HC Deb 06 August 1888 vol 329 cc1685-7
MR. BRADLAUGH (Northampton)

asked the Under Secretary of State for India, Whether the Secretary of State for India is aware of the grave dissatisfaction which is felt in India, particularly among the native population, in consequence of the proceedings of Sir Lepel Griffin, late Governor General's Agent to the Central Indian Feudatory States, while in charge of the Central Indian Agency, especially is respect to the State of Bhopal; whether he is aware that the female Ruler of that State is alleged to have been subjected by Sir Lepel Griffin to serious indignities as follows:— Abusing the Nawab Consort in a public Durbar in the Begum's Palace and in the Begum's presence; Requesting the appointment of a Secret Agent, whose existence was not to be made known to the Viceroy or the Agent's (Sir Lepel Griffin's) subordinates; Making private visits to the Begum's daughter against the Begum's vehement protests, and at a time when the Agent was aware of domestic disagreement between the Begum and her daughter; Compelling the Begum to pay the debt of a certain pensioner, and to make certain contributions against Her Highness's expressed objections; Compelling the Begum to dismiss two faithful old servants of the State, and to deport them from Bhopal; Violating Act 9 of the Treaty securing the Begum in her rights, interfering with the internal affairs of the State, and compelling Her Highness, out of the State Treasury, to re-imburse a Turkish trader 6,851 rupees for goods alleged by him to have been stolen from him; Compelling the separation of the Begum from her husband for eight months, that is, until Lord Dufferin intervened; And, refusing to transmit to the Governor General, Kharitas, setting forth Her Highness's grievances and her defence, addressed by the Begum to Lord Dufferin; whether the Secretary of State has seen certain letters alleged to have been written by Sir Lepel Griffin to the Begum from May, 1881, to May, 1886; whether it is true that Sir Lepel Griffin has been appointed Resident at the Court of His Highness the Nizam of Hyderabad; and, whether, considering the dissatisfaction which has been caused by the proceedings of Sir Lepel Griffin in his relations with Native States, the Secretary of State will take any action in the matter?


(who replied) said: The Secretary of State is aware that dissatisfaction has been expressed by certain vernacular newspapers and pamphlets in India with regard to Sir Lepel Griffin's proceedings while in charge of the Central India Agency, in respect to the Bhopal State; but no Memorial, either from the Begum of Bhopal or any other person, complaining of Sir Lepel Griffin's proceedings has ever been received by the Secretary of State; and he believes that the view the Government of India have taken of the charges so preferred through the Press is that they have no foundation in fact. With regard to the specific indignities to which the Begum is alleged to have been subjected by Sir Lepel Griffin, the Secretary of State has no information except that the late administrative measures as conducted in Bhopal have met with the approval of the Government of India. As for certain letters alleged to have been written by Sir Lepel Griffin to the Begum, the Secretary of State has no official information. The selection of an officer for the post of Resident at Hyderabad is within the discretion of the Governor General; and no report of any selection has yet been made.


You say the Government have no official information. Has the Government any information to communicate to the House?


No, Sir; the Secretary of State, I am informed, has no information on the subject.