The severity of the distress caused by high prices in Bihar and Orissa, as in other provinces, is attested by the meeting held at Bankipur to inaugurate a famine relief fund. Sir Edward Gait, in his address, showed how the emergency has arisen from the deficient harvest following upon the sudden cessation of the last monsoon before the middle of September. Wartime conditions also have left their aftermath and contributed to the increased prices. It is satisfactory to gather from Sir Edward Gait’s statement that the Government are ahead of immediate requirements so far as regards the provision of special employment; but the fact that seven thousand indigent and infirm persons are in receipt of gratuitous relief from Government is enough to illustrate the urgency of the needs which have to be met. There is, as Sir Edward Gait pointed out, great scope for private charity in providing money for objects on which public funds cannot legitimately be expended – especially for the assistance of poor persons who will endure great privations rather than appeal for official relief – and the famine relief fund inaugurated by the Lieutenant-Governor will fulfill this supplementary but very urgent work. In the annual report just issued, on the administration of Bihar and Orissa for the year 1917-18, it is pointed out that it was not until their fourth year that war conditions began to have a really serious effect on the everyday life of the general population of the province. A good harvest helped to save the poor from actual distress.
DROVE OFF WITH LADY PASSENGER
A taxi-cab case of a type which is fortunately rare, but which has not been quite unknown hitherto came before Mr. R.E. Winkfield, Honorary Magistrate at Bankshall Street, when Nund Bahadur Singh, the driver of taxi was prosecuted for using threatening and abusive language towards Mrs. E.B. Ezra, of Grant’s Lane. The evidence went to show that Mrs. Ezra, accompanied by her husband and two friends, went to attend an evening party at her father’s house. The party broke up at about 2-30 in the morning and accused’s car was engaged to carry Mrs. Ezra and her party home. The two friends got down at Dhurrumtollah, and the car proceeded to Grant’s Lane. Here, Mr. Ezra got down and had barely had time to pay the driver his hire when he was pushed away by the driver’s assistant and the car drove away with Mrs. Ezra in it. She started crying for help. The defence was an alibi, which the Magistrate held not to have been proved. Accused was fined Rs 50, and his licence was cancelled for a year.
QUIET ON DAKKA FRONT
SIMLA, MAY 20
A Press communiqué states:- No further operations are reported from Dakka. The band collected by Yar Muhammad at Chora is now believed to have dispersed, and sniping has for the time being practically ceased in the Khyber. The situation on the Kurram border is still obscure. The Afghan troops piquetting the Peiwar ridge are adopting a somewhat aggressive attitude and our piquets on our side of the border have been fired on at night. Conditions are also unsettled in Khost. Local reports state that General Nadir Khan commanding in this district, is expected to arrive at Matun with a detachment of regular troops and a tribal lashkar. Reports from all other parts of the Frontier are satisfactory and the attitude of the tribes remains good.
THE DISTURBANCES IN AHMEDABAD
Investigations in connection with the disturbances at Ahmedabad are being conducted by Mr. Guider, Deputy InspectorGeneral of Police. The trial of those arrested will commence before a Special Tribunal on the 2nd of June. The first case before the Tribunal will be of those arrested in connection with the murder of Sergeant Fraser. A number of arrests had been made in connection with the case of the removal of railway lines between Vadod and Uttersunda on the Bombay, Baroda and Central India Railway and the consequent holding up of a train bound for Ahmedabad. Leaflets dropped on Ahmedabad from aeroplanes are being eagerly read by the populace in the town and surrounding villages. The Rowlatt Act is explained clearly in simple language.
REFORMS IN CEYLON
In the House of Commons replying to Sir Henry Lunn, Colonel Amery stated that Lord Milner had not yet received the report of the Governor of Ceylon on the Ceylonese requests for constitutional reform and a representative Government, but he was aware that the Governor was giving attention to the matter. Pending the receipt of the report he was not prepared to make any statement regarding its publication.