I attended a human rights virtual lobby on 9 February, organised by the APPG on British Sikhs, which saw the attendance of over 100 participants, including cross-party MPs. It raised the ongoing farmers’ protests, as well as the detainment of British citizen Jagtar Singh Johal who was detained in India in November 2017.
Tens of thousands of farmers have been protesting for more than two months in India over new agriculture laws, which the farmers argue benefit only big corporations. The violent nature of recent clashes between the farmers and police has caused serious concern and puts democratic rights and freedoms at risk. The police and Indian Government’s response to the protests, which include curbs on social media, have been criticised by human rights organisations.
Labour has urged the UK Government to encourage the Indian authorities to protect the farmers’ right to peaceful protest, their right to freedom of assembly and expression, and to respond to any incidents of civil disobedience in a proportionate and appropriate manner.
I have raised concerns over human rights abuses directly with the Government and also signed a letter organised by my colleague, Tan Dhesi MP, to the Prime Minister on this issue, calling on him to “convey to the Indian Prime Minister the heart-felt anxieties of our constituents, our hopes for a speedy resolution to the current deadlock and also for the democratic human rights of citizens to peacefully protest”.
I stand proudly in solidarity with the protesters against the violation of their human rights and will continue to pressure the Government on this matter.