HC Deb 23 April 1891 vol 352 cc1153-5
MR. SCHWANN (Manchester, N.)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for India whether he has now obtained any official reply as to the truth or falsehood of the rumours which have appeared in the Press, that the Indian troops killed Manipuri women and children in the affair at Manipur, so that, in case the rumour be proved false, it may be categorically denied?


In reply to the inquiry made by the Secretary of State the following telegram has been received from the Viceroy, which 1 will read to the House. It is dated April 21st, 1891— Foreign. Yours, yesterday. Regent asserts that several boys and women were killed at the time of the attack upon the Senapati's house. He does not say that they were related to him.' Maxwell, Deputy Commissioner, observes on this: 'The atrocities named are altogether false, as I have made careful inquiries.' Gurdon, Assistant Commissioner, reports: That women and children were killed, &c., is absolutely false.' The officer commanding at Silchar telegraphed on the 10th: ' The officers state that no cruelty of any kind was practised by us, nor was it possible. This refers to Boileau, and apparently to all other officers who retired with him to Silchar. Regent's statements will be further investigated on the spot.


I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for India if his attention has been called to a paragraph in the Times, of the 22nd, stating that villages bad been burned at Manipur; whether this statement is correct; and, if so, how many villages have been burned; whether these villages have been burned as a punishment or from military contingencies; and, further, if as a punishment, whether as a punishment for simple resistance or for some specific act of treachery committed by the village burned; and if the villages have been burned owing to military contingencies, would he state the nature of such contingencies, giving such data as would enable a comparison to be instituted with similar unavoidable accidents in European warfare?


In consequence of the question of the hon. and gallant Member, my noble Friend the Secretary of State has carefully perused the Times of the 22nd inst.; but he has been unable to find any confirmation of the report that villages have been burned at Manipur.


The words " at Manipur" in the question should be " in Manipur." It is a misprint.


Neither at Manipur nor in Manipur have any villages been burned.

MR. WEBSTER (St. Pancras, E.)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for India whether he has yet received information as to the alleged statement that the troops employed in the Manipur Expedition were at the time of the recent disaster without an adequate or suitable supply of reserve ammunition to fit their rifles; and whether, if he has no knowledge as yet on the subject, he will telegraph to India for such information?


I find from telegrams which have been received from the Government of India that this matter is now the subject of investigation in India; and I am afraid that I cannot give a satisfactory answer to my hon. Friend until a full Report of the result of the investigation has been received.

MR. KING (Hull, Central)

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether, in view of the exceptional nature of the circumstances attending the Manipur disaster, care will be taken in any arrangements to be made with the Government of Manipur to secure that adequate compensation shall be exacted for the widows and relations of those who were massacred?


In answer to the question of my hon. Friend, I have to tell him that the Secretary of State for India considers it premature to state at present what terms will be exacted from the Manipurese.