§ Sir WILLIAM BYLES
asked whether the Secretary of State had sanctioned, in addition to the expedition against the Abors, an expedition against the Mishmis and an expedition against Rima; if so, whether the two latter expeditions had arisen in any way out of the murder of the late Mr. Williamson in the Abor country; and, if not, upon what grounds the two latter expeditions have been sanctioned?
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for INDIA (Mr. Montagu)
The Secretary of State has sanctioned the despatch of a friendly mission to the Mishmis in order to make the position clear to them and thus prevent any tendency on their part to join the Abors. The necessity for this measure arises directly out of the murder of Mr. Williamson by the Abors, but this opportunity will be taken of obtaining information regarding the nature and limits of the country. No expedition is being sent "against Rima," which is in Tibet.
§ Sir E. GREY
The hon. Member has a question on that subject upon the Paper, and in reply to that question I will give him more detailed information.
§ Sir W. BYLES
asked whether the mission of the late Mr. Noel Williamson into the Abor country was undertaken with or without the consent of the Abor people, and upon whose recommendation it was sanctioned by the Government of India; whether the object of the mission was diplomatic, or, if not, why it was undertaken; and whether the Government of India has received information that the gam or headman of a particular village was responsible for the murder of Mr. Williamson, and that the Abors have expressed their readiness to deliver up those 689 responsible for the murder if the expedition into their country is not persisted in?
§ Mr. MONTAGU
The circumstances in which Mr. Williamson entered the Abor country were unknown to the Government at the time, but from letters written after he had started and received after his death, it appears that his object was to see if he could obtain political information. His expedition was undertaken without reference to higher authority. He had visited the country before, and had been invited by the headmen to return and visit the village in which he was eventually murdered. No information of the kind mentioned by the hon. Member has been received. On the contrary, the evidence is to the effect that not one individual but a group of villages are responsible.
§ Sir W. BYLES
asked whether the three expeditions now being carried on in the Abor and neighbouring countries by the Government of India are being carried on beyond the external frontiers of His Majesty's Indian Possessions; and, if so, whether, as prescribed by the 55th Section of the Government of India Act of 1858, the consent of both Houses of Parliament has been obtained for defraying the expenses of the military operations out of the revenue of India, or whether there is any necessity for each of these expeditions which warrants their being undertaken without the sanction of Parliament having been first obtained?