§ 1. Earl WINTERTON
asked the Under-Secretary of State for India what are the actual terms of the charge in the case now being heard at Cawnpore against certain persons accused of sedition; and in what Court the case is being taken?
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for INDIA (Mr. Richards)
The accused persons are charged with conspiring to deprive the King of the sovereignty of British India, an offence punishable under Section 121A of the Indian Penal Code. The trial is being held in the Court of Session at Cawnpore. I would like to make it quite clear that the accused persons are not being prosecuted merely for 1800 holding Communist views or carrying on Communistic propaganda. They are charged with having conspired to secure by violent revolution the complete separation of India from Imperialistic Britain, and in that endeavour they formed and attempted to make use of a Workers' and Peasants' Association in India.
§ Lieut.-Colonel HOWARD-BURY
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the subscription list for the defence of these revolutionaries stands in the name of the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury).
§ Mr. LANSBURY
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that both prisoners and other persons deny that they are guilty of the offence for which they are being tried, and that many prisoners are not judged guilty until a verdict has been recorded against them? Does not the hon. Gentleman think it is a gross abuse of the privileges of this House to interfere in this way before the trial?
§ Colonel Sir CHARLES YATE
Having regard to the subscriptions by the Communist party, is there any evidence to show that this conspiracy has been engineered from this country?
§ Earl WINTERTON
In view of the great importance of this matter, will the hon. Gentleman consider publishing a White Paper, or laying information on the Table, explaining what were the real facts about this very remarkable case?
§ Mr. LANSBURY
Will the hon. Member also ask the Secretary of State to publish the whole of the evidence?