The Rowlatt Act was passed in 1919, indefinitely extending wartime "emergency meaures" in order to control public unrest and root out conspiracy. This act effectively authorised the government to imprison without trial, any person suspected of terrorism living in the Raj .
Mahatma Gandhi, among other Indian leaders, was extremely critical of the Act and argued that not everyone should be punished in response to isolated political crimes. The Act led to indignation from Indian leaders and the public, which caused the government to implement repressive measures. Some people who read the enactment found that constitutional opposition to the measure was fruitless so on April 6th, a "hartal" was organised where Indians would suspend all business and fast as a sign of their hatred for the legislation.
However, the hartal in Delhi was overshadowed by tensions running high which resulted in rioting in the Punjab and other provinces. Gandhi saw that the Indians were not ready for such a stand and suspended the hartal.
The Rowlatt Act came into effect in March 1919.In the Punjab the protest movement was very strong, and on April 10th, two outstanding leaders of the congress Dr. Satya Pal and Dr. Saifuddin Kithlew, were arrested and taken to an unknown place.
A protest was held in Amritsar, which led to the Amritsar Massacre of 1919.