HC Deb 16 July 1906 vol 160 cc1324-5
MR. LEA (St. Pancras, E.)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether he is aware that a public execution of a private in the 1st Lincolns took place between the prison and the cemetery at Trimulgherry on September 1st last; that the station orders issued by Brigadier General E. O. F. Hamilton, C.B., commanding Secunderabad and Bolarum, on that occasion required the attendance of detachments of every corps, British and native, in the station; that the scaffold was erected a few hundred yards from a public roadway and in view of the windows of the cell in which the man was lodged prior to his execution, and that in the walk from the prison to the scaffold he had to pass through crowds of natives and white women and children assembled to see the execution; and will he say what action he proposes taking in the matter.

The hon. Member also had the following Questions on the Paper on the same subject. To ask the Secretary of State for India why the soldier of the 1st Lincolns tried at Secunderabad last year for murder by a general court martial was not handed over to the civil authorities and tried at the High Court at Madras.

To ask the Secretary of State for India whether he will reconsider the sentence of penal servitude for life imposed on a corporal of the 2nd Border Regiment by a general court martial in Burmah last; year, for attempted murder, with a view to its mitigation, and explain why this case was not tried by the Chief Court at Rangoon.

To ask the Secretary of State for India whether his attention has been called to the fact that station orders, issued by a Brigadier General at Bolarum on August 30th last, contained paragraphs following each other, the effect of one being instructions for a general parade to witness the execution of a private in the 1st Lincolns, the next announcing regimental sports to be held by that battalion and the officers giving an at home; and whether he proposes to take any action with regard to the holding of a fete in the regiment twenty-four hours after the public execution of one of its men, which one company had been forced to witness.


replied that the matter was receiving the attention of the India Office, and the Secretary of State was not yet in a position to give an Answer to the Questions.


said that on May 30th he addressed a Question to the Secretary for War, who stated on June 18th that he was making inquiries. He asked if instructions would be given to the Commander-in-Chief in India that no white soldier should be executed under such barbarous circumstances.


Or native soldiers, either.


This is a matter for the Secretary of State. I will convey to the right hon. Gentleman the suggestion of the hon. Member. We are, I can assure him, in communication with the Indian Government on the subject.


Will you cable out to India and ascertain if any British soldiers are now under sentence of death, and if so will you give provisional orders that the execution shall not be conducted under these barbarous circumstances.


And also inquire as to native soldiers.


I can give no pledge of that kind.