Intelligence Failures, Militarization, and Rehabilitation: The Anti-Terrorist Campaign After the Chittagong Armoury Raid
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This chapter analyzes how the Bengal revolutionaries’ escalation of their anticolonial campaign in the early 1930s led to the deployment of new anti-terrorist strategies by colonial authorities. The Chittagong Armoury Raid of April 1930 demonstrated the revolutionaries’ capacity to carry out more ambitious attacks on colonial officials and institutions. The revolutionaries’ renewed campaign of violence also created a sense of panic on the part of the white community in Bengal, who demanded summary justice and reprisals. In response to the surge in revolutionary activity, British and Indian Army troops were stationed in key districts of the province, and military officers (known as Military Intelligence Officers) bolstered the ranks of the Intelligence Branch. The militarization of the counter-terrorist campaign and the issues of civil-military cooperation that they raised anticipated colonial counter-insurgency campaigns following the Second World War. At the same time as colonial authorities came to rely more extensively on the military in the policing of the revolutionaries, they simultaneously intensified efforts to “reform” and “rehabilitate” many of the thousands of terrorist suspects detained during these years in an effort to eliminate the threat of revolutionary violence in Bengal.