HC Deb 06 July 1876 vol 230 cc1046-7

asked the Under Secretary of State for India, Whether the Government is aware that a Requisition has been presented to the Sheriff of Calcutta for a public meeting, at which the following Resolutions were to be moved:— That this meeting deprecates the recent action of Her Majesty's Ministers in treating the Motion for a Commission of Inquiry into the alleged Famine in Behar as a party question: That, in view of the enormous cost of the late Famine relief operations, and of the widely-entertained opinion as to the wastefulness of such operations, and in view of the strain upon the revenues of India consequent upon such. expenditure, it is desirable that a Commission should be appointed to inquire into the existence and extent of the alleged Famine, and into the nature, extent, and necessity of the relief operations undertaken in respect thereof; and, whether among the signatories to the Requisition are the President and Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce of Calcutta, the Commercial Member of the Supreme Legislative Council, two past Members of the Legislative Council, also a large number of the leading Merchants, Barristers, and Editors, both European and Native, resident in Calcutta?


The only information which I have upon this subject is derived from an advertisement in an Indian newspaper, in which it is stated that a requisition to hold a public meeting had been presented to the Sheriff of Calcutta, signed by about 100 persons, whose names are not given. In a subsequent edition of the same newspaper it is stated that the Sheriff fixed the 29th of May for the meeting; but the requisitionists, instead of availing themselves of the day so fixed, requested the Sheriff to postpone sine die the day for the meeting. The only reason for this indefinite postponement seems to be a fear on the part of the requisitionists that if the meeting is held it will be attended by persons who will propose and carry amendments hostile to the two resolutions mentioned in the Question.


wished to know whether the requisitionists obtained from the Executive a promise to keep the meeting quiet?