HC Deb 17 February 1919 vol 112 cc534-5
21. Sir J. D. REES

asked the Secretary of State for India whether the mill strike in Bombay has been brought to a satisfactory conclusion; and whether he has any information, to give the House regarding the riots by which it was accompanied?


Through the intervention of the Governor a settlement of the Bombay mill strike was come to on 22nd January, and the men returned to work. Sir G. Lloyd has since reported that some mills had again suspended work, though on the 10th February all mills were reported to be working. Subsequently there seems to have been some trouble in connection with the payment of bonus. The presence of cholera is said to be making the workers restless and anxious to return to their villages. During the strike there were sporadic riots, accompanied by shop looting and intimidation, in the first few days of the strike. These were kept within bounds by tactful management of the police and show of military force The Governor reports that though nearly 200,000 strikers were demonstrating in the streets for some days and attempting violence, law and order were preserved at the cost of only severe lives.

Sir J. D. REES

May the House understand that Sir George Lloyd, who succeeded to this situation on his first arriving, dealt with it with no little tact and firmness?


I am sure the House would wish to express their sympathy with the Governor in being confronted with a very difficult situation immediately on taking office and to congratulate him on the steps he took.


Is it not a fact that the military intervened before the riots took place?


No, Sir. So far as I am aware, there was no action by the military until it was absolutely necessary to preserve order. The success which attended their efforts seems to show there was no unnecessary interference.