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When Jinnah defended Bhagat Singh

NEW DELHI: Mohammad Ali Jinnah made no secret of his sympathies for Indian freedom fighters — Bhagat Singh and others in the Lahore prison — even though their politics and his were poles apart.

Jinnah went to the extent of defending Bhagat Singh in his speech in the Central Assembly on September 12, 1929. He held Bhagat Singh and his comrades in high esteem, says The Trial of Bhagat Singh — Politics of Justice by A.G. Noorani, Supreme Court advocate.

Mr. Noorani says Jinnah made no secret of his sympathies for the Lahore prisoners. On the hunger strike by prisoners in Lahore jail, Jinnah said "the man who goes on hunger strike has a soul. He is moved by that soul, and he believes in the justice of his cause. He is no ordinary criminal, who is guilty of cold blooded, sordid wicked crime."

"... I do not approve of the action of Bhagat Singh... I regret that rightly or wrongly the youth of today is stirred up... however much you deplore them and however much you say they are misguided, it is the system, this damnable system of governance, which is resented by the people,'' Jinnah remarked. The House was adjourned but Jinnah continued his speech in the next sitting and pointed out the anomalies that would arise if the trial of Bhagat Singh and others would proceed in their absence. — PTI

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