Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official eBook

William Henry Sleeman
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,051 pages of information about Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official.

We proceeded to Farrukhnagar, about twelve miles over an execrable road running over a flat but rugged surface of unproductive soil.[3] India is, perhaps, the only civilized country in the world where a great city could be approached by such a road from the largest military Station in the empire,[4] not more than three stages distant.  After breakfast the head native police officer of the division came to pay his respects.  He talked of the dreadful murders which used to be perpetrated in this neighbourhood by miscreants, who found shelter in the territories of the Begam Samru,[5] whither his followers dared not hunt for them; and mentioned a case of nine persons who had been murdered just within the boundary of our territories about seven years before, and thrown into a dry well.  He was present at the inquest held on their bodies, and described their appearance; and I found that they were the bodies of a news writer from Lahore, who, with his eight companions, had been murdered by Thugs on his way back to Rohilkhand.  I had long before been made acquainted with the circumstances of this murder and the perpetrators had all been secured, but we wanted this link in the chain of evidence.  It had been described to me as having taken place within the boundary of the Begam’s territory, and I applied to her for a report on the inquest.  She declared that no bodies had been discovered about the time mentioned; and I concluded that the ignorance of the people of the neighbourhood was pretended, as usual in such cases, with a view to avoid a summons to give evidence in our courts.  I referred forthwith to the magistrate of the district, and found the report that I wanted, and thereby completed the chain of evidence upon a very important case.  The Thanadar seemed much surprised to find that I was so well acquainted with the circumstances of this murder, but still more that the perpetrators were not the poor old Begam’s subjects, but our own.

The police officers employed on our borders find it very convenient to trace the perpetrators of all murders and gang robberies into the territories of native chiefs, whose subjects they accuse often when they know that the crimes have been committed by our own.  They are, on the one hand, afraid to seize or accuse the real offenders, lest they should avenge themselves by some personal violence, or by thefts or robberies, which they often commit with a view to get them tumed out of office as inefficient; and, on the other, they are tempted to conceal the real offenders by a liberal share of the spoil, and a promise of not offending again within their beat.  Their tenure of office is far too insecure, and their salaries are far too small.  They are often dismissed summarily by the magistrate if they send him in no prisoners; and also if they send in to him prisoners who are not ultimately convicted, because a magistrate’s merits are too often estimated by the proportion that his convictions bear to his acquittals among the prisoners

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Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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