HC Deb 01 May 1906 vol 156 c402
* DR. RUTHERFORD (Middlesex, Brentford)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether his attention has been drawn to the recent suppression of the Bengal Provincial Conference at Barisal, by the police and to the arrest and fining of Surendra Nath Banerjee lately a member of the Legislative Council, for taking part in the conference and a procession, at which national songs were sung; and whether he proposes to restore the right of public meeting and of orderly procession in the province.


I understand that the case in which Mr. Surendra Nath Banerjee was fined is now under appeal to the High Court at Calcutta, and until the appeal is decided I can make no statement as to the propriety of the action taken against him.

MR. J. WARD (Stoke-on-Trent)

asked whether native songs and processions were absolutely prohibited in India.


I do not think that Question arises. Undoubtedly it is not true, so far as I can learn, that processions are altogether prohibited in India; I do not for a moment believe it.


asked whether the right hon. Gentleman was aware that the Government of Eastern Bengal and Assam had issued a circular declaring such processions, and the utterance of the national song, "Hail Motherland," to be illegal.


I understand that there is a judgment of the court—;I am not quite sure at the moment what court it is—;that it is an illegal proceeding. Whether that is a sound piece of policy or not is another question, and I am considering the whole case of these processions and proceedings.