HC Deb 29 October 1906 vol 163 cc686-7
*MR. REES (Montgomery Boroughs)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether the Government of India has proposed the mustering out of the two battalions of Moplahs, on the ground that they return excessive sick rates; whether he is aware that such battalions of men from a climate of which excessive moisture and heat are the characteristics were removed, immediately after leaving Southern India to a North-West frontier station, the characteristics of the climate of which are extreme dryness and cold; whether at all recruiting centres in South India an agency is now engaged in dissuading men from enlisting, on the score of the treatment the Moplah battalions have received; whether South Indian regiments have participated in the increases in the number of officers allotted to North Indian regiments; and whether, in view of the effect of returning discontented Moplah ex Sepoys to the Malabar distinct in which so many Moplah outbreaks have occurred, he will take steps to prevent the discouragement of recruiting in Southern India, in view of the fact that recruiting in the Punjab and Northern India is becoming more difficult and precarious.


One of the two Moplah battalions was sent to Dera Ismail Khan with a view to training them for the Field Army and giving them Frontier experience. They were withdrawn after three months having broken down in health. No proposal has reached me fur the reduction of either of the battalions. I am not aware of any agency being engaged at recruiting centres in dissuading men from enlistment, and I do not know that any steps are required to prevent the discouragement of recruiting in Southern India. I have not yet received a Report as to the allotment of the officers provided Under the recent increase, but it is the intention of the Government of India to allot British officers proportionately to established native strength, which in the case of some Madras regiments has ecently been reduced.