Congress Internees

Oral Answers to Questions — India – in the House of Commons on 8th October 1942.

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Miss Rathbone:

asked the Secretary of State for India whether Mr. Gandhi, Pandit Nehru and the other members of the Congress Working Committee are allowed newspapers; whether they have been confronted with the facts recently reported to the Assembly by the law member of the Government of India, Sir Sultan Ahmed, as to widespread outbursts of sabotage, mob violence, arson and murder, in some cases under the leadership of men carrying the Congress flag; and whether they have been given an opportunity of denouncing all such outrages and of repudiating those who perpetrated them?

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery , Birmingham Sparkbrook

Newspapers are allowed to Mr. Gandhi and I believe to the members of the Congress Working Committee. They are not at present permitted to communicate with the outside world, except on family matters with their families, but I have no doubt that they could at any time have conveyed to the authorities their views upon the deplorable events for which they must bear the responsibility.

Miss Rathbone:

Will my right hon. Friend consider whether it would not be worth while to give these men an opportunity, directly to invite them, to denounce these dangerous acts, so that if they did denounce them it might prevent similar acts in future being done under the belief that they were done in response to Congress instructions? If they did not respond, then that would expose their complete recklessness and irresponsibility.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery , Birmingham Sparkbrook

I think that point has been covered by my answer.

Photo of Mr William Thorne Mr William Thorne , West Ham Plaistow

Can my right hon. Friend say whether Gandhi is still in prison, and, if so, is he providing his own food?

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery , Birmingham Sparkbrook

Gandhi is not in prison, and he enjoys such food as he chooses to have. Whether he actually provides it I do not know.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

Would it not be desirable to give Mr. Gandhi an opportunity of denouncing these proceedings?