INDIANS IN FIJI
REFUSE TO PAY TAX
Disguised under the title Residential Tax Ordinance, the new poll tax of £1 a year on males over 18 is causing much discontent among Indian settlers in Fiji (says a Suva message in the
A start will he made in January to register all those liable to pay the residential tax, and prison will be the fate of him who does not comply with the law. Leading Indians in every district declare that they will willingly go to gaol before they register their names, and a general passive resistance is highly possible, with all its attend- ant strikes and bitter feeling.
There are 60,300 indians in Fiji and but 3000 Europeans, so the Indian con- siders that the poll tax is especially directed at his section of the commu- nity. He objects strongly to the tax, because it is inequitable in its inci- dence, and it hits the poor man harder than the well off. It means the for- feiture of 12 days' pay to the Colonial Sugar Refining Company's agricultural laborers, who get about 18 a day if
they are diligent. The Government does not premit Indians, however re- spectable, to use its schools. Indians
have no Parliamentary representation, there is no real Indian Affairs Depart- ment in the Government, and therefore no sympathetic administration of the big Indian community, which provides the workers of the colony. There is but one steamer a year between Fiji and India by which the thousands who are entitled to and wish for a free
return passage to India may travel.