DRAMATIC gun battles in which heavy artillery and tommy guns were used broke out on Thursday [Feb 21] in Bombay and Karachi between “rebel” RIN ratings [Royal Indian Navy sailors] and British troops in which one British soldier was killed and many Indians and Britons were injured. A broadcast warning from G.H.Q. , New Delhi, late Thursday afternoon “that strong land, sea and air forces are on their way to Bombay, Poona and Karachi” was followed by the announcement of a truce in Bombay, but late last night the situation at Karachi, where the RIN ratings had fired 4” guns on British soldiers was stated to be serious.
At Madras, Calcutta and New Delhi, RIN ratings came out in sympathetic strikes. Many were arrested. The first indication of the grave turn the RIN strike had taken was an A.P.I. announcement at lunch time on Thursday that RIN “rebels” at Bombay are “returning the fire of British troops”.
Later it was officially announced:- “… A message was sent by mutineers to ships in stream directing all British officers to quit ships and asking Indian officers who wish to join the mutineers to do so….”
Published in Dawn, February 22nd, 2021