The Rowlatt Act came into effect in March 1919.Voices from all over the country swelled the protest. On 6 April there were strikes, hartals and demonstrations at many places. In Punjab the protest movement was particularly strong. The government resorted to lathicharge and firing in many places. On 10 April two outstanding leaders of the Congress Dr Satya Pal and Dr Saifuddin Kitchlew were arrested and taken to an unknown place.
To protest against the arrests a public meeting was held on 13 April in Jallianwala Bagh a small park enclosed by buildings on all sides, in Amritsar.General Dyer with his British troops entered the park closed the only exit and without giving any warning ordered the troops to fire. The meeting had been peaceful and there had been no provocation. Among those who had come to the meeting were women, children and old persons. The firing lasted about 10 minutes killing 1000 people and leaving 2000 wounded. The monstrous act provoked unparalleled indignation throughout the country. Martial law was declared through out Punjab and reign of terror unleashed.