More than a hundred members of the British Parliament 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.
Boris Johnson has cancelled his plans to visit India as the chief guest for Republic Day due to the COVID-19 crisis in his country. The British MPs, however, said the two Prime Ministers had plans to meet shortly.
” Could you please confirm, given the urgency of this matter, that you will surely express to the Indian Prime Minister the heartfelt anxieties of our constituents, our hopes for a swift resolution, and also for the democratic human right of people to protest peacefully? ” the letter to Mr Johnson said.
They also asked Mr Johnson to explain his own perception of the issue, provided that when an MP discussed it in Parliament last month, he seemed to confuse it with the India-Pakistan issue.
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A similar letter to British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who was in Delhi in December, was written last month. He said he discussed the issue with Minister S. Jaishankar of Foreign Affairs, but not with Mr Modi. At that time, India characterized foreign leaders and politicians’ statements on farmers’ protests as “ill-informed” and “unwarranted” as the topic of a democratic country’s internal affairs.
Members of several groups, including those with origins in the sub-continent and those whose constituencies involve significant communities of Indian descent, were signatories to the letter. Besides MPs, the letter was also signed by a handful of peers from the House of Lords.