New Delhi: Farmers protesting the controversial agriculture laws have said that emails will be sent to Punjabi-origin British members of parliament to exert pressure on the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, to cancel his scheduled visit to India to be part of Republic Day celebrations on January 26, 2021, until the Centre concedes to their demands.
There are five Punjabi-origin MPs in the house of commons, Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, Virendra Sharma, Preet Kaur Gill, Gagan Mohindra and Seema Malhotra. Britain is also home to sizeable Punjabi diaspora.
“The UK Prime Minister is scheduled to visit India on January 26. We are writing to British MPs asking them to stop him from visiting India till the time farmers’ demands are not met by the Indian government,” farmers’ leader Kulwant Singh Sandhu has been quoted as saying by ANI.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended the invitation to his British counterpart, Boris Johnson, to be the chief guest at India’s Republic Day parade on January 26, 2021, which the latter agreed.
Protests by farmers in Delhi, which have now reached into its 27th day on December 22, have garnered global support, and especially from the countries that are home to considerable Punjabi diaspora.
As many as 36 British MPs across political parties had earlier written to United Kingdom foreign secretary, Dominic Rabb, to convene a special meeting with them to “discuss the deteriorating situation in Punjab and its relationship with the Centre”. Describing the new farm laws as “death warrant” to “India’s food basket”, the MPs had called on Rabb to write to his counterparts on the Indian side to convey their displeasure, and the impact of the new farm laws especially on British Sikhs and Punjabis, according to a Times of India report.
Earlier this month, Labour Party’s Preet Kaur Gill and Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi had taken to Twitter to raise concerns regarding farmers in India and the large-scale protests against the new farm laws.
Lord Singh of Wimbledon, for its part, had raised the issue of farmers’ protests in India in the house of lords and asked if India is a democracy.
On the other hand, Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, had also lent his support to farmers’ protests, and asked the Indian government to allow farmers to exercise their right to peaceful protests. He had expressed his dismay over the efforts to label farmers as ‘Khalistani’ separatists. As expected, the Indian side hit back at Trudeau resulting in straining the Indo-Canadian ties.