HC Deb 29 June 1899 vol 73 cc974-5
MR. DAVITT (Mayo, S.)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India if the Natu brothers are still imprisoned as a consequence of the late disturbances at Poona; if he can state where they are confined and how they are treated; whether in the trials of the men who have been executed for the murder of a British officer any evidence of any kind implicating the Natus was given; and whether if the Government of India does not see its way to release men who are imprisoned without trial, an opportunity will be given to them to prove their innocence before some tribunal.


The Natus are not imprisoned, but restraints upon their liberty of movement continue to be imposed for the reason stated by me in this House on the 21st of April, 1898, and on other occasions—namely, that the Government of Bombay is not yet satisfied that public tranquillity and order will not be endangered by their withdrawal. The Sardars are living in the district of Belgaum, subject to no restrictions except the disability to leave that district. The Natus are not charged with abetment of the murder referred to, and the answer to the third clause of the question is in the negative. As regards the continuance of their detention under Regulation 25, 1827, which is only applicable in cases where judicial proceedings are not deemed advisable, I have already stated in this House that I do not propose to interfere with the discretion of the Government of Bombay, who are primarily responsible for the maintenance of order and tranquillity in their province.


May I ask the noble Lord whether, as these two gentlemen are British subjects, they ought not to have a fair trial?

(No answer was given.)