British Rule, in general, had a net negative impact also because of its countless human rights violations. Oppression and ruling by force, along with treating natives as second class citizens, are automatically moral crimes. Yet the Raj had several other ugly sides (many of which stemmed from racism and oppression) as well.
Violence in Response to Peace
Violent response to civil disobedience and nonviolent resistance were a major part of the human rights violations of the British Raj. On April 13, 1919, at least 10000 men, women, and children gathered in Amritsar in an open area known as the Jallianwala Bagh. It was almost totally enclosed by walls and had only 1 exit. People there were protesting peacefully against various repressive acts issued by the Raj. This was when, without warning, the British troops opened fire on the protesters, killing nearly 400 people (though some estimates go as high as 1000) and wounding over 1000. Over 100 children and women tried to look for safety in a well and drowned. In an outrageous twist of fate, the British public labeled Brigadier Reginald Dyer (who ordered the massacre) a hero and raised $90,0000 (today's money) for him. After the shooting, martial law was instituted in Punjab. Public floggings and other brutal humiliations were common.
In early 1930, Mahatma Gandhi decided to protest against a highly oppressive salt tax which also prohibited natives from selling or producing it independently (even though salt was very abundant). Gandhi encouraged large crowds to gather and practice satyagraha, or pressuring for social and political reform through nonviolent means. Their form of protesting was picking up handfuls of salt (and often collecting it in baskets), thus breaking the law. Ultimately, thousands were arrested and imprisoned (including Gandhi himself). Some 2500 peaceful protesters were attacked violently by the police, and by the end of the year, around 60,000 people were imprisoned. Winston Churchill, Britain’s beloved leader, said this of Gandhi: “[He] ought to be lain bound hand and foot at the gates of Delhi, and then trampled on by an enormous elephant with the new Viceroy seated on its back."
An Avoidable Famine at Best- An Engineered Genocide at Worst
Many scholars claim that the various famines which occurred during the British Raj were at worst engineered genocides that have been severely whitewashed over the course of history. Regardless of whether or not one considers it a genocide, it is clear that the British enabled the massive death tolls of each famine by horrendous decisions on famine aid efforts (which were reasoned through exploitative and racist means that dehumanized Indians).
For example, in 1943, at least 3 million people were believed to have died due to a widespread famine. Even though food was available to send to the Indians from India itself, the War Cabinet ordered a stockpile of wheat for feeding Europeans after the war. And so, 170,000 tons of Australian wheat bypassed the millions of starving Indians. Winston Churchill, who had authority to provide help, was unabashedly racist and said, "I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion." Leopold Amery, Churchill's Secretary of State for India, grew to recognize his racism. He said that he didn't "see much difference between [Churchill's] outlook and Hitler's." Churchill justified the complete blind-eye of the British oppressors by claiming the Indians were at their own fault for the famine for "breeding like rabbits." At other times, he said the plague was "merrily" slaughtering the population. Churchill would not allow Indians to help themselves either; the Raj forbade Indians from using their own ships or currency reserves to help the millions starving. London also increased the price of grain, making it unaffordable. When the government of Delhi telegrammed Churchill to report that many were dying, he allegedly only asked why Gandhi hadn't yet died. The famines were also in large part caused by unsustainable cash cropping which was enforced by the Raj. In essence, British rule enabled the famine. Several blame World War II for the famine’s enabled fatalities rather than the Raj, but the 1876 famine in India occurred under the Raj when no world war was going on. Originally caused by drought, it was made much worse by the British colonial regime and killed 10s of millions of people.
The Regime also engaged in brutal torture as a means to control the Indian population (visit here for more information). The Indian freedom fighter Surya Sen was eventually caught and jailed. Prior to his execution, he was brutally tortured by the British. The executioners broke all his teeth using a hammer, pulled out all his nails, and broke all his limbs and joints. He was then dragged to the hanging rope unconscious. Such barbaric treatment of prisoners is by any standard cruel and unusual punishment, and a moral crime.