§ 66. Mr. THURTLE (for Mr. LANSBURY)
asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether his attention has been called to the report of the district Magistrate of Calcutta that on 28th March, during the occasion of disturbances in connection with a labour dispute, the officer in charge of armed forces engaged in restoring peace ordered his men to fire on selected persons in the crowd; that no warning was given before firing and no order was issued that the men should fire low; that the two men alleged to have been shot down as selected persons were not stone throwing but were actually behind those who were attacking the police; and whether, in view of these charges, he will order a full public inquiry into all the circumstances connected with the disturbance, and especially into the charges made by the district Magistrate against the British officer in charge of the soldiers and police?
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for INDIA (Earl Winterton)
The judicial inquiry into a complaint brought against certain Europeans must be distinguished from the Departmental Inquiry which was also conducted by the District Magistrate. In the course of passing judicial orders on the complaint (which he dismissed as un- 1214 founded) the Magistrate is understood to have made certain obiter dicta, but his considered views on the whole circumstances of the case and the conduct of the police officers concerned are contained in the Report on the Departmental Inquiry; an advance copy of this Report has only just reached the local government, and until it has been received and considered it is not possible to form any views as to any action that might be required. No soldiers were employed in putting down the disturbance; the Eastern Frontier Rifles are military police.