U.S. targets Indian activist, Taraknath Das
During World War I, U.S. and British officials expanded a transimperial surveillance apparatus designed to police enemy aliens and foreign threats. U.S. officials reflected these concerns in immigration proceedings, asking arriving Indian immigrants whether they had or would conspire with Germans, and collaborated with British officials to target Indian immigrants in the United States who actively sought to overthrow the British government with German support. Throughout the war, British intelligence officials worked alongside US officials to unveil the plot and prosecute possible conspirators. In 1917, the United States brought suit against Indian activists in the German-Hindu Conspiracy Trial. Taraknath Das was one of many Indian immigrants implicated in the trial. Das had long been on the radar for U.S. and British officials for his legal and political advocacy among Indian and other Asian immigrants and labor organizations. During the trial, Das, then a U.S. citizen, claimed he was fighting for India’s freedom against an oppressive colonial regime. The German-Hindu Conspiracy case fueled the longest and most expensive trial in U.S. history to date and sparked concerns about the politics of Indian immigrants in the United States. Das was convicted and sentenced to twenty-two months in the United States Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas. As related in the article, U.S. and British officials also proposed to denaturalize Das and revoke his U.S. citizenship, an action they ultimately did not follow through with.
This source is part of the Indian Immigrants and U.S. Citizenship in an Imperial Context teaching module.
U. S. MAY REVOKE DAS' CITIZENSHIP
Revocation of the citizenship of Taraknath Das, one of the intellectual lead- of the Hindu revolutionary movement, will be sought in a suit to be filed today in the District Court by the United States attorney’s office. Das was convicted last spring, with the score or more of other defendants in the Hindu German revolt trial here, and sentenced to two years' imprisonment at McNeils Island. It was charged that, under orders from the German foreign office, he directed the revolutionary movement from Japan. He was also charged with having circulated a Russian nihilistic bomb manual among the Hindus here. Besides being a revolutionary leader. Das was an author on international questions. He is a graduate of the University of California and a fellow of the University of Washington. According to the federal authorities, his application for citizenship papers was not made in good faith, and it is charged that he was not of good "moral character” when he took the oath of allegiance to the United States here in 1914, that he did not intend to support the constitution nor to reside permanently in this country.
Courtesy of the California Digital Newspaper Collection, Center for Bibliographic Studies and Research, University of California, Riverside, http://cdnc.ucr.edu.