London/ New Delhi:
A debate held in British Parliament on Monday on “safety of farmers” and “press freedom” in India has evoked a sharp response from the Indian High Commission in London
“We deeply regret that rather than a balanced debate, false assertions – without substantiation or facts – were made, casting aspersions on the largest functioning democracy in the world and its institutions,” the High Commission said in a statement.
“Foreign media, including the British media, are present in India and have witnessed the events under discussion first-hand. The question of lack of freedom of the media in India does not arise,” it further read.
On Monday, the British parliament set aside 90 minutes to debate the “safety of farmers” and “press freedom” in India. Concerns were raised by several MPs of the Labour party, Liberal democrats and the Scottish National Party over Indian government’s reaction to the protests.
The UK government responded saying: “The concerns will be raised with India when both Prime Ministers meet in person.”
The debate was a response to a petition initiated by Maidenhead Liberal Democrat leader Gurch Singh of Indian origin. The petition received signatures from over a lakh UK residents within weeks.
Scottish National Party’s Martin Day opened the debate with the remarks: “The UK government has already stated that the farm reforms are a matter for the Indian government’s decision. So we are not debating the reforms now. We are debating for the safety of the protesters. Water canons and tear gas and repeated clashes between police and farmers and interruption in internet connectivity have been matters of concern. Several farmers have reportedly committed suicide.”
In a response to several opposition MPs raising concerns over safety of farmers and journalists in India, UK Minister of State for Asia Nigel Adams said Britain’s “close ties with India doesn’t hinder the nation from raising concerns”.
News Source: NDTV News