- Posted by: Valerie Vaz MP
- Category: News
I have been contacted by many of my constituents about the recent events relating to peaceful protests by Indian farmers. Myself and 35 fellow MPs wrote to the Foreign Secretary to highlight these concerns on 3 December 2020. I wrote to the Foreign Secretary again on 3 February 2021 and asked him to raise these concerning events with the Indian Government as a matter of urgency. You can read my letter below:
Dear Secretary of State
Re: Indian Agricultural Reforms and Farmer Protests
I am writing on behalf of a number of my constituents who have contacted me with their concerns about recent events relating to peaceful protests by Indian farmers. I refer to a joint letter to you signed by myself and 35 colleagues on 3 December 2020.
My constituents are concerned that this legislation will place all purchasing power in the hands of large corporations, removing safeguards which protect farmers from exploitation and ensure fair prices for their produce.
My constituents and I are horrified by report of police brutality against the farmers protesting these laws, who are asserting their right to peaceful protest. Many have raised human rights concerns over the way peaceful protestors are being treated. In several instances police have fired tear gas shells, used water cannons and ordered the suspension of internet connection for long periods of time.
It is alarming that several senior Indian journalists face charges of sedition over their reporting and online posts about the farmers’ protests. Any attempt to target journalists for reporting on these protests undermines democracy and the freedom of the press.
Please contact the Indian Government as a matter of urgency regarding these concerning events. My constituents have close family ties in India who are directly affected by this issue and therefore these events are very personal to them.
I would also be grateful for an update on what communication the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office has had with the Indian Government about this issue.
Rt Hon Valerie Vaz MP