Tuesday 12 January 2021 10:39 PM UTC
LONDON Jan 12: The UK authorities on Tuesday praised India’s non secular range and its “rich tapestry of religious minorities alongside its sizable Hindu majority” throughout a debate within the House of Commons complicated and highlighted the vital work being finished to advertise UK-India interfaith dialogue on tackling shared world challenges.
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) minister Nigel Adams, who responded to a debate entitled “India: Persecution of Minority Groups” on behalf of the federal government because the Minister for Asia, assured MPs that any “difficult issues” round human rights are raised in a free and open method with Indian counterparts on the ministerial and consular stage as he reiterated that India’s secular Constitution ensures equal rights to all residents.
“Those of us who have had the pleasure of visiting India know that it is a magnificent country. It is one of the most religiously diverse countries in the world,” the minister stated.
“I can confirm that during the Foreign Secretary’s [Dominic Raab] visit to India in December, he raised a number of these human rights issues with his Indian counterpart, including the situation in Kashmir and our concern around many consular cases… we look to the government of India to address these concerns and protect the rights of people of all religions. That is in keeping with India’s Constitution and a proud and inclusive tradition,” he stated.
The debate, which came about at Westminster Hall inside the Houses of Parliament complicated in London, was known as by backbench members of Parliament led by Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) MP from Northern Ireland Jim Shannon, who sought to spotlight the “worrying and disturbing scale and trajectory” of the persecution being skilled in India by non-Hindus.
The debate concerned cross-party parliamentarians, together with Conservative Party MP Theresa Villiers and Labour MP Barry Gardiner, talking out in favour of India’s robust democratic and pluralistic credentials in addition to others who quoted from experiences to level to a rise within the persecution of Muslims and Christians in India over the previous few years.
Theresa Villiers challenged allegations of state involvement as she highlighted India as “a stable and increasingly prosperous home to around 200 million Muslims and 32 million Christians”.
“I argue that India’s record on minority faiths stands up to scrutiny. I do not accept that there is evidence of systemic or state-sponsored persecution of religious minorities,” stated Villiers, a former Cabinet minister.
“When it comes to protection of freedom of religion and belief, the more important focus of this House should be on places such as Pakistan, where forced marriage and forced conversion of young Hindu and Christian women is a serious problem, and from where Asia Bibi had to flee for her life after years of imprisonment, and China, where incarceration and oppression of Uyghur Muslims is, quite frankly, a disgrace,” she stated.
Labour’s Barry Gardiner pointed to letters he had acquired from his constituents in Brent North in London, which has a big Indian diaspora inhabitants, that expressed shock that elected British MPs are debating topics “attacking the government of India”, moderately than specializing in UK priorities such because the extreme influence of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I say this, not to minimise the subject… but to give ourselves a sense of humility and a little perspective about how we might feel, as parliamentarians, if legislators in India were to pronounce on our institutions from afar, putting us under the microscope in the same way that colleagues are doing for their Indian counterparts today,” he stated, as he pointed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi talking out strongly in opposition to so-called “cow vigilantes” to sentence the assaults as “criminal, illogical and unacceptable”.
The Indian High Commission in London issued a press release in relation to the backbench debate to emphasize India’s “centuries-old tradition of religious tolerance and harmonious co-existence of people of all faiths”.
“The people of India have due respect and regard for parliaments of the world, just as they regard their own as a most sacred institution of India’s democracy. However, we believe that debates and discussions serve useful purposes if they are based on facts, authentic information and a thorough and accurate perception of issues,” famous a High Commission assertion, because the mission confused that it stands prepared to have interaction with parliamentarians within the UK to current genuine details about India and dispel any misinformation being pedalled by vested pursuits.
“The large majority of people in India believe in fair play and the right to religious belief, but there are those – some in positions of power – who are not prepared to allow that,” stated DUP MP Jim Shannon, as he opened the talk.
“I reiterate that India is a great ally of the UK, but it must be possible to have constructive criticism among allies and friends,” he stated, including that he and a gaggle of others from Northern Ireland plan to fulfill the Indian High Commissioner to the UK, Gaitri Issar Kumar, to debate the problems additional subsequent week.
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