As Chair of the APPG on British Sikhs, today (Friday 19 March), I’ve written to the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, Dominic Raab MP, to raise serious concerns about the escalating crackdown on the farmers’ protests in India and the ongoing detention of Jagtar Singh Johal. On both of these issues, there is a high level of interest and concern which is shared by MPs across the House and in the wider Sikh community.
Back in December, I raised concerns about reports and footage of police brutality used against those who were peacefully protesting in New Delhi. Since then the situation has only escalated; with nine journalists being charged in recent weeks for covering the protest and an internet blackout has been ordered to cover the whole of New Delhi. It is vital that we understand what action is being taken by the British Government to defend the right to peaceful protest.
Meanwhile, the case of Jagtar Singh Johal, who earlier this week passed the sad milestone of 1,200 days in pre-trial detention and is now facing the death penalty, is also particularly worrying. His legal team has come forward with serious allegations as to his lack of access to a fair trial and the use of torture in detention.
I am asking the Secretary of State to meet with the APPG to explain what the Government is currently doing, to raise these concerning new developments with the Indian Government and defend human rights.
To read the full letter sent to Dominic Raab MP, please find it here.