HC Deb 09 March 1910 vol 14 cc1455-6

asked what number of indentured Indian coolies were employed in Natal under agreement between that Colony and the Government of India; whether the suicide rate among these coolies was equal to 501 per million; if so, whether directions would be given that an immediate investigation be made into its causes; and whether His Majesty's Government would consider the desirability of stopping the exportation of coolies to South Africa, especially in view of the treatment they receive there and of the conduct of the Governments of Natal and the Transvaal towards their free kindred?


On 31st December, 1908, the last year for which figures are available, the number of indentured and reindentured Indians in Natal was 43,427, and the number of deaths in that year from suicide eighteen, which is at the rate of 414 per million. It appears from the reports of the Protector of Immigrants that the treatment of indentured immigrants is good and the Secretary of State sees no sufficient reason to request the Government of Natal to investigate the matter. As regards prohibition of immigration, I would refer to the replies given on 3rd March by the Under-Secretary of State for India to the Noble Lord the Member for the Hornsey Division of Middlesex, and to my hon. Friend the Member for Paisley.