HC Deb 03 February 1930 vol 234 cc1469-70
7. Colonel HOWARD-BURY

asked the Secretary of State for India whether his attention has been drawn to the demonstration of Sikhs, all ex-soldiers, well disciplined, at Lahore; whether he can state what were their grievances; and whether these are being remedied?


I am circulating a statement of the facts. The hon. and gallant Member may rest assured that the Government of India are giving sympathetic consideration to all real grievances brought to notice through the recognised channels which are widely known and freely used.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say if this demonstration was due to increased assessments; and will he take steps to see that these grievances are remedied?


If the hon. and gallant Member will read the full statement which, in order to save time, I am circulating, I think he will find that those questions are answered.

Following is the statement:

Three demonstrations of Sikh ex-soldiers of which that at the end of December last was the most recent have taken place at Lahore since December, 1928. The grievances brought forward related to the alleged inadequacy of pensions and the difficulty of obtaining grants of land. There has, so far as I am aware, been no complaint that the recognised means of bringing grievances of this nature to notice are inadequate. Soldiers' Hoards have been set up for some years past in various districts to collect, investigate and pass on to Government all grievances represented by ex-soldiers. The members of the demonstrations acted against the advice not only of Government officials but also of pensioned Indian officers of the Soldiers' Boards, and disobeyed police instructions with the result that on two occasions the leaders were arrested. The Government has made it clear that it is not prepared to receive mass representations on these matters, while on the other hand it is continuing to assist hard cases if represented through the proper channels. During the past year careful and sympathetic investigation has been made of every case brought to the notice of the Government, and many hard cases which did not come within existing Regulations have been met with pecuniary assistance.