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Assault By Natal Planter On A Coolie

Volume 178: debated on Wednesday 24 July 1907

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I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been drawn to the recent case of assault upon one Sukhaie, an indentured coolie, by his master, a Natal planter, named John Leask, junior; whether he has read the evidence led at the trial to the effect that the coolie was brutally flogged by his master with a reim, or raw-hide thong, for not obeying his order; that the said coolie was at the time weak and ill with dysentery; that, after his flogging, he was in gaol for seven days on a charge of desertion; that he shortly after died, his death, according to medical evidence, being possibly accelerated by the blows he received; whether he is aware that, although convicted, the punishment of the said John Leask, junior, was a fine of £10;and whether His Majesty's Government will consider the advisability of approaching the self-governing Colonies with a view to abolishing indentured labour.

My attention has been drawn to a newspaper report of the case in question, and the Secretary of State will communicate with the Colonial Government and with the Secretary of State for India on the subject. The last part of the hon. Member's Question raises an issue too wide to be conveniently discussed in an Answer to a Question.