Ellice Commission Report

Ellice Commission Report was the report of the committee that was formed to insvestigate the occurrence of 21 February 1952. The government of East Bengal formed an investigation commission on 13 March 1952 with a judge of Dhaka High Court and published an extra ordinary supplement of the 'dhaka gazette'. By that gazette notification, the chief justice was authorized to appoint an investigation judge. The chief justice nominated Justice T.H. Ellice, one of the judges of the Dhaka High Court. The Governor of East Bengal appointed Justice Ellice as an investigation authority on 17 March. On 27 May 1952 the Commission handed over its report to the Chief Secretary of East Bengal.

The focus and subject matter of Ellice Commission was to find out whether the firing by the police on 21st February was just or not; whether the police of that time had to use force legally to preserve the law and order or not.

Justice Ellice gave an urgent notification on 20 March through the medias like newspaper and radio to the general people, members of the university, students or student union and provincial government and other reliable sources to have the real information of the firing by police on 21February 1952. The notice asked the people to give written statement of all information to the investigating authority within 31 March 1952. 28 written statements were received in response to this notice.

The Ellice commission started investigation at the Commissioners Court of Dhaka on 8 April 1952. The commission divided the written statements into two groups for taking evidence. The first group of the witness of firing thought the firing of the police was right. The second group of the witness thought the firing of 21 February was excessive and illegal.

In the Ellice Commission report, the references were made of the previous activities of the movement. The atmosphere of Dhaka City before the firing of the police, activities of the Sarba-daliya Rashtrabhasa Karma Parisad (All Party State Language Committee of Action), the background of the imposition of 144 by the Deputy Commissioner on 20 February, the role of students and the people on the day of the occurrence and the activities of police and the arrests were reported briefly.

On 27 May 1952 justice Ellice handed over the report to the Chief Secretary Aziz Ahmed of East Bengal. The report was published on 31 May 1952. Chief Secretary sent the report to the Government of East Bengal on 3 June for necessary action. The Ellice commission decisions were- (a) It was necessary to fire by the police; (b) The force imposed by the police was legal and a demand of the situation.

Political parties and Student Union rejected the investigation report of Justice Ellice which had given him limit and direction to investigate. Although Sarba-daliya Rashtrabhasa Karma Parisad (All Party State Language Committee of Action) demanded that at least two responsible representatives from the public be included in the Ellice Commission, but they were not taken. On the other hand, the activities of the investigation commission were confined to the firing occurrence of 21 February, the development of the happenings of 22 February were not included in the investigation. The work of the Committee was done secretly and the matter of the arrest of the Committee members, M.L.As, and other arrestees were overlooked. The report of the Ellice Commission was criticized for limitations of the scope of investigation. All the newspapers of that time criticized the report and pointed out the faults. [Delwar Hassan]