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Volume 245: debated on Monday 24 November 1930

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asked the Secretary of State for India what has been the result of the discussion in jirga with the Afridis; and whether he proposes to take any further measures for the protection of the frontier in. consequence?

The jirga did not succeed in finding any acceptable alternative to the protective measures decided on by Government which are already being taken and were described in the communique published on lath October.

Are the Government of India in favour of the policy of masterly inactivity which he is maintaining?

Is the right hon. Gentleman not apprehensive that these half-hearted measures will cause grave disaster?


asked the Secretary of State for India if he can make any statement as to the present situation in India?

I am circulating a statement giving the Government of India's appreciation of the situation to date.

Following is the statement:

Appreciation of the situation by the Government of India up to 22nd November, 1930.

Reports from Provinces for the first half of November show that the tendencies noticeable during the past two months still continue.

Madras continues to be quiet, and the release of prisoners has so far had no effect on the situation. In fact, very few have attempted to resume their activities.

In Bihar and Orissa improvement continues, and is reflected in the comparatively small number of convictions. There were, however, several cases of violence during the fortnight. Picketing has decreased in intensity, and persons arrested in connection with the civil disobedience movement are showing less obduracy.

The Bengal Government has little to report. The general improvement has now extended to the few districts in which conditions gave some cause for anxiety, and in Midnapore, which for some time has been a source of trouble, a sign of improving conditions is the return to duty of numerous village watchmen who had resigned.

In the United Provinces agitation in the towns is on the decline, and, except for occasional demonstrations, there is little activity, but efforts are being made by Congress emissaries to influence the rural areas, and advantage is being taken of the low prices of agricultural produce to incite tenants not to pay their rents. In this Province the number of persons released, on undertakings not to resume their activities, is more than 20 per cent. of the total number of convictions.

In Assam there has been definite improvement, and picketing appears to have practically stopped for the time being.

Delhi also reports that picketing is now less organised and effective than it was, the number of Congress meetings has declined, and this is true of most Provinces.

The fortnightly reports of most Provinces mention, as a result of the lapse of Press Ordinance, the revival, in certain sections of the Press, of organised encouragement of the civil disobedience movement and persistent misrepresentations and abuse of Government.

In Bombay, the past week has been comparatively free of incident.

Bombay City has been quiet, and in Gujarat the situation gives less cause for anxiety and the movement is less widespread, but, while there has been a general decline in active enthusiasm, this has been replaced in some areas by an attitude of passive resistance in which depression has replaced hope of success. The methods employed, are, with occasional exceptions, non-violent, but thoroughly obstructive. Disgraceful scenes of rowdyism are reported from Karachi but details are lacking.

The celebration of Jawahar Day was held in many parts of the country. The demonstrations were on a comparatively small scale.

Developments at the Round Table Conference are being watched with the keenest interest by newspapers of all persuasions, the publication of the Government of India's Despatch being followed by a more intensive discussion of the proposals lying before the Conference than has hitherto occurred. Indian Press opinion is dissatisfied with the Government of India's proposals. Some Liberal newspapers consider that the Despatch is an advance upon the Simon Report, especially in its appreciation of political tendencies and nationalist aspirations, but they regard the advance proposed as inadequate, and the general tendency is to criticise the proposals relating to the centre and to safeguards. The attempts now proceeding in London to reach a settlement on communal issues are naturally followed with close interest. The developments in regard to federation have so far attracted less attention than might have been expected, but they have already stimulated constructive thought and will it is hoped divert attention to an increasing degree from purely destructive criticism. Generally, there are indications of wider appreciation of the importance of the Conference and of increasing hopefulness of a successful issue.