‘Events in Delhi last week very concerning’: UK on north-east Delhi violence
Days after terming the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) ‘divisive’ in the House of Lords, the Boris Johnson government told the House of Commons on Tuesday that events in Delhi last week were “very concerning”, assuring MPs it is watching the situation “closely”.
Elizabeth Sugg, minister in the Foreign Office, told the House of Lords last week that the CAA “has clearly been divisive,” while Nigel Adams, minister for Asia, told MPs that the “situation is still tense”, adding that London has conveyed concerns to New Delhi in recent days.
Labour MPs Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi and Preet Kaur Gill recalled the 1984 anti-Sikh violence in Delhi, and asked Adams what steps the UK government was taking to ensure that religious minorities in India could feel safe.
Some MPs also mentioned recent developments in Assam and Jammu and Kashmir during the debate on ‘Recent violence in India’.
Adams said: “The British high commission in New Delhi and our extensive diplomatic network of deputy high commissions across India are monitoring closely the recent violence in India and developments around the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019”.
“The events in Delhi last week were very concerning, and the situation is still tense. The death of one protester is one too many. We urge restraint from all parties and trust that the Indian Government will address the concerns of people of all religions in India”.
“India has a proud history of inclusive government and religious tolerance. Its secular constitution, which guarantees equality before the law, has been an exemplar of inclusive democracy. After his re-election, I note that Prime Minister Modi promised to continue this under the guiding principles of ‘together with all, development for all and trust for all’”.
Conservative MP Bob Blackman noted that “Hindus have also been killed as part of the riots” and told the house that the Delhi police had organised 330 separate meetings with different communities to bring them together and calm the situation.
Alison Thewliss of the Scottish National Party said many of her constituents had raised concerns over the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, and called for updating the Home Office’s assessment while dealing with cases “who have been through religious persecution already”.
Adams responded: “We regularly update our advice on Kashmir via the FCO website and we encourage people to take close notice of that. I am sure that my colleagues in the Home Office will have noted the hon. Lady’s question and will make sure she gets a follow-up”.
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