, he forcefully rounded up at random the Brahmins from Kanpur, quite similar to the way cattle were rounded up by cowpokes in western movies, and asked them to wash up the blood of the Bibighar victims from the floor. The merciless British soldiers, under the direction of Neill, kept on whipping them up with a bull's whip till they collapsed like nine pins on the bowling alley. Now, they successfully carried out one more final act before the end of the show of mayhem and murder. All these innocent, unarmed Brahmins, were summarily hanged to death. The unfortunate thing is they had nothing to do with the Bibighar massacre of the English people. Nor did those Brahmins take an active role in the Sepoy revolt. This incident was a blot on the British conscience and showed to the world how beastly and repressive the British soldiers and their superiors were.
Gen. Havelock, due to the shortage of men, wanted to have reinforcements. A second expedition barely secured victory at Bithor (16 August) and Havelock's men returned to Cawnpore, and cholera broke out there, The final advance - the famous march from Cawnpore to Lucknow began on 18 September, in spite acts of insubordination, Havelock gave his rival a brigade command. The attack was delayed for various reasons and on on the 25th he led the great attack on Lucknow itself. He fought furiously pushing the troop forward and Neil was killed in action and was shot in the head at Khas Bazaar, Lucknow on 25 September 1857.
'This is the end of Gen. Brig. James Neil of the ‘Madras Fusiliers’, a European unit, to whom committing massacres is a noble way of expressing his patriotism to the British Crown and the Great Britain when their honor is in danger".
Memorials were erected in Lucknow named as "Neill Lines". Memorial at Residency reads : "Sacred to the memory of Brigadier General J.G.S. Neill A.D.C. to the Queen. An island in the Andamans was named. The British rulers then chose to honor him by erecting a statue of him on arterial Mount Road in (then) Madras in 1860. It was removed in the 1960s after public protest. One man said who wanted a statue of a Scottish man who committed massacres against Indians on our own soil.