Royal Air Force strikes in India-UK Parliament Debate-5/11/1946
5th June 1946
asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air if he is aware that arrests are continuing to be made arising out of incidents in the R.A.F. in India last January; that such arrests are following upon intimidation by Service police; that they are based upon charges that the persons so arrested were appointed by their fellows to speak on their behalf; that this is contrary to the undertakings that were given at the time of the R.A.F. strikes; and will he take steps to stop this intimidation, and to release the men.
The investigations arising from the disaffection in the Royal Air Force in India in January ceased early last month when the last arrests were made. No further arrests arising from these matters have been or will be made.
Does not the hon. Gentleman consider it essential that some kind of committee of inquiry should be set up to investigate all that has been going on in connection with these events in India, in view of the very bitter feeling that exists about the treatment of these men?
I would refer the hon. Member to a statement made by my predecessor in his reply to the hon. Member for Maldon (Mr. Driberg) on 15th May, which went into a number of complaints that have been made.
Is not the hon. Gentleman aware that there were conversations with his predecessor, who was taking a very keen interest in this matter? Will the hon. Gentleman make a special investigation?
asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air how many R.A.F. personnel have had their date of embarkation for return to the United Kingdom delayed by investigations arising out of the R.A.F. strikes; how many R.A.F. personnel have been detained for inquiries connected therewith; how many charged with any offence; how many brought to trial; how many acquitted; and what sentences have been passed on any found guilty.
So far as the Royal Air Force in India is concerned, the investigations arising out of the disaffection at the beginning of this year delayed the return to the United Kingdom of fourteen airmen. Five airmen (including three who are not due for release or repatriation), were charged and placed under arrest; three of the five have been brought to trial and the trials of the other two are pending. One of the three airmen who have been tried has been sentenced to 90 days’ detention, but the proceedings in the two other cases have not yet been confirmed. We are waiting for a signal to see whether any other members of the R.A.F. have been affected by these proceedings in Malaya. With the hon. Member’s permission, I will circulate a statement in HANSARD, When all our information is complete.
What is the position of the other nine men to whom the hon. Gentleman referred? Are they still under detention?
They are not under detention. There was no prima facie case.
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