UK MPs warn Indian Muslims under attack after Modi-Johnson meeting

UK MPs warn Indian Muslims under attack after Modi-Johnson meeting
UK PM Johnson spent two days in New Delhi last week meeting with his counterpart Narendra Modi to strengthen trade ties between the two states.
3 min read
28 April, 2022
Boris Johnson was criticised by MPs for allegedly ignoring the India's human rights abuses against Muslims [Getty]

UK MPs have raised concerns about the treatment of India's Muslims and other minorities following a visit to New Delhi by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to meet his counterpart Narendra Modi.

Johnson spent two days with the Indian leaders in order to improve trade ties between the two states.

Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have been repeatedly accused of supporting violence and intimidation against India’s Muslims, who make up around 15 percent of the population.

Labour MP Khalid Mahmood called India "a human rights abuser across all of its community" during a House of Commons session on Tuesday.

He added that a trade deal with India would be like “dancing on the human rights and civil liberties of all those people who have been persecuted in India".

Fellow Labour MP Zarah Sultana criticised Johnson's decision to visit a "JCB fact just one day… after its bulldozers were used to illegally destroy and demolish Muslim homes in Delhi".

India has razed the homes and businesses of Muslims accused of involvement in Hindu-Muslim clashes earlier this month.

"Following widespread anti-Muslim violence in India which is widely seen as being whipped up by Modi and the BJP... Did the Prime Minister challenge Modi on the BJP’s role on anti-Muslim violence in India, or did the PM once again disregard human rights abuses?" she asked.

Foreign Office Minister Vicky Ford, who represented the prime minister in the session, said the government condemns "any instance of discrimination because of freedom of religion or belief".

"Protecting freedom of religion or belief is one of the absolutely top human rights priorities for this country," she added.

The New Arab has reached out to MPs Khalid Mahmood and Zarah Sultana for comment.

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Indian Muslims have been targeted in multiple attacks in recent weeks, carried out by right-wing Hindu groups celebrating the Ram Navami festival that marks the birth of Lord Ram, one of the chief Hindu deities.

Hindu extremists attacked Muslims and burned down a mosque while police reportedly stood by. At least 24 people, including six police officers, were injured in the violence.

Following the riots, authorities bulldozed homes and shops belonging to Muslims accused of throwing rocks at Hindus.

A US commission said on Monday that religious freedom has deteriorated "significantly" in India under Modi's Hindu nationalist government.

It has asked that India be placed on the US' list of 'countries of particular concern' for the third consecutive year.