HC Deb 03 June 1918 vol 106 cc1218-9
9 and 10. Mr. JOYNSON-HICKS

asked the Secretary for India (1) whether his attention has been called to the letter of Sir Subramaniya Aiyer, K.C.I.E., to President Wilson; whether this letter was grossly defamatory of British rule in India; whether this letter evaded the, censorship; whether any action has been taken against the sender under the Defence of India Act; (2) whether Sir Subramaniya Aiyer was among those making representations to him during his recent visit to India; and whether the Government proposes to deal with the assertions in the letter to President Wilson?

12. General CROFT

asked the Secretary of State for India whether his attention has been called to the letter addressed by Sir Subramaniya Aiyer to President Wilson, in which he states that President Wilson and other leaders have been kept in ignorance of the full measure of misrule and oppression in India, that officials of an alien nation, speaking a foreign tongue, have forced their will upon it, that they grant themselves exorbitant salaries and large allowances, that they refuse education, sap the people of their wealth, impose crushing taxes, and cast thousands of people into prisons for uttering patriotic sentiments, and that the prisons are so filthy that often the in mates die from loathsome diseases; whether he is aware that this gentleman has fallen under the influence of Mrs. Besant; and what action he proposes to take with a view to putting an end to such propaganda?

The SECRETARY of STATE for INDIA (Mr. Montagu)

The disgraceful letter is correctly described in the questions. Its impropriety is all the more inexcusable because of the position of the writer. I was amazed to read of its recent publication. But the assertions in the letter are too wild and baseless to require or receive notice from any responsible authority. No action has as yet been taken as regards the author, but I am in communication with the Viceroy on the subject.

Sir J. D. REES

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this member of a short-lived race is already upwards of seventy-seven years old, and that this is a senile production?

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