Oral Answers to Questions — India (Sikar Estate).

– in the House of Commons on 7th August 1925.

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Photo of Mr Frederick Pethick-Lawrence Mr Frederick Pethick-Lawrence , Leicester West

14.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether he can now state what is the annual revenue of the sub-State of Sikar; how much of this revenue is secured from the land; and what is the amount of money spent annually on public education and public health?

Photo of Viscount  Turnour Viscount Turnour , Horsham and Worthing

It is reported that the average annual receipts of this estate amount to Rs.5½ lakhs, of which land revenue contributes Rs.4 lakhs. The average amounts spent annually on public health and education are stated to be Rs. 20,000 and Rs. 15,000 respectively.

Photo of Mr Frederick Pethick-Lawrence Mr Frederick Pethick-Lawrence , Leicester West

Does not the right hon. and gallant Gentleman consider that the proportion is very small?

Photo of Viscount  Turnour Viscount Turnour , Horsham and Worthing

; I should be glad to answer that question, but it would be unconstitutional for me to do so. The Government of India have no responsibility whatever for the administration of this estate, which is in Indian States territory.

Photo of Mr Frederick Pethick-Lawrence Mr Frederick Pethick-Lawrence , Leicester West

15.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether he is aware that there has recently been an increase of 25 per cent, in the land tax levied on the peasants in the sub-State of Sikar, and that a number of them who expressed their unwillingness or inability to pay this increased amount were arrested and punished, and what was the nature of the punishment inflicted upon them?

Photo of Viscount  Turnour Viscount Turnour , Horsham and Worthing

I am informed that the actual amount levied in land tax depends upon the nature of the season, but that there has been no change in the method of assessment, and no occasion for arrest or punishment on account of unwillingness or inability to pay. A recent special inquiry showed that the cultivators were in favour of the continuance of the existing method of assessment.

Photo of Mr Frederick Pethick-Lawrence Mr Frederick Pethick-Lawrence , Leicester West

16.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether he is aware that 18 peasants in the sub-State of Sikar, who had assembled on 5th March for the purpose of proceeding to Jaipur to lay their grievances before the authorities, were arrested without warrant; whether and, if so, how soon any charge was preferred against them in a Court of Law; whether he is aware that two of their leaders were flogged; and whether he has made inquiries into the whole circumstances, and has any statement been made on the matter?

Photo of Viscount  Turnour Viscount Turnour , Horsham and Worthing

The only foundation for the statements quoted in the question appears to be that a number of peasants who had been incited by an agitator from outside to defy the authorities, were sent to Sikar as a precautionary measure, but were allowed to return to their homes on giving assurances of good behaviour. I am assured that no one was flogged. The hon. Member is, of course, aware that the Sikar estate is not British territory.