§ 24. Mr. Sorensen
asked the Secretary of State for India whether the death sentence 1367 on the four Kayyur peasants has been carried out; whether he gave advice on this matter to His Majesty's Governor-General; and what knowledge he has of representations for clemency made by Indian public men and organisations?
§ Mr. Amery
The death sentences were carried out on 29th March. I have given no advice in the matter to the Governor-General, to whom the exercise of the prerogative of mercy has been expressly delegated by His Majesty. I have received no report of representations made by Indian public men or organisations, but I have no doubt that any such representations were fully considered by the responsible authorities in India.
§ Mr. Sorensen
While one does not in any way condone acts of violence, does the right hon. Gentleman not appreciate that the execution of these four peasants is a moral and political blunder of tragic magnitude? Will he inquire of the Viceroy what representations were made in India, and why clemency was not exercised?
§ Mr. Amery
No, Sir. The matter was primarily one for the courts, and then for the Privy Council, to whom a special right of appeal was transmitted. The appeal was then rejected. When the appeal was rejected the prisoners had the right to appeal to the Governor-General for mercy, and no execution could take place before the Governor-General, in the exercise of the authority expressly delegated to him, considered that mercy should not be extended.
§ Mr. S. O. Davies
Was there any specific evidence tendered against these four men who have been hanged, proving that they themselves had been party to the stoning?