Farmers’ protest: 36 British MPs write to British Foreign Secretary, want UK to raise issue with India

After Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, thirty-six British MPs from various parties – including some of Indian origin have some out in support of the farmers’ agitation in India.

The thirty-six British MPs have written to the British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, asking him to raise the issue of farmers’ agitation with the Narendra Modi government.

The letter, issued on Friday, has been drafted by British Sikh Labour MP Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi and signed by other Indian-origin MPs including Labour’s Virendra Sharma, Seema Malhotra and Valerie Vaz as well as former Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn.

The letter says, “This is an issue of particular concern to Sikhs in the UK and those linked to the Punjab, although it also heavily impacts on other Indian states. Many British Sikhs and Punjabis have taken this matter up with their MPs, as they (are) directly affected with family members and ancestral land in the Punjab.”

Stating that several MPs had recently written to the Indian high commission about the impact of India’s three farm laws, the letter alleges that they fail “to protect farmers from exploitation and to ensure fair prices for their produce”.

However, India has called the remarks by foreign leaders and politicians on protests by farmers as ‘ill-informed’ and ‘unwarranted’ as the matter pertained to the internal affairs of a democratic country.

British MPs have also been commenting on the farmers’ agitation on the social media in recent days.

Preet Kaur Gill, Labour MP from Birmingham Edgbaston and chair of the All Party Parliamentary Party for British Sikhs, reacted to images of protests from Delhi, “This is no way to treat citizens who are peacefully protesting over the controversial Farmers Bill in India.”

“Shocking scenes from Delhi. Farmers are peacefully protesting over controversial bills that will impact their livelihoods. Water cannons, and tear gas, are being used to silence them”, she added on Twitter.

Dhesi posted images from the protests and said, “It takes a special kind of people to feed those ordered to beat and suppress them. I stand with farmers of the #Punjab and other parts of #India, including our family and friends, who are peacefully protesting against the encroaching privatization of #FarmersBill2020.”

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) is yet to respond to the letter or with an official statement on the matter.

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