Punjab Haryana border near Ambala
A cross-party statement by over 100 British MPs and peers in the House of Lords has condemned the ‘brute force’ the Indian government has used in responding to ‘hundreds of thousands of peacefully protesting farmers’.
The statement raises concerns over police brutality noting that there is video footage of “water cannon, tear gas and brute force’ being used against peaceful demonstrators. These protesters have gained international support from across the Indian diaspora but particularly the Punjabi and Sikh communities.
The authors also highlight the failure of British Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, to raise concern over the situation despite assurances that he would. Raab had previously met with the Indian Prime Minister in Delhi in December.
They further note the Prime Minister’s misunderstanding of the issue as during Prime Minister Questions on Wednesday 9 December, he referred to Pakistan and the need for “those two Governments” to settle these matters. As the statement notes, the issue of new agricultural legislation does not involve Pakistan.
Whilst a planned visit in January has been cancelled, the statement notes that the Prime Minister intends to meet with his Indian counterpart soon. The statement further calls on the Prime Minister to confirm that he will raise the issue so that a “speedy resolution to the current deadlock” can be achieved as well as for the safeguarding of citizens democratic rights in India.
Indian farmers primarily from the Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh regions of India have continued to protest against new farming regulations introduced in India which they fear will deregulate crop pricing and leave them vulnerable to corporate exploitation.