OCCASIONAL NOTE

Up to the date at which the mail papers left London no reply apparently had been received to the inquiry which Mr. Montagu promised, at the instance of Mr. Joynson Hicks, to address to the Government of India with reference to the journey of a battalion of the Bedford Regiment from Calcutta to Lucknow. Mr. Joynson Hicks alleged by implication that the battalion travelled in a train without ice and in a temperature of 115 degrees in the shade, that 100 of the men had to go to hospital suffering from heat stroke, and that some died. It is difficult to believe that, if the casualties were so serious as Mr. Joynson Hicks suggests, the Indian Government would have invited a repetition of the Karachi troop train scandal by deliberately withholding the facts from public knowledge. At the same time, the statement issued by the military authorities in Calcutta, while contradicting the allegation that no ice was provided, leaves the more serious charge unanswered. It is evident that the transport officials in Calcutta carried out to the letter the instructions of Army Headquarters. It remains for Army Headquarters to state how many square feet of room per passenger were provided by its regulations for the journey, whether it considers the provision of “fans, hand, one per man,” with injunctions to weary troops to keep them wagging continuously for forty-eight hours or more in a temperature of over one hundred degrees, an efficient substitute for punkahs, and if not, why no punkahs were provided.

PUNJAB SENTENCES

The Martial Law Commissions appointed in connection with the recent disturbances in the Punjab, dealt with 114 cases in all and the number of persons tried by them was 852. Many were convicted for waging war against the King, an offence for which a court cannot, under Sec. 121 of the Indian Penal Code, pass a sentence less severe than one of transportation for life and forfeiture of property. Rapid restoration of security has rendered possible an early exercise of the powers of clemency vested in the Government with regard to cases dealt with by the Commissions. Sentences imposed by the Commissions have accordingly been considered by the Lieutenant Governor, and reductions, some of which have already been announced, have been ordered in a large number of cases.

COCAINE RAID AT THE DOCKS

The Kidderpore Dock Police made a smart capture of cocaine early on Monday morning, and arrested three Chinamen. The constable on duty at the south end of the docks noticed three Chinamen moving about in a suspicious manner about 4-30 A.M. in the vicinity of a Japanese steamer. He called for assistance and the three Chinamen were arrested. Before they were caught they were seen to throw something into the docks, while three phials of cocaine and a packet containing about half a pound of cocaine were recovered from them. On Tuesday Inspector Jackson had the docks dragged and another three phials of cocaine were found.