LONDON: India came under fire in the House of Commons on Tuesday with Labour, SNP, Liberal Democrats and Conservative MPs, including Indian-origin MPs, queuing up to criticise the Indian government for the recent violence in Delhi and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and urging the UK government to take stronger action.
At one point, when SNP’s David Linden said they had seen Modi and Trump embracing “in their scramble to get a trade deal” and asked for assurances that the UK would raise these cases “at the highest levels of government” and not ignore human rights when it came to trade deals, junior minister in the FCO Nigel Adams, standing in for foreign secretary Dominic Raab who was in Turkey, said: “Whilst trade is absolutely vital for our economy and future prosperity, this in no way compromises the UK commitment to holding human rights at the core of our foreign policy, and I can guarantee we will not pursue trade to the exclusion of human rights.”
Adams said the events in Delhi were “very concerning”, the UK was monitoring the violence and developments around CAA “closely” and the UK condemned targeting of people based on religion. “Any allegation of human rights abuses is deeply disturbing and we have made it clear these must be investigated thoroughly, promptly and transparently,” Adams said.
Tory MP Richard Graham said videos showed “shocking orchestrated sectarian violence” and asked the minister to invite the UK Indian high commissioner to his office to share with him the “deep concerns” of so many constituents . “If there is one silver lining it is what one Gujarati Muslim said to me — he and his family now value more than ever the plurality and safety across faiths that this country provides.”
Adams said he would ask Lord Ahmad to meet with the Indian high commissioner.
Labour MP Stephen Timms said the CAA was “a decisive move away” from Ambedkar’s Constitution which was admired around the world for its commitment to equality.
Labour MP and PIO Tan Dhesi said “incited mob violence in Delhi on the basis of someone’s faith” brought back painful memories of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots when he was studying in India. He said that the “persecution of Indian Muslims”, many of whom have been peacefully protesting against CAA, is “utterly intolerable” and the police cannot stand by “or worse still be complicit as is alleged by many victims and social activists”. He said the perpetrators must face the full force of law.
Many of the MPs referred to a BBC broadcast on Monday night which said the police had been complicit in the violence against Muslims.
Mirpur-born Labour MP Mohammad Yasin said: “As the BBC recently reported, there is evidence the police are complicit in the latest outbreak of violence in Delhi and encouraging violence against Muslims.” Tory MP Nusrat Ghani asked the minister to make sure the concerns of MPs are relayed to the Indian authorities, “including the brutality that seems to have (been) meted out by those who should be enforcing the law which was covered by the BBC on Monday night”.
From removing Articles 370 & 35a from the Constitution to the CAA & the NRC, Modi & the BJP have been whipping up anti-Muslim hate. The violence in Delhi, where dozens have died, is the latest example of this.
Today I called on the government to speak out against this bigotry. pic.twitter.com/fcsCCgf6cd
— Zarah Sultana MP (@zarahsultana) March 3, 2020
PoK-origin Labour MP Zarah Sultana said the violence in Delhi had been “whipped up by BJP politicians” and was “the latest targeted assault on Muslims by the Modi government.” PIO Labour MP Nadia Whittome said it was time to reject the language of “clashes and communal violence ” when describing the riots as it was actually “a continuation of sustained and systemic Hindutva violence waged on Muslim and many minority ethnic communities in India that is sanctioned by Modi’s BJP government”.
Liberal Democrats MP Alistair Carmichael said the CAA and the violence it has precipitated was not an isolated act and came on the heels of the implantation of the NRC in Assam and “Modi government actions in Kashmir”. “It begins to look like part of a course of conduct designed to marginalise Muslims in India. India is in the Commonwealth. What are we doing through the Commonwealth?” Carmichael asked.
Source: Times of India