The response of the armed forces was unexpectedly sympathetic, belying the official perception that loyal soldiers were very hostile to the INA 'traitors'. Royal Indian Air Force (RIAF) men in Kohat attended Shah nawaz's meetings and army men in U.P. and Punjab attended INA meetings, often in uniform. RIAF men in Calcutta, Kohat, Allahabad, Bamrauli and Kanpur contributed money for the INA defence, as did other service personnel in U.P.
The growing nationalist sentiment, that reached a crescendo around the INA trials, developed into violent confrontations with authority in the winter of 1945-46. There were three upsurges - one on 21 November 1945 in Calcutta over the INA trials; the second on 11th February 1946 to protest against the seven year sentence given to one Rashid Ali, an INA officer, and the third in Bombay of 18th February 1946 when the ratings of the Royal Indian Navy (RIN) went on strike.
The RIN revolt started on 18th February when 1100 naval ratings of HMIS Talwar struck work at Bombay to protest against the treatment meted out to them - flagrant racial discrimination, unpalatable food and abuses to boot. The arrest of B.C. Dutt, a rating, for scrawling 'Quit India' on the HMIS Talwar, was sorely resented. The next day, ratings from Castle and Fort Barracks joined the strike and on hearing that the HMIS Talwar ratings had been fired upon (which was incorrect) left their posts and went around Bombay in lorries, holding aloft flags containing the picture of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.
The news reached Karachi on 19 February, upon which the HMIS Hindustan alongwith one more ship and three shore establishments, went on a lightning strike. Sympathetic token strikes took place in Military establishments in Madras, Vishakhapatnam, Calcutta, Delhi, Cochin, Jamnagar, the Andamans, Bahrain and Aden. Seventy eight ships and 20 shore establishments, involving 20,000 ratings were affected.
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