Following the 1915 riots in Ceylon, a campaign for redress of grievances resulting from the colonial government's actions in suppressing the riots brought to prominence a new group of Western-educated, middleclass Ceylonese political leaders and led to the growth of the Ceylonese independence movement. The principal demand of the campaign, carried on in Ceylon and Britain, was for an inquiry by a Royal Commission into the government's handling of the riots. The agitation took the form of memorials, deputations, and lobbying intended to bring pressure on the Colonial Office to sanction an investigation. The campaign secured the support of many individuals and organizations in Britain and obtained the release of prisoners held for riot offenses and the exoneration of some prominent Ceylonese. However, the Colonial Office resisted the demand for an inquiry, which was strongly opposed by the colonial administration in Ceylon. Although unsuccessful in their immediate purpose, the Ceylonese spokesmen in the campaign gained experience in agitation and leadership and a zeal for political action. The nationalist movement of Ceylon, which had been dilettante, became focused and purposeful.

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