The Suspicious Death of Jadish Chandera Bhatta - Brinsworth Rotherham Friday 1st May 1931

"When evidence is not to be had, theories abound. Even the most plausible of them do not carry conviction- London Times Nov. 10.1888"

The Scotsman dated Friday 8th May 1931 carried this report on the death of a second year Sheffield University student Jadish Chandera Bhatta whose mutilated body was found on a railway track at Brinsworth, Rotherham. The death must have occurred a week earlier on Friday 1st May 1931. The inquest was held on Monday 4th May 1931 when a verdict of "Suicide with nothing to show the state of mind at the time." they could not find any reason why Jadish would take his own life. If this was the case why did not the coroner advise the jury to return an open verdict as there was no evidence for a suicide verdict. 

The Indian Students Union were clearly not convinced by the verdict and asked that the matter be further investigated. There request was granted and the funeral which was due t be conducted on Thursday 7th May 1931 was postponed and a post-mortem was carried out. Based on the information that was provided by Jadish's fellow students I would have thought they were ample grounds to regard his death as suspicious - the missing ring, the missing gold wristwatch, no money was found on the body, no shoes on the body and finally the wound on his forehead. Each point on its own would be noteworthy but taken collectively, this death is suspicious. Of course the most likely explanation is that the ring, wristwatch, money and shoes were removed by a person/persons unknown after death - that is someone found the body, removed the items and disappeared. It would still leave the wound on the forehead to be explained and also that there was nothing in his misdemeanor leading up to his death that gave any cause for concern .  

In the Observer dated Sunday 10th may 1931 there was this report of a statement made by the University Authorities on the afternoon of Saturday 9th May 1931, two days after the post-mortem 

I am astounded that they had issued such a statement. IN THE OPINION is the key phrase here. It is their OPINION that"there is no foundation for any suspicion of foul play in connection with the death of J. C. Bhatta not do they criticise the verdict of the jury arrived at on the evidence before them at the inquest." The following day the Manchester Guardian echoed those remarks. 

This is just not correct. By upholding the verdict of suicide and ignoring the evidence presented by the Indian Student Union it seems to me that the University authorities in collusion with the Coroner just wanted rid of the matter. And what is very interesting is that in all three articles there is no mention of the word POLICE. Modern day policing treats unexplained deaths as suspicious until proven otherwise. In this case it looks as though the University authorities conducted the investigation instead of the police and gave the OPINION that there was no foul play and that Jagdish's death was suicide. The facts point elsewhere. I have no doubt at all that Jagdish was hit by a train and the injuries he sustained will be consistent with that event. The problem I have is with the events prior to, and after he was hit by a train. The evidence presented allows for other possibilities. The verdict of the jury should have been an open verdict inasmuch as there was no evidence of suicidal intent and foul play whilst suspected, could not be proven.     

Jagdish was cremated on Monday 11th May 1931

BHATTA, Jagadish Cbadra (Cremation Index Record, age 22). Died at ~; Buried on May 11, 1931 in ~ ground; cremated. Grave Number ~, Section ~ of City Road Cemetery, Sheffield. ~. Remarks: Cremation number is 813.

Jagdish's death was not the only one that occurred in Sheffield around that time. The deaths of Elizabeth Alice Smith in 1922 and Florence Hargreaves in 1926 are covered elsewhere on this site but both deaths aroused controversy, and the verdicts that where delivered by the coroner and his jury were highly questionable. It is the same in this case.  


The Scotsman dated 8th May 1931

The Observer dated 10th May 1931

The Manchester Guardian dated 11th May 1931

Sheffield Indexers

The Straits Newspaper dated 22nd May 1931 dateline Sheffield 9th May 1931

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This page was last updated on 21/12/22 15:01