HC Deb 13 July 1931 vol 255 cc6-7
4. Mr. REMER

asked the Secretary of State for India if he can make any statement as to the recent activities of the Red' Shirt Army in the North-West Province and the Punjab?


The persons known as Red Shirt volunteers were originally small groups of young men who undertook the duties of messengers, and so forth, for the various local committees of the Youth League in the North-West Frontier Province. Service in this association of volunteers, who adopted distinctively coloured clothing, proved very popular and the membership of it rapidly outnumbered that of the League to which it was intended to be subsidiary. The wearing of distinctive clothing became increasingly attractive and great numbers of persons, who were in no sense regular members of the volunteer association, took to wearing red shirts. The result is that the movement is now practically devoid of organisation, and there is a considerable amount of dissension among the various groups which have greater or less connection with the original Youth League. At the present time practically anybody who has any grievance against Government or anyone else dons a red shirt as the badge of discontent. Probably no more than one-third of the persons in the North-West Frontier Province now habitually wearing the Red Shirt uniform are members of the volunteer organisation associated with the Youth League of Abdul Ghaffar Khan. I do not deny the existence of dangerous possibilities in such a movement, but they are hardly those which might be inferred from the phrase "activities of the Red Shirt Army" used by the hon. Member.


Has the Secretary of State received any representations from the loyal population of these two provinces resenting the inactivity of the Government in this matter?


Representations, if there are any such, would be made to the local Governments.


Is it not the fact that the people of the North-West Provinces are among the most loyal people in the Empire?


They are some of the most excellent citizens.


Is it not the duty of the Secretary of State to protect these loyal citizens from the activities of this organisation?


Has any reprimand been given to the officers of the troops for their treatment of this organisation?


I am not aware of any.


Do the red shirts come from Lancashire?