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Civil Disobedience Campaign

Volume 236: debated on Monday 10 March 1930

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3.

asked the Secretary of State for India whether he has any information to show that Government telegraphic offices are being used for the purpose of sending messages recommending a refusal to pay taxes; and what action does the Government of India propose to take in the matter?

6.

asked the Secretary of State for India whether he can give any information as to the letter to the Viceroy of India, signed by Mr. Gandhi, wherein it is stated that the civil disobedience campaign will be launched within eight days unless some considerable concession is made to the Congress demand for complete independence; and what action it is proposed to take in the matter?

7.

asked the Secretary of State for India, what action he is taking to protect India from internal disorder and to counteract the activities of the Indian extremist leaders who are preaching a campaign of open civil disobedience and mob violence?

11.

asked the Secretary of State for India, whether he has any information with regard to the ultimatum that has been sent by Mr. Gandhi to the Viceroy; and what action the Government propose to take in this matter?

12.

asked the Secretary of State for India if his attention has been drawn to the despatch of an ultimatum by Mr. Gandhi to the Viceroy; and whether he has communicated the views of His Majesty's Government on this matter to the Viceroy?

13.

asked the Secretary of State for India whether he has any information as to the commencement of the civil disobedience in India; and whether a meeting has taken place or is proposed between the Viceroy and Mr. Gandhi?

14.

asked the Secretary of State for India whether he has any information respecting the position in India with regard to Mahatma Gandhi's civil disobedience campaign?

The fullest account I have seen of Mr. Gandhi's recent letter and of the Viceroy's reply to it is that published in the Press. As to the other matters, the Viceroy made a considered statement of the policy of His Majesty's Government on 25th January; and I do not think I need add anything to it.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that next Wednesday steps are to be taken to commence this civil disobedience, and will the Secretary of State not take some steps to prevent it before it leads to bloodshed?

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the effect of a policy of repression even on moderate opinion in India, and is he prepared, even at this hour, to take further steps to secure a settlement of this problem by agreement?

As my hon. Friend is aware, we are anxious, by means of a conference, to get this question settled. As regards the other part of the supplementary question, no one is more conscious than I am of the need for a spirit of understanding.

Would the right hon. Gentleman suggest to the Viceroy that, when he is writing again to Mr. Gandhi, who, whatever his merits or demerits may be, is endeavouring to stir up rebellion, the Viceroy should instruct his secretary not to sign his letter "yours very truly"?

I should like to say that I consider the suggestion made by the hon. and gallant Gentleman is impertinent.

Does the Secretary of State not consider that the mere fact of answering these agitators has let down British prestige in India?