UK lawmakers write to Boris on India farmers

British Labour Party MP Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi has sent a letter, signed by over 100 MPs and Lords, to Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the ongoing farmers’ protests in India, asking him to raise this matter with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi when they next liaise.

The letter seeks to ensure that the UK Prime Minister reaffirms the importance of the right to peaceful protest internationally, has a full understanding of this important issue and asks him to raise this matter with the Indian Prime Minister, following the cancellation of their meeting in India, planned later this month.

“Immensely grateful to the 100 plus MPs and Lords who’ve signed cross-party letter to the Prime Minister, given huge concerns for the peaceful Indian farmers’ protest. Boris Johnson must raise with the Indian PM when they liaise, expressing hopes of speedy resolution to the current deadlock,” Dhesi told IANS in an message.

Earlier, 36 UK MPs led by Dhesi, who has been a vocal supporter of the protesting farmers in India, wrote a letter to Commonwealth Secretary Dominic Raab in which they asked him to speak to the Indian government.

The letter dated January 5, titled “Peacefully protesting Indian farmers and linked global protests”, says the issue has so galvanised the Indian diaspora community, especially those of a Punjabi or Sikh background, and others who have land or links to farming in India, that tens of thousands engaged in global protests, including in towns and cities across the UK.

“A cross-party letter was sent to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to raise this matter with his Indian counterpart and he has assured that it was raised with the Indian Foreign Minister, but he did not do so with the Indian Prime Minister during his December Delhi meeting.

“We believe your January India visit has now been cancelled, but you intend to meet your Indian counterpart soon. Given the urgency of this matter, could you please confirm that you will definitely 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 right of citizens to peacefully protest?

“We look forward to your timely response, so that we can inform our constituents accordingly,” said the letter signed by over 100 MPs.

The agitated farmers are demanding the repeal of the three farm laws passed by Indian Parliament and have expressed apprehension that they would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporate houses.

Refusing to repeal the laws, the government has maintained that the new laws will provide farmers with better opportunities.

The eight round of talks between the farmers’ leaders and the government remained inconclusive on Friday, however, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar is hopeful of a solution in the ninth round of talks scheduled for January 15.

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