HC Deb 03 May 1926 vol 195 cc2-3
3. Sir HARRY

BRITTAIN asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether he has any further information to give to the House with regard to the disturbances in Calcutta; what has been the number of casualties; and whether there have been any disturbances outside the limits of the city?


My Noble Friend has received information up to yesterday mid-day. Since the recurrence of trouble on the 22nd there have been 63 deaths and 391 cases of injury; and there have been reports of anxiety outside Calcutta, but only one case of any actual conflict. Beginning with the 27th April, there have been a definite improvement of the situation and indications of the resumption of business and growth of confidence. The forces available for the prevention of disorder are reported to be adequate, but the desire for reprisals has encouraged isolated assaults, which have been committed mainly by bad characters. Effective action has been taken against these, and seven newspapers which were inciting to communal hatred have been prosecuted. The telegram of the 1st May contains the following passage: Conditions are now rapidly returning to normal. Shops in part of the affected area still remain closed, due often to absence of proprietors who left Calcutta during riots; but markets are open, prices of foodstuffs have improved, traffic is better and carters are returning to work. Dock coolies are working. Both the Government of Bengal and the Government of India are fully alive to the necessity for vigilance and effective action, and will take any further powers which consideration may prove to he necessary.


Who were the instigators of these disturbances?


My hon. Friend will, perhaps, give notice of that question.

8. Colonel APPLIN

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India the cause for the riots in Calcutta which are lowering British prestige; and whether he can give an assurance that the old policy of not permitting religious violence to take place within British India will he restored?


The official reports so far received mention no other cause for these riots than the existence of aggravated ill-feeling between Hindus and Moslems. There never has been any policy as regards riots of any kind in the mind of the authorities in India, except that of preventing and suppressing them.