HC Deb 03 July 1906 vol 159 cc1617-8
MR. O'GRADY (Leeds, E.)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether he is aware that a form of martial law exists in the Mymensing district in the fact that in the business centre, or town of Muktagacha, a proclamation has been issued forbidding more than three persons to walk together in the streets without a licence; and what steps he intends taking to remove this infringement of the liberty of the people in the district named.


I have already stated, in answer to a Question on the 21st ult.,† that in Eastern Bengal the only restrictions now in force are those imposed by the ordinary law; and that the recent rioting may have rendered special precautions necessary, within the limits allowed by the law. As to the proclamation mentioned in the Question, I have no information; but I have telegraphed inquiry.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the rioting referred to took place fifty miles from Muktagacha?


I am not aware of it.


I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether he is aware that, in the riot cases now being tried at Mymensing, the magistrates and the Lieutenant-Governor are allowing the police to conduct the cases and are refusing counsel, and that the aggrieved parties have telegraphed to the Viceroy, who declined to interfere; and whether, in view of the possibilty of an injustice † See Col. 349. being done arising out of this departure from legal practices and precedent, he will make a personal inquiry into the matter, and take steps to assure the people of the new province that His Majesty's Government intend to insist upon the right of fair trial.


I am not aware of the circumstances stated in the Question, but I have telegraphed for information on the subject.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that all this trouble is the work of a certain official, responsible for the government of the district, done on his own authority.

* MR. REES (Montgomery Boroughs)

Are there not regular courts original and appellate, is there not law and justice in Eastern Bengal, as in other Indian provinces?

MR. WEIR (Ross and Cromarty)

Is not the poor Indian ryot utterly unable to pay legal costs?


repeated that he was awaiting the Report.