MR. HERBERT ROBERTS
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether his attention has been called to the trial by the Bombay High Court, and subsequent acquittal, of a soldier named Piper, charged with causing the murder by shooting of a Native villager near Poona; whether he is aware that similar cases are very frequent in other-parts of India in consequence of the practice of allowing soldiers to wander about the country carrying firearms in search of sport in ignorance of the customs and prejudices of the villagers; and whether, in view of the dangerous quarrels frequently resulting from this practice, and in view of the general state of unrest of the country, he will consider the desirability of issuing an order that no soldier shall be permitted to carry firearms or ammunition in places where he is out of control of his officers?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR INDIA
I have seen a newspaper report of the case mentioned by the hon. Member, and much regret the incident to which it related; but I would remind him that, according to that report, Gunner Piper had no right to be out shooting, as he is said to have had no pass. Passes to go out shooting are only given to men of good character, and under very stringent regulations, and I am not disposed to prohibit this practice.