International voices at the political level are rising over the ongoing farmers’ agitation in the national capital. Days after New Delhi went to the extent of summoning the Canadian High Commissioner to protest the “unwarranted” remarks of their Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and others, 36 British MPs from various parties wrote to the British Foreign Secretary asking him to raise the issue with the Modi government.
Media reports said the British MPs are coordinated by Labour MP Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi. The letter sought an urgent meeting with Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on communication, if any, the foreign office might have had with the Indian government on the farmers’ agitation.
The British MPs include some Indian origin representatives who have links with their Punjabi voters. Signatories to the letter include MPs from Labour, Conservative and Scottish National Party, including former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Virendra Sharma, Seema Malhotra, Valerie Vaz, Nadia Whittome, Peter Bottomley, John McDonnell, Martin Docherty-Hughes and Alison Thewliss.
The letter quoted by the Hindustan Times and others said that many MPs had recently written to the Indian high commission about the impact of India’s three new farm laws. The letter said these measures “fail to protect farmers from exploitation and to ensure fair prices for their produce”.
“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,” the letter said.
Preet Kaur Gill, Labour MP from Birmingham Edgbaston and chair of the All Party Parliamentary Party for British Sikhs, while reacting to protests from Delhi said: “This is no way to treat citizens who are peacefully protesting over the controversial Farmers Bill in India”.
On Friday (December 4), India’s Foreign ministry summoned Canadian High Commissioner Nadir Patel and told him that the comments made by Trudeau and others in his cabinet on the protests were an “unacceptable interference” in the country’s internal affairs and these actions, if continued, will have a “seriously damaging” impact on bilateral ties.