HC Deb 19 March 1923 vol 161 cc2054-5
4. Sir C. YATE

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether his attention has been called to the fact that the Punjab Government have decided to reduce the police budget by three lakhs of rupees, involving the immediate disbandment of the armed police reserve, despite the warning of the Inspector-General of Police; that the Punjab council have de manded the unconditional release of all prisoners, numbering some thousands, sentenced in connection with the Sikh Akali agitation and have refused to accept the Government proviso that the release should be conditional on the prisoners undertaking not to repeat the offences for which they had been sentenced; and that the Government was defeated; and whether the Government of India have stated that they consider the disbandment of the armed police reserve a safe policy to pursue in view of the threatened warfare and bloodshed which the Punjab Government desired to prevent?


Yes, Sir. My Noble Friend quite realises the importance of these matters, and has inquired of the Government of India. They report that the reduction of 3 lakhs in the Punjab Police budget will involve the disbandment of 606 out of 20,000 men, the men disbanded being constables who had been temporarily engaged for the district reserve. The Governor in Council decided that he was justified, in view of the political and financial conditions in the Province, in taking this risk, and the Government of India express agreement. The decision of the Punjab Government as to the release of prisoners has not yet been announced, but my Noble Friend has been in consultation with the Government of India on the subject, and no decision in this matter will be taken without his knowledge.