§ 4. Sir REGINALD CRADDOCK
asked the Secretary of State for India if he will give the House information as to the recent occurrence in the Agra district when the police had to resort to firing in order to rescue a woman who would otherwise have been forced to submit to suttee?
§ Sir S. HOARE
As the answer is unavoidably rather long, I will, with my hon. Friend's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
§ Following is the answer:
§ On 29th August the police received information that an attempt might be made to perform sati in the village of Nagar in the Agra district. Early next morning a crowd began to collect, but the widow announced that she would not do sati. After being allowed to pass through the courtyard of the widow's house in order to see her, the crowd then gradually dispersed. Later in the afternoon, however, it once more collected to the number of 5,000 or 6,000, and planted itself down all round the house and in the courtyard in the hope of persuading the widow to perform sati. It was left alone for a time, but eventually the widow and her relatives objected, and the police ejected the people from the courtyard. The crowd then started to throw stones and an attempt was made to set fire to the thatched roof of the house. The situation soon became so serious that the police were forced to open fire. As this was ineffective horn inside the courtyard, the station officer took his men outside and opened fire again. On re-entering the courtyard he found that in his absence the widow had been removed from the house by the crowd and taken off to the burning ghat. He immediately proceeded there with his party of police and was again attacked with stones. Firing was once more opened and the widow rescued and taken 4 to the police station. Four deaths were caused by the firing and seven persons were wounded. Sixteen policemen were slightly injured by stones.
§ 5. Sir R. CRADDOCK
asked the Secretary of State for India if he will give any information as to the circumstances which led to the killing of 26 Muslims by armed Sikhs in the village of Badhlada, in the Hissar district of the Punjab?
§ Sir S. HOARE
I understand that the origin of the trouble was the theft of a cow belonging to Sikh Jats some time previously by a Moslem Rajput youth who is alleged to have handed it over to a Moslem butcher for slaughter. The matter was reported to the police and arrests followed. At a meeting on the 8th October of Sikhs and Hindus at Budhlada village, when a resolution was framed pressing for the punishment of the offender, the sub-inspector of police assured those present that legal action was being taken, and nothing occurred to cause any apprehension of an outbreak of violence. On the 11th October, however, three Sikh Jats appeared at dusk in the village of Budhlada and shot everybody they met., killing six persons including one woman, and wounding 10, of whom one subsequently died. They then proceeded to the village of Talwandi where they shot eight persons and wounded some more. The matter is in the hands of the police but I am not aware whether any arrest has yet been made.