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Hospital with sticks and stones; they entered the compound, injured the tiles of the roof,
struck some of the patients, and intimidated the staff. Luckily there was a telephone on
the premises, and police aid was speedily summoned. The Commissioner, Deputy Commis-
sioner, and a strong posse of European and Native constables quickly arrived, the mill-hands
were driven out and order was restored. The incident was a very grave one, not so much
in itself, but as an indication of the general feeling, and the secret intelligence which I
received from time to time showed that our sanitary staff were almost in open sympathy with
the rioters owing to the fear of forcible segregation. This demonstration was exclusively
directed against segregation of the sick and removal to hospital, the one measure which the
whole people, high and low, viewed with the wildest hostility, and were determined not to
On the night of the 30th October, Mr. Vincent, the Commissioner of Police, with the
Health Officer, met me at the Municipal Office to confer on the situation. We were all well
acquainted with the main facts of the position and the general feeling of the populace. The
Commissioner of Police pointed out that the Baniahs in Mndvi and other parts had already
begun to close their shops, others would assuredly follow, and looting and severe rioting
were certain to ensue. Both he and the Health Officer were of opinion that our sanitary
staff would make common cause with the rioters, nor was it possible to ascertain in a time
of such wild panic and excitement how far the fine discipline of the Bombay Police force
would avail to keep that body under control. Our hallkhors and bigarris had for
upwards of a fortnight been seeking every excuse to leave their work and get out of the
city, and had only been kept in hand by the ceaseless exertions of the Commissioner of
Police with his detective staff, the Health Officer and his capable Assistant, Mr. Leask,
Under these circumstances the Commissioner of Police and I were unanimous in consi-
dering that any kind of riot and disturbance at such a time meant the absolute ruin of the
city and the cessation of all sanitary measures, both then and thereafter. The bigarris,
sweepers, cart-drivers and others would, with the first sign, have left en masse, and a vast
panic and exodus of the general public would have ensued. Bombay would in a few days
have become uninhabitable and left to reek in a mass of sewage, sweepings and pollution,
with no one at hand to conduct the daily routine of sanitation, much less to adopt a single
preventive measure against the plague. The pestilence in such surroundings would have
increased a hundredfold, and the remaining inhabitants would have been literally decimated
and compelled to fly.
This was the situation which had to be faced on the 30th October, and the crisis called
for strong and immediate action. The obnoxious measure was compulsory removal to
hospital, and the safety of the city had to be placed in the balance against the possibility,
and that a remote one, of a slight spread of plague from a modification of this measure. I
had no hesitation as to the course I should pursue, nor, in my opinion, could an official
responsible for the safety and welfare of the city in perhaps the gravest crisis which has
ever beset it, have adopted any other.
On the 30th October I issued two proclamations explaining and modifying the segrega-
tion orders published under the previous notification of the 6th October.
One of these was addressed to the general public, the other to that ever-present source
of danger, the mill-hands. These proclamations were scattered all over the town in English,
Marthi and Gujarti so as to reach all classes of the people. Their effect was soon visible,
the general excitement and fear of riot calmed down, and only the constant panic and alarm
at the increasing epidemic remained as a disturbing factor. I have brought these facts
prominently to notice, as without a knowledge of them the situation cannot be accurately
gauged by those not behind the scenes, and further much misrepresentation, to say nothing
of abuse, has been showered on the Municipal authorities for adopting a course which saved
the city. This misrepresentation did not occur so much at the time; but months after,
when the crisis of the epidemic had passed, public confidence had been restored and a
totally different state of feeling and circumstances existed, many critics arose asking why
the Municipality had done this or had not done that, and more especially attacking my
policy in the matter of segregation. The fact remains that had the situation not been dealt
with at once and our measures modified to suit the times, the city would have been in a
week bereft of all its sanitary staff and the plague left to work its will unchecked and un-
opposed. I am in no way opposed to segregation where it can be safely carried out, but
I shall show in a subsequent stage of this report that it never produced the results generally
attributed to it when applied on a large scale, while up to the middle of February, when
the crisis was past, and the epidemic declining, any wholesale resort to such drastic
measures would have certainly produced a deplorable catastrophe. The proclamations
issued on the 30th October merely modified the previous orders, and segregation was restored
to, whenever and wherever practicable, both by isolation in houses and removal of cases to
7. The notification referred to here as having been issued to the public by
the Commissioner on 30th October runs as follows:
" Whereas it has come to the notice of the Municipal Commissioner that false and unfounded
reports, with the object of producing a general panic, have been recently spread among the mill-

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