§ 4. Sir W. BYLES
asked whether the hon. Member will give the House information as to the punitive expedition to the Naga Hills; will he say why the expedition was undertaken, when it occurred, and what were its results; whether groups of villages were first struck at and the Nagas subsequently harried by small compact detachments; whether 120 Nagas or more were killed: how many were wounded; and what was the number of casualties to the punitive force?
§ Mr. MONTAGU
The inhabitants of Chinlong, a village in unadministered territory between Assam and Burma, having treacherously murdered three British subjects, inhabitants of a village in administered territory who had visited Chinlong by invitation, the Deputy-Commissioner, Naga Hills, was dispatched in February with 150 military police, to exact reparation. His instructions were to make every endeavour to negotiate with the villagers before resorting to force. But his advance was strongly opposed, and on 5th February his transport was attacked and four police and nine coolies were killed, and five police and twenty-seven coolies wounded. Chinlong was occupied and destroyed by the Deputy-Commissioner, but his force not being strong enough to punish the group of villages concerned in organising the resistance the Secretary of State approved 1793 the dispatch of 200 Regulars and 240 military police for the purpose. Details have not yet been received, but the Government of India reported on 27th March that the purpose had been achieved and that the force was being withdrawn. The British casualties were four men wounded; the Naga casualties approximately 130.
§ Sir W. BYLES
Does the hon. Member not think that 120 of these natives having been killed is sufficient atonement for the slaughter of three of our visitors?
§ Mr. MONTAGU
I would ask my hon. Friend to consider carefully the facts as I have recited them, and then see whether he does not think the Government of India have taken the only course which was open to them.