On Monday’s session in U. K’s Parliament British MPs debated on the Farmers protest going in India and the government’s handling of the protesters and India’s Press Freedom status. The debate was held based on the e-petitions signed by citizens on its website.
The debate went on for 90-minutes, where MPs of the parliament participated in it through online video meetings and with their physical presence in the parliament as well. The e-petition no. 563473 “Urge the Indian Government to ensure safety of protesters & press freedom” was signed by 115,798 signatures, was started by Gurcharan Singh.
The petition read “The Government must make a public statement on the #kissanprotests & press freedoms.
India is the world’s largest democracy & democratic engagement and freedom of the press are fundamental rights and a positive step towards creating India that works for all.
A public statement by the Government will encourage transparency & accountability in the world’s Largest Democracy.”
The debate was opened by Scottish Day MP Martyn Day “”The UK government has already stated that the farm reforms are a matter for the Indian government’s decision. So, we are not debating the reforms now. We are debating for the safety of the protesters. Water cannons and tear gas and repeated clashes between police and farmers and interruption in internet connectivity have been matters of concern. Several farmers have reportedly committed suicide.”
During the debates, several parliament members from both Conservative and Labour Parties spoke about the complete peaceful conduct of the protesters, police’s use of violence on protesters, suspension of mobile internet in and around the areas of protests, the reaction of world media and the subsequent reaction of Indian Ministry of External Affairs.
This eventually drew a letter of condemnation from Indian High Commission in London. The letter went on to establish HCI’s disagreement in 5-key points,
The letter told that the debates held in British Parliament were one sided and that Indian High Commission has been taking care to inform and update the news of ongoing protests to those who are genuinely concerned about it. Rather than basing debates on facts, only throwing blames on the world’s largest functioning democracy has been done.
The debates have unnecessarily tried to mislead Indian communities in U.K on alleged human rights violations, minority treatment in Kashmir. Many foreign media journalists themselves were present on the scene of protests, reporting back to their respective offices. And, there was no lack of freedom of press during the protests.
Finally, it added that, the High Commission will normally keep itself away from commenting on discussions or debates held within a limited number of people or forum, but as this debate was about India, this time it had to obviously comment on this.
Foreign Minister of U.K Nigel Adams had commented that the presence of close relations between U.K and India does not mean U.K should not comment on issues that India is facing itself.
With Inputs from Outlook India