The letter says many members of the diaspora were horrified to see “brute force being used against peaceful protesters”
More than a hundred members of the British Parliament have signed a letter to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson asking him to raise the concerns of protesting farmers outside Delhi, and the “brute force” employed against them, in his discussion with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The letter, dated January 5, notes that many constituents, especially those with links to Punjab or India, “were horrified to see footage of water cannon, tear gas and brute force being used against hundreds of thousands of peacefully protesting farmers”. The Indian diaspora and others, have also joined in global protests in support of the farmers.
Mr. Johnson has cancelled his plans to visit India as the chief guest for Republic Day because of the COVID-19 crisis in his country. However, the British MPs said that the two Prime Ministers had plans to meet soon. “Given the urgency of this matter, could you please confirm that you will definitely convey to the Indian Prime Minister the heart-felt anxieties of our constituents, our hopes for a speedy resolution, and also for the democratic human right of citizens to peacefully protest?” said the letter to Mr. Johnson.
They also asked Mr. Johnson to clarify his own understanding of the issue, given that he seemed to confuse it with an India-Pakistan matter when an MP raised it in Parliament last month.
Last month, a similar letter was written to British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who was in Delhi in December. He said he raised the issue with External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, but not with Mr. Modi. At that time, India termed the remarks on farmer protests by foreign leaders and politicians as “ill-informed” and “unwarranted” as the matter pertained to the internal affairs of a democratic country.
The signatories to the letter included members of multiple parties, including those with roots in the sub-continent and others whose constituencies include large Indian-origin populations. Apart from MPs, a handful of peers from the House of Lords also signed the letter.
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