HC Deb 23 September 1909 vol 11 cc595-7

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether he has received any official Reports from the Government of India to the effect that a bomb had been thrown at a train in Eastern Bengal with the object of securing £90,000, which was known to be aboard the train, to be used in furtherance of the Anarchist cause; that the three natives in charge of the treasure showed great courage, pulled the communication cord, and refused to leave the treasure van, which was shattered; and that the bomb used was one of an extremely high explosive power; and, if not, whether the Government of India are taking any, and, if any, what steps, under the Press Law or otherwise, to put an end to the transmission of such unfounded statements?


had given notice of the following question on the same subject: To ask the Under-Secretary of State for India whether he has received any official information that on Wednesday last a bomb was thrown at a train on the Eastern Bengal Railway, which is alleged to have shattered the treasury van, and that the crime was probably committed by political dacoits to gather funds for the Anarchist cause?

The UNDER-SECRETARY Of STATE for INDIA (The Master of Elibank)

The hon. Member for Newbury has also a question on the subject, which I will answer at the same time. The Secretary of State has no official knowledge of the report referred to; and with regard to the last part of the question of the hon. Member for Merthyr, I would remind him that Reuter's message was apparently a bonâ fide report based on the statements made by the Indians in charge of the van. The Government can scarcely undertake to deal with every unfounded statement in the Press that forms the basis of questions on India in this House.


May I ask what authority the Under-Secretary has for saying that this unfounded report was based upon statements made by those in charge of the van?


We have no official information at the India Office, and the only report I have seen is Renter's telegram.


May I ask whether, in view of the strict interpretation of the law applied to the native Press in regard to reports concerning Europeans, the India Office will consider the advisability of applying this law to unfounded reports that cause bitter irritation when referring to natives?


The hon. Gentleman should give notice of that question.


Will the hon. Gentleman ask the Secretary of State to take steps to deport some of the members of this brigade of liars?


That question also requires notice.