“Democratic human right of citizens to peacefully protest”: 100 cross-party British MPs write to PM Boris Johnson over India’s farmers’ agitation

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A group of 100 cross-party British parliamentarians have written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson expressing their concern over India’s ongoing farmers’ agitation. The MPs, who also received support from members of the UK’s House of Lords, sought to know Johnson’s ‘understanding of this important issue?’

Photo: Suresh Kumar/Janta Ka Reporter

The two-page letter read, “Dear Boris Johnson, Many constituents, especially those emanating from the Punjab and other parts of 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 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.”

Sharing the letter, British Labour MP from Slough, Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, tweeted, “Great that over 100 MPs and Lords signed cross-party letter to the Prime Minister, given our serious concerns for the peaceful India #FarmersProtest. Boris Johnson must raise it with Indian PM when they next liaise, expressing hopes of speedy resolution to the current deadlock.”

Dhesi informed Johnson that a group of 36 cross-party MPs had written a similar letter to British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab in early December asking him to raise the issue with his Indian counterpart ‘but he did not do so with the Indian Prime Minister during his December Delhi meeting.’

[Also Read: “How is this guy our PM?”: Outrage after British PM Boris Johnson confuses India’s farmers’ protests with Pakistan conflict; video from parliament goes viral]

Dhesi also reminded the British PM about the Prime Minister’s Questions in the parliament where he had raised the issue of India’s farmers’ protest on 9 December. “It seems you misunderstood the question since you made a reference to Pakistan and the need for “those two Governments to settle” these matters. The issue of course has nothing to do with Pakistan but is regarding farmers from across India protesting and expressing their concerns of major corporates moving into the sector, as a result of new agriculture laws. Could you please respond to clarify your understanding of this important issue? Do you indeed agree that everyone has a fundamental right to engage in peaceful protest?” the letter asked Johnson.

Johnson had to face widespread public ridicule after he confused India’s farmers’ protests with its conflict with Pakistan. The British PM had made the embarrassing gaffe while answering a question from an MP inside the British parliament.

Johnson was scheduled to be India’s chief guest during this year’s Republic Day celebrations on 26 January, but he was forced to cancel his trip following the announcement of a new nationwide lockdown in England.

The cross-party letter by 100 MPs read, “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?”

List of MPs, who have signed the letter to British PM:

Debbie Abrahams MP

Tahir Ali MP

Hannah Bardell MP

Dame Margaret Beckett MP

Apsana Begum MP

Hilary Benn MP

Olivia Blake MP

Steven Bonnar MP

Sir Peter Bottomley MP

Tracy Brabin MP

Kevin Brennan MP

Richard Burgon MP

Dawn Butler MP

lan Byrne MP

Liam Byrne MP

Ruth Cadbury MP

Dan Carden MP

Alistair Carmichael MP

Sarah Champion MP

Daisy Cooper MP

Rosie Cooper MP

Jeremy Corbyn MP

Stella Creasy MP

Jon Cruddas MP

John Cryer MP

Janet Daby MP

Sir Ed Davey MP

Geraint Davies MP

Tan Dhesi MP

Martin Docherty Hughes MP

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP

Allan Dorans MP

Peter Dowd MP

Rosie Duffield MP

Dame Angela Eagle MP

Clive Efford MP

Julie Elliott MP

Marion Fellows MP

Yvonne Fovargue MP

Mary Kelly Foy MP

Neil Gray MP

Lilian Greenwood MP

Neale Hanvey MP

Drew Hendry MP

Mike Hill MP

Wera Hobhouse MP

Rachel Hopkins MP

Dr Rupa Huq MP

Imran Hussain MP

Christine Jardine MP

Dan Jarvis MBE MP

Dame Diana Johnson MP

Afzal Khan CBE MP

Ben Lake MP

Emma Lewell-Buck MP

Clive Lewis MP

David Linden MP

Tony Lloyd MP

Carla Lockhart MP

Rebecca Long-Bailey MP

Kenny MacAskill MP

Angus MacNeil MP

Khalid Mahmood MP

Shabana Mahmood MP

Seema Malhotra MP

Steve McCabe MP

Siobhain McDonagh MP

Stewart McDonald MP

John McDonnell MP

Pat McFadden MP

Anne McLaughlin MP

lan Mearns MP

Layla Moran MP

Grahame Morris MP

Caroline Nokes MP

Brendan O’Hara MP

Sarah Olney MP

Kate Osborne MP

Kirsten Oswald MP

Taiwo Owatemi MP

Sarah Owen MP

lan Paisley MP

Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP

Gavin Robinson MP

Jim Shannon MP

Virendra Sharma MP

Tommy Sheppard MP

Andy Slaughter MP

John Spellar MP

Chris Stephens MP

Jamie Stone MP

Zarah Sultana MP

Sam Tarry MP

Alison Thewliss MP

Owen Thompson MP

Stephen Timms MP

Claudia Webbe MP

Mick Whitley MP

Nadia Whittome MP

Hywel Williams MP

Munira Wilson MP

Beth Winter MP

Sammy Wilson MP

Mohammad Yasin MP

Peers from the House of Elders, who signed the letter include;

Baroness Armstrong of Hill

Baroness Bennett

Lord Blunkett Baroness Cox

Lord Harries of Pentregarth

Lord Hendy QC

Lord Hussain

Baroness Hussein-Ece OBE

Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb

Lord Judd

Baroness Kennedy

Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Baroness Masham of lion

Lord McNicol of West Kilbride

Baroness Smith of Newnham

Lord Stunell OBE

Baroness Warsi

(Members of House of Lords, also known as peers, do not represent any constituencies)

1 COMMENT

  1. Frankly, the protests are going on strongly. No govt,,, obstructions at all, govt, is talking,but so called protesters are actually bullying the Govt,,even said, “ India ko thok diya, Modi kya cheez hai “ ( we blasted India Gandhi , What is Modi ):and many other abuses Even today “ hay hay Modi, Mar Ja Modi “ ( hay hay modi, die Modi ) .they also sang separatists slogans like Khalistan Zidabad , and than some slogans even said ALLAHU AKBAR,,,,people are there with Swords and shafts,,,,one even said, if Modi police opens fire on, we will bomb hand quarters of rss in Nagpur, Now if this is not intimidation and violence, what are they. The law is good for farmers, it helps them an option to sell their products directly to buyer rather than middlemen…so what’s wrong on this, This protests seem to me nothing but to destabilize India to remove Modi. Only one state farmers are protesting out of India’s 30 or so. It is painful to see these hardship,,,but let us investigate the truth before conclusion ,

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