Private Notice Questions. - Massacres in Assam.

Tuesday, 8 March 1983

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 340 No. 10

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Mr. Taylor: Information on Mervyn Taylor  Zoom on Mervyn Taylor  asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement on the continuing atrocities and massacres being committed in the state of Assam, India, and if he will make urgent representations to the Indian authorities on the matter.

Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. P. Barry): Information on Peter Barry  Zoom on Peter Barry  The Government very much regret and condemn the recent massacres caused by extremist elements in the Indian state of Assam which have resulted in the deaths of an estimated 4,000 people there. These massacres, which have been condemned by the Indian Government, are the result of a long standing dispute between the local Assamese and Bengali settlers who have been moving into Assam for more than a century, which came to a head with the decision of the Government of India to proceed with elections in Assam as is provided for in the Constitution of India.

The Government of India have already taken urgent measures to maintain order in Assam and to prevent further massacres. It is to be hoped that these measures, which include the use of the Indian Army to try to control mob violence and [1890] restore law and order in the state, will be successful. In view of the actions which have been taken by the Government of India, I do not feel that it is appropriate or necessary for the Irish Government to make representations to the Indian authorities at this time.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  The remaining Questions will appear on tomorrow's Order Paper.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  We on this side have taken careful note of the nature of that last Private Notice Question.

Mr. P. Barry: Information on Peter Barry  Zoom on Peter Barry  The significance of that remark is lost on me.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  It seems to me that the taking of that question broadens the scope of Private Notice Questions and we will avail of that in future.

Mr. P. Barry: Information on Peter Barry  Zoom on Peter Barry  I have no say over Private Notice Questions. I merely answer them if the Chair permits. It is a matter for the Chair.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  I do not hold the Minister for Foreign Affairs responsible in any way. My remarks were addressed to the Chair.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  I hope the Leader of the Opposition is not criticising the Chair. In deciding on that question the Chair took all the circumstances into consideration.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  I am not disputing that, but we will use it as a precedent.


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