Days ahead of a discussion on the farmers’ protest in the United Kingdom Parliament, British High Commissioner to India, Alex Ellis, on Friday said that while the matter was being debated as there is a large Indian diaspora in the country, it was still an “internal issue” for India to resolve, PTI reported.
Tens of thousands of farmers have been camped outside Delhi for nearly three months, demanding the withdrawal of the three legislations that they say will hurt them and benefit large corporations.
Asked how he looks at the concerns in the UK over the farmers’ protest and if it could impact ties, the new British high commissioner to India said: “Your verb is the correct one. I look at it. This is an internal issue for India.”
British MPs will debate on press freedom and safety of protesters in India on March 8, after an online petition on the matter crossed 1 lakh signatures, the required mark for such a discussion, PTI reported, citing the country’s House of Commons Petitions Committee.
British Labour MP Tanmamanjeet Singh Dhesi, who has been constantly raising the matter of the farmers’ protests in the country’s Parliament, also tweeted about the debate on Thursday. “While most of our time is spent on national issues, beauty of being a British MP is we have regular global debates,” Dhesi wrote. “Certainly not anti-national to voice concerns on government policies – sign of a healthy democracy.”
The 90-minute debate on Monday will be held at the Westminster Hall in the Houses of Parliament complex in London and will be opened by Scottish National Party MP and member of the Petitions Committee Martyn Day, and a minister will be deputed to respond on behalf of the UK government, according to PTI
Meanwhile, asked if the matter of the debate had been taken up by India with the UK, Ellis said that the reason behind the discussion in the British Parliament was that the required number of signatures had been acquired and that topics related to India are often brought up.
“This is something that is done by Parliament, the government has to participate, it has to answer but it is the parliamentarians, as you expect, raising issues that are a concern to them in their constituencies,” Ellis said.
He added that with Indian diaspora growing in various countries, such instances will be more common. “I think that as India grows and becomes more international and ever more significant in the world, there will be more debate about Indian issues,” he said, according to PTI.
Farmers to block KMP Expressway on Saturday
Meanwhile, in order to mark 100 days of their agitation, protesting farmers will block the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal Expressway for five hours on Saturday, between 11 am and 4 pm, the unions said.
“We believe that after these 100 days, our movement will put a moral pressure on the government to accede to our demands, because the weather will also worsen,” Darshan Pal, spokesperson for Samyukt Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of the unions, told Reuters. “It will weaken the government, which will have to sit down with us to talk again.”
Pal also said that the farm laws were like “death warrants” for the farmers and that they were prepared for the “long haul”.
The farmers believe that the new laws undermine their livelihood and open the path for the corporate sector to dominate the agricultural sector. The government, on the other hand, maintains that the new laws will give farmers more options in selling their produce, lead to better pricing, and free them from unfair monopolies. The laws are meant to overhaul antiquated procurement procedures and open up the market, the government has claimed.