20 DECEMBER 1946, Page 1

NEWS OF THE WEEK T HE situation in India grows increasingly

critical, and the im- pression increases that forces are in motion which no one can arrest. The debates in the two Houses of Parliament last week were calculated to do more harm than good. There was never much possi- bility of their doing good, and some of the speeches, notably Mr. Churchill's, could not fail to exacerbate either Hindu or Moslem opinion-4n this case Hindu opinion—in India, though the effect of that was in some degree mitigated by the support given to the Government's policy by many Conservative back-benchers. The desire widely voiced on both sides that when Great Britain withdrew from India she should leave the country peaceful and orderly will be universally shared, but the prospects of its realisation are remote. Mr. Jinnah remains irreconcilable on the subject of Pakistan, though he would be perfectly satisfied with the British Cabinet Mission's proposal for the grouping of provinces in North-West and North- East India, each with a total Moslem majority. The Congress con- tention that each province within each group may vote separately, instead of the whole group voting as a bloc, may yet be referred for decision to the Federal Court, though it seems doubtful whether the Court would regard the question as justiciable. But events, in fact, are getting beyond that. Mr. Nehru's resolution in the Consti- tuent Assembly in favour of the proclamation of an independent sovereign republic of India is a gratuitous and provocative act falling entirely outside the province of the Constituent Assembly at this stage. Though opposed in words of wise statesmanship by the veteran Liberal, Dr. Jayakar, and with equal force by Dr. Ambedkar for the Scheduled Castes, there is little doubt that it will be passed by a large majority. If so the participation of the Moslems in the work of the Assembly, without which the policy of the British Government will be shattered, is virtually past hoping for. The plain fact that at any moment communal disorders rising rapidly to the magnitude of civil war may break out must be recognised. The question of the use of British troops in India will then become acute, for the Government has declared it cannot tolerate the domination of -India by a single community. The Government, no doubt, is still right to hope that the Moslems will enter the Assembly. But it may have soon to conclude definitely that they will not.