Page:Speeches And Writings MKGandhi.djvu/120

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DEPUTATION TO LORD SELBORNE

Messrs. Abdul Gani (Chairman, British Indian Association), Mr. Haji Habib (Secretary, Pretoria Committee), Mr. E. S. Coovadia, Mr. P. Moonsamy Moonlight, Mr. Ayob Haeje Beg Mahomed and Mr. M. K. Gandhi formed a deputation that waited on Lord Selborne on November, 22nd, 1905. On behalf of the deputation, Mr. Gandhi presented the following statement of the position to His Excellency:—]

STATEMENT

There are, besides laws affecting coloured people and therefore British Indian’s the Peace Preservation Ordinance and Law 3 of 1885 as amended in 1886.

THE PEACE PRESERVATION ORDINANCE

The Peace Preservation Ordinance, as its name implies although framed to keep out of the Colony dangerous character, is being used mainly to prevent British Indians from entering the Transvaal. The working of the law has always been harsh and oppressive—and this in spite of the desire of the Chief Secretary for Permits that it should not be so. He has to receive instructions from the Colonial Office, so that the harsh working is due, not to the chief officer in charge of the Department, but to the system under which it is being worked. (a) There are still hundreds of refugees waiting to come. (b) Boys with their parents or without are required to take out permits. (c) Men with old £3 registrations coming into the country without permits are, though refugees being sent away and required to make formal application. (d) Even wives of Trausvaal residents are expected to rake out permits if they are alone, and to pay £3 registration, whether with or without theirs husbands. (Correspondence is now going on between the Government and the British Indian Association on the point.) (e) Children under sixteen, if it cannot be proved that their parents are dead, or are residents of the Transvaal, are being sent away or are refused permits, in spite of the fact that they may be supported by their relatives who are their guardian and who are residing in the Transvaal. (f) No non-refugee British Indians are allowed to enter the Colony, no matter what their station may be in life. (The last prohibition causes serious inconvenience to the established merchants, who, by reason thereof, are prevented from drawing upon India for confidential managers or clerks.)

In spite of the declarations of her late Majesty’s ministers, and assurances of relief after the establishment of civil Govern-