§ 6. Mr. WARDLAW-MILNE
asked the Secretary of State for India whether he will give the House the latest information he has as to the conditions in India?
§ Mr. BENN
I am circulating a statement of the Government of India's appreciation of the situation up to 19th July:
Appreciation of the situation by the Government of India up to 19th July, 1930.
North-West Frontier Province.—(A) Tribal.—In South Waziristan, successful action of Royal Air Force has afforded yet another proof of its efficacy as weapon against hostile tribes. Determined action of Scouts and Khassadars, combined with continuous co-operation of Royal Air Force both in reconnaisance work and direct action against hostiles, has rendered situation Waziristan very much easier. Complete jirga of section most deeply implicated, 1718 namely, Shabi Khel, has come into Razmak and given security for good behaviour pending decision of terms of settlement. Nazir Khel, another section deeply implicated, have asked for, and been given, three days' grace in which to collect jirga with a view to settlement. Considerable portion of Badinzai section and some other minor sub-sections still remain hostile. Mulla Gulin quiet, and his section has given security for his good behaviour, but Mulla Kundalai, with Raxzan and other hostiles, remain active, and are trying to stir up trouble among Kabul Khel and other Wazirs. Air action being maintained against hostiles wherever opportunity offers. Jallal Khel Khassadars have returned to duty. Situation in the vicinity of Sararegha and Sarwekai again normal, and Khassadar system between Jandola and Sararogha fully restored.
On the Northern Border, Peshawar District, air action was continued against Utman Khel lashkar which had again collected at instigation of Alingar Fakir and had crossed south of Swat river in area Totai. Action so effective that lashkar very soon retired again north of river. On 13th July, Political Agent, Khyber, saw jirga, of Afridi Maliks and elders with few young bloods. Their attitude was formally correct, but they announced various grievances, some dating back to Foulkes case in 1921, and declared that they would not resume friendly relations until these have been redressed. So called Khilafat volunteers among Afridis increasing in numbers, and now said to number about 1,600. Movement spreading to Orakzais and to Massozai, and Chamkannis of Kurram Agency.
(B) Internal.—Reports from Charsadda area indicate steady improvement in attitude of villages. Latest instance is petition from turbulent village of Hari Chand affirming loyalty and anxiety to stop anti-Government agitation. Early hours 15th July morning unsuccessful attempt made to blow up with guncotton two old howitzers which ornament Mackeson Gardens, Peshawar cantonment. Recrudescence of picketing cloth and liquor shops in Bannu city, but picketers in each case removed by police. Generally speaking, situation in Province has continued to improve ever since widely representative deputation 1719 met Chief Commissioner at Peshawar on 3rd July, assured him of their belief in constitutional methods, and received his reply indicating sympathetic policy of Government.
2. Increasing evidence being received of inevitable effect of civil disobedience movement in encouraging spirit of lawlessness in directions not directly concerned with movement. Most striking example is outbreak of disorders on considerable scale in part of Mymensingh district of Bengal, where respect for law and order seriously affected by Congress activities. Disturbances taken form of attacks on money lenders by debtors, and number of villages involved. 10 or 12 persons murdered, and considerable looting property taken place. Situation now under control, but authorities have had to carry out operations over considerable area and it has been necessary for police to fire on several occasions. Information at present available indicates that trouble is economic rather than communal. Several Provinces report increase in violent crime due to disturbed conditions, and further dacoities have occurred. In Gujerat, outbreaks violence directly connected with civil disobedience movement continue to be reported. At Madura, in Madras Presidency, picketing liquor shops was rapidly followed by violent attack on police by large crowd. Crowd dispersed by firing, but subsequently attacked police station and had again to be dispersed. Firing also necessary in Etah District in United Provinces, where mob used violence to interfere with meeting held in support Government.
3. General position continues to show fluctuations in different Provinces. Students have been active in various towns, and there has been much interference with normal work of educational institutions. Children being used to an increasing extent many places and in Gujerat, in particular, are being employed in organised bands. All districts of Gujerat, however, report an improvement in situation, and some local officers consider that movement is definitely on decline. In one or two Provinces, propaganda in villages is increasing, and although so far it has had negligible effect on payment of land revenue and other dues, a certain measure of success 1720 been attained in some districts in attracting support for Congress. District reports from Punjab are almost unanimous in view that situation is definitely more encouraging than at any time since Civil Disobedience Campaign developed, and they indicate strong reaction against Congress activities. On other hand, there have been signs during last few days that extremist Akalis may give certain amount of trouble. In Central Provinces, breach of forest laws mentioned in last week's appreciation would appear to be halfhearted.
4. Central Legislature completed its Session during week. While there was inevitably criticism of measures Government have been compelled to take, there was general recognition of harm civil disobedience movement is doing to country in all directions, and desire was freely expressed that movement should be brought to an end. Belief steadily gaining ground that solution of India's difficulties is to be sought along lines indicated in Viceroy's speech of 9th July of attempting to reach agreed conclusions at Round-Table Conference, principle of which was supported by Legislative Assembly after full debate, without division. Viceroy's speech created marked effect, and moderate opinion is expressing itself more strongly in favour of abandonment of unconstitutional methods.