§ 1. Mr. HACKING
asked the Secretary of State for India whether he has anything to report to the House in connection with the recent rioting in India?
§ 3. Lieut.-Colonel HENEAGE
asked the Secretary of State for India if he has any fresh statement to make on the conditions in India?
§ 18. Mr. SHAKESPEARE
asked the Secretary of State for India whether His Majesty's Government has been in communication with the Government of India as to the arrest of Gandhi?
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for INDIA (Mr. Wedgwood Benn)
As has been reported in the Press, Mr. Gandhi was arrested this morning and is detained under the Bombay State Prisoners' Regulation of 1827. In supplement to my reply of 29th April, I may say I have no official reports of fresh serious disturbances, but I have received an account of the riot in Madras on 27th April and also of an unsuccessful hartal attempted in Calcutta on the 1st May. As regards Peshawar, where conditions have been difficult since the riots on 23rd April, my information is that the authorities are in complete control of the situation. The Peshawar District has been declared a proclaimed area under the Seditious Meetings Act.
Lieut.-Colonel Sir FREDERICK HALL
Can the right hon. Gentleman reply to the last part of question No. 18 or is he not in a position to do so?
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
Under what conditions is Mr. Gandhi being kept in gaol, whether as a first-class misdemeanant or an ordinary prisoner?
§ Mr. BROCKWAY
In view of the serious position in India, will the right hon. Gentleman make a supreme effort to reach a settlement?
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
Is my right hon. Friend in a position yet to make a statement as to the cause of the trouble in Peshawar?
Will the right hon. Gentleman obtain, as soon as possible, an account of what actually occurred at Peshawar in view of the fact that up to now the accounts which have appeared in the Press have been rather partial, and certain rumours have appeared which it is very desirable should be contradicted. Will the right hon. Gentleman see that by means of a written answer to a question or by some other means an account is published?
§ 6. Mr. THURTLE
asked the Secretary of State for India the reason for the arrest of the 11 local congress leaders at Peshawar; and whether arrests of congress leaders are taking place only on the ground of alleged breaches of the law or whether leadership in the congress party, either national or local, is being regarded as sufficient ground for arrest?
§ Mr. BENN
I am informed that these arrests were made for breaches of the ordinary law, and so far as I know all recent arrests, except those made for precautionary reasons in Bengal under the Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance, fall within this description. There is, therefore, I believe, no foundation for the suggestion made at the end of my hon. Friend's question.
19. Sir F. HALL
asked the Secretary of State for India the cause of the Native rioting at Peshawar on 23rd April, when the mob poured burning paraffin over two armoured cars and set them alight, two of the occupants being burned to death; whether any arrests have been made in connection with this outrage; and the number of soldiers, police, and British civilians who have been killed or seriously injured by rioters up to the present time?
Will the right hon. Gentleman consider, as soon as practicable, publishing a full and precise account, in view of the fact that it is very difficult to get anything but partial accounts from the newspapers, and that it is very desirable that this House and the public should be in full possession of what exactly did occur?
§ Mr. BROCKWAY
Has the right hon. Gentleman's attention been drawn to the report in the Press that armoured cars were driven over Indians lying in the streets, and cannot some statement be made regarding the facts of the case?
Sir F. HALL
Is not the statement in the first part of this question, with regard to burning paraffin being poured over two armoured cars, and two of the occupants being burned to death as a result, absolutely true beyond question?