My previous jottings on this subject were, upon looking
back, quite unsatisfactory in my own opinion and only served to whet one’s
appetite, for more. The various accounts that have been published so far in the
media looked far from factual and complete. As I am now in possession of a
good amount of information on the subject, I thought I would post an updated
version for those interested.
The train steamed out at 7 p.m. The train halted at Shoranur half an hour and fifteen minutes at Olavakot. The police on escort duty, who had stepped to the next platform, could of course hear the prisoners cry. They could have opened the door to let air in and give water in order to save the life of the howling prisoners. The agonizing and desperate cries were heard at all stops by many persons, but no action was taken and it was made clear that the doors would be opened only at Podanur. The rail distance between Tirur and Podanur was approximately one hundred and eleven miles. During a subsequent inquisition, the sergeant also stated that while at Cheruvannur, he had heard prisoners screaming for water. But as there was no time, the request was disregarded. A number of witnesses stated to having heard screams at Olavakkot & other stations. They opined that these prisoners went crazy and berserk in their quest for air and water.
Khilafat Smaranakal- Brahmadattan Nambudiri
Jividhakatha –Moyarath Sankaran Nambiar
Malabar Kalapam – Madhavan nair
MP Narayana Menon – MPS Menon
Peasant revolt in Malabar: a history of the Malabar rebellion, 1921– RH Hitchcock
List of thedead and other details (In Malayalam)
P Anima’s story on the East hill Bungalow
However it should also be noted that Sgt Andrews had previous experience in this kind of transportation and had transported 112 people once in a luggage wagon without problems. In this case the air vents were painted over and that was the reason for the deaths.
2. Mr Premnath Murkoth provides following additional details about Dr T Raman who treated the sick victims at Coimbatore.
My grand father Dr.T.Raman headed the medical team to render aid to the hapless Mophala victims-in the wagon at Podanur. I have pleasure in attaching along with this his [Dr.Raman ] photograph and his certificate given by the Madras medical College in 1895