HC Deb 03 March 1896 vol 38 cc18-9
MR. THOMAS BAYLEY (Derbyshire, Chesterfield)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India, whether information has been received by Her Majesty's Government as to the disposal of the people in the portion of Kafiristan taken possession of by the Afghans prior to the cessation of hostilities on 24th January last, and the removal to Chitral of those who wished to leave the conquered country; whether Her Majesty's Government will make arrangements with the Amir of Afghanistan for the safe conduct of these and any other expatriated Kafirs into districts where they can be suitably provided for, and will see that such provision is made; whether, as there does not appear to be accommodation in Chitral for any large number of Kafir settlers, Her Majesty's Government will consider the expediency of locating the exiles in Kashmir or some other district less crowded and affording better facilities for peaceable residence than Chitral; and, whether, if the complete occupation of Kafiristan by the Afghans is inevitable, Her Majesty's Government will use its influence to secure the adoption of a policy not less humane than that which, as reported in The Times of 21st February, has been insisted upon by the Russian Government as regards the evacuation of the Darwaz district of Bokhara, lately ceded to Afghanistan?


No information of a trustworthy character has been received as to the treatment or disposal of the Kafir prisoners; as regards those who remain in Kafiristan, I have received from no reliable source any information contradicting the statement I made on the 20th February The conditions connected with the transfer of the Darwaz district of Bokhara are so widely different from those surrounding Kafiristan that I should doubt the expediency of pressing on His Highness the Amir the special arrangements suggested by the lion. Member; but any favourable opportunity of exercising beneficial influence on behalf of the Kafirs will be made use of by the Government of India, and I will communicate with the Viceroy as to the possibility of providing for the peaceable settlement in suitable districts of such Kafirs as may have taken refuge in British protectorate.

SIR W. WEDDERBURN (Banffshire)

asked, whether influence might not be used to prevent the expatriation of these Kafirs altogether?


I cannot go beyond the answer I have given.