HC Deb 21 January 1943 vol 386 cc279-80
32. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Secretary of State for India whether he is aware that all sections of the Indian Press have expressed their resentment against existing restrictions imposed upon their publication of news and suspended the appearance of their journals for one day in order to register their indignation; and whether steps will immediately be taken to withdraw restrictions incompatible with our accepted principles of Press freedom?

Mr. Amery

I am aware that a section of the Indian Press, consisting of the majority of the Hindu nationalist Press, refrained from publication on 6th January in protest against an order prohibiting publication of messages relating to the fast of Professor Bhansali, who was agitating for an inquiry into excesses alleged to have been committed by troops and police at Chimur last August. Professor Bhansali has since abandoned his fast and withdrawn his demand for an inquiry. The Press restrictions have in consequence been modified, and the Press on their part have withdrawn their threat of reprisals. The authorities, who were fully satisfied of the baselessness of the allegations against Government servants at Chimur, were obliged to impose the Press restrictions in order to prevent the possibility of a misconceived but dangerous mass agitation, and I see no reason to question their action.

Mr. Sorensen

Is it not a fact that the majority of newspapers in India, including the non-Congress newspapers, issued very strong protests against this restriction on their liberties?

Mr. Amery

Yes, Sir.

Forward to