§ 1. Mr. MAXTON
asked the Secretary of State for India whether he is aware that Mr. Sibnath Banerjee, secretary of the All India Trade Union Congress, has been arrested and his meetings declared unlawful on more than one occasion; and whether he will take the necessary steps to ensure that there is no further interference of this kind with legitimate trade union organising in India?
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for INDIA (Mr. Butler)
I have no information as to the first part of the question except that I am aware that orders have from time to time been issued prohibiting meetings in furtherance of the aims of the communist organisations in Bengal recently declared unlawful, with one of which Mr. Sibnath Banerjee was closely connected. I am unable to accept the suggestion that there has been any interference in India with legitimate trades union activity.
§ Mr. MAXTON
Would the fact that this man had Communist associations prevent him from doing ordinary trade union work in the eyes of the law in India?
§ Mr. BUTLER
No, if those activities are restricted to legitimate trade union activities. Yes, if they are directed to furthering Communism.
§ Mr. MORGAN JONES
Are we to understand that even the advocacy of Communist theories is illegal in India?
§ Mr. BUTLER
The fact that Mr. Sibnath Banerjee was connected with an organisation which has been declared unlawful because of Communist activities no doubt accounts for his arrest.