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India (Excluded Areas)

Volume 436: debated on Tuesday 15 April 1947

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asked the Under-Secretary of State for India if he is aware of the anxiety felt among the Christians of Lushai lest they be subject to persecution by neighbouring tribes after the withdrawal of British power; and if he will take all possible steps to ensure the safety of the Lushai within an independent India.

I have seen the representation to which I assume my hon. Friend refers. The Lushai Hills District of Assam is at present an excluded area under Sections 91–2 of the Government of India Act, 1935. Provision for the future of such areas was made by the Cabinet Mission in paragraph 20 of their Statement of 16th May (Cmd. 6821). This paragraph recommended that the Advisory Committee of the Constituent Assembly, which should contain due representation of the interests affected, should inter alia prepare a scheme for the administration of the excluded areas for submission to the Union Constituent Assembly. The Advisory Committee has now been appointed and has entrusted this task to a sub-committee. I understand that the sub-committee is visiting the Lushai Hills during the current month This procedure is in accordance with the policy of leaving to Indians themselves the responsibility for settling the constitution for all parts of India.