Indian Regime Facing Increasing Challenge from British Politicians

11 February 2016

Earlier this week Fabian Hamilton the Leeds North East MP and former Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for British Sikhs and now Shadow Foreign Minister responsible for relations with India signaled a new era of challenge against India.

After being approached by the Sikh Federation (UK) he has tabled a Parliamentary Question for the Foreign Secretary asking about the dossier produced by Ajit Doval, the National Security Adviser and handed to the British authorities when Narendra Modi met David Cameron on 12 November last year. On the same day Greg Mullholland a Liberal Democrat MP asked the Foreign Secretary to make a statement on the treatment of Sikhs campaigning for human rights in India.

Fabian Hamilton is also due to meet representatives of the Sikh Federation (UK) to discuss a range of issues in relation to India. The issues will include: Sikh political prisoners, the lack of justice for the Sikh Genocide, bringing perpetrators of human rights abuses in India to justice when they travel abroad and exercising the Sikhs right to self determination. Fabian Hamilton has also confirmed he has the conflict in Kashmir high on his list of priorities.

Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) said:

“We have worked closely with Fabian since 2010 and he has very clear and unequivocal views on human rights abuses in India and supports our right to self determination. In his new role he also has a focus on the United Nations as well as India so we will explore how we can take issues forward. He is not afraid to speak his mind and we are confident he will be an asset in our fight for justice.”

At the Parliamentary hearing on ‘Campaigning for Justice’ on Tuesday the dossier that named Gurdwaras, Sikh TV channels, Sikh organisations and individual Sikh activists in the UK, like Paramjeet Singh was also discussed. Concerns about Paramjeet Singh’s case was specifically mentioned to demonstrate India continues to use trade contracts to put pressure on governments to take anti-Sikh measures.

Those who had an ill-advised audience with Narendra Modi and Ajit Doval when they came to the UK failed to raise the dossier with them when they met the same day the dossier was given to the authorities in Britain. Some three months later it is understood the leading protagonists continue with meetings, in London and Delhi, with the likes of Ajit Doval and intelligence officers reporting to him at the Indian High Commission. However, none of them have confirmed through any public statement that they have raised concerns directly with India about the dossier or the false imprisonment of Paramjeet Singh. There are also now Indian media reports that the RSS has been facilitating negotiations between Sikhs abroad and the Indian government. This may explain why the protagonists are not taking up Paramjeet Singh’s case with the Indian authorities given the direct RSS link to Rulda Singh.

When Narendra Modi delivered his speech in the British Parliament the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn chose to stay away. He also refused to attend Modi’s welcome party at Wembley Stadium. Instead he had a meeting with Modi before he left Britain and raised concerns regarding the treatment and experience of Sikhs in India and about the growing intolerance in India. It is understood Modi who is accustomed to being praised by foreign leaders found himself confronted by a man with a well-established reputation for moral authority and was offended.

As far as British politicians from across the political spectrum are concerned the Paramjeet Singh case has completely back-fired on the Indian authorities. Their back door attempt to extradite someone that the UK has given asylum and protection has been roundly condemned. The Sikh Federation (UK) has had correspondence not only from leading politicians from the opposition, like Jeremy Corbyn, but also Cabinet Ministers, like Rt. Hon. Justine Greening and the former leader of Liberal Democrats and former Deputy Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Nick Clegg. Privately the majority of British politicians are united in their skepticism of Narendra Modi’s government and the way they are promoting intolerance and targeting minorities.

Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) added:

“We recognise the limitations on UK Government Ministers from publicly condemning India, but we are continuing to win the arguments. The leadership of the Labour Party and Scottish National Party are standing shoulder to shoulder with us in our campaigns. Privately we are confident politicians from Western countries will increasingly stand up to the growing intolerance and threats presented by the Indian regime.”

Gurjeet Singh
National Press Secretary
Sikh Federation (UK)

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