HC Deb 14 February 1917 vol 90 cc592-3

asked the Secretary of State for India whether he is aware that in the Report on the administration of the Excise Department in Burma for 1914–15, it is stated on the authority of district magistrates and sessions judges that a large proportion of crimes of violence is directly or indirectly due to drink; whether the Inspector-General of Police has suggested to the local government that total prohibition should be tried as an experiment in the Bassein district; and whether, in view of the comparative immunity of Burma from drunkenness in the past and the growth of the evil in recent years, the Government will take steps to carry out the suggestion?


The answer to the first and second questions is in the affirmative. I would refer my hon. Friend to the Resolution of the Local Government on the Police Report for 1915, which states the reasons why the Government was unable to accept the suggestion. I do not think it would be wise in me at the present time to overrule its decision.

5. Sir J. D. REES

asked the Secretary of State for India whether King Thebaw, or any of his absolute and irresponsible predecessors in Upper, or any part of, Burma, prohibited the consumption of any particular article of food and drink by any or by all classes of the population; and, if there is no record of any such arbitrary act on the part of any of the absolute monarchs who governed Burma in ante-British days, if he will, should any such prohibition be suggested, withhold his consent from interference calculated to irritate a [...] notorious for love of personal freedom, and to raise doubts in their minds as to the justice and impartiality of British rule?


I have no information on the first part of the question, and am not particularly impressed by my hon. friend's suggestion that I should take King Thebaw as my model.

Sir J. D. REES

Will the right hon. Gentleman follow any model that does not impose this tyrannical prohibition upon the people of Burma?