§ 31. Mr. Sorensen
asked the Secretary of State for India what information he can give the House respecting the trial and sentence of imprisonment imposed on Mr. Jaharwal Nehru?
§ The Secretary of State for India (Mr. Amery)
Mr. Nehru was prosecuted under the Defence of India Rules. He was charged, as I understand, with the delivery of speeches during the early part of October of a character likely to prejudice recruitment, to stir up disaffection and feelings of enmity between different classes of His Majesty's subjects and to influence the public in a manner likely to be prejudicial to the efficient prosecution of the war. I have not yet received a full report, but I have seen Press messages to the effect that he was found guilty and sentenced to four years' imprisonment in the aggregate.
§ Mr. Sorensen
Does not my right hon. Friend appreciate that not only is this sentence harsh and extreme, and will be interpreted as such, but further that it has very grave political and social repercussions, in India, in this country and in America? In consideration of its most 1444 serious nature, will he arrange for a Debate at the earliest opportunity?
§ Mr. Shinwell
Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether, in view of the probable effect of the sentence on Mr. Nehru, he will reconsider the whole matter, and whether he does not think that this sentence, in view of what has happened in India, is not likely to make any beneficial contribution to the war effort?
§ Mr. Sorensen
Cannot we discuss this matter in any way? I submit that Mr. Nehru is an individual of prominence in India.
§ Mr. Gallacher
In view of the very great seriousness of this matter, is it not possible to press for a discussion on it on the Adjournment?