§ MR. C. E. SCHWANN (Manchester, N.)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for India, whether his attention has been drawn to the remarks concerning the recruiting of coolies in Bengal, made by Mr. Toynbee, Commissioner of Bhagalpore Division, and published in the Calcutta Gazette of the 3rd October last, in which he gave many instances of criminal complaints, made in the Damka district, with reference to coolie recruiting, and also of cases of abduction of women and children for a similar purpose in Deoghur, and of the forcible carrying off of youths in Godda district; and, whether, in view of the constant and apparently unavoidable abuses to which the present system of recruiting coolies for the tea plantations of Assam, &c., gives rise, he will consult the Government of India, with a view of gradually abrogating these special laws, and leave tea planters in India to obtain coolies like other employers of labour, in the open market, and tinder ordinary conditions?
§ *THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR INDIA (Mr. H. H. FOWLER, Wolverhampton, E.)
I have seen the remarks to which my hon. Friend refers, and I find that they have also received the attention of the local authorities. I know that the Government of India are most anxious to gradually abrogate the special law for Assam, and that their recent Amendments of the Act were framed with a view to pave the way for a system of absolutely free migration. I will, however, again call their attention to this subject.