HC Deb 13 April 1905 vol 145 cc55-6

To ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, in view of the frequent Police Court proceedings arising from the alleged ill-treatment of Indian indentured coolies in the Natal coal mines, he will call for a Report from the Natal Government on the subject and suggest the holding of a public inquiry thereon.

(Answered By Mr. Secretary Lyttelton.) There is a protector of Indian immigrants in Natal whose duty it is to watch over their interests. I have referred to his last two annual reports and do not find anything which would warrant such action as the hon. Member suggests. Indians are not compelled to accept service in the mines. During 1903 (the last year for which I have a report) the majority of the 504 men who re-indentured themselves did so to the coal mines and other employers not engaged in agriculture.