London | British Prime Minister David Cameron raised the issue of intolerance and human rights in India with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi during his visit here last month, the UK Parliament has been said. In response to a question posed in the House of Lords on Monday, UK minister of state in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Joyce Anelay said Cameron had welcomed Modis commitment to preserve Indias traditions of tolerance.
My right honourable friend the Prime Minister, Cameron discussed human rights with Prime Minister Modi during his visit in November and welcomed Modi’s commitment to preserve Indias traditions of tolerance and social harmony and to promote inclusive development, she said the Lords.
Cameron had said that nothing was off the table during the visit and that he had raised the issue of human rights with Modi. I see India as I see Britain, a country that is a vibrant multi-racial, multi-faith, multi-ethnic democracy,he had said.
In the House of Lords exchange this week, Lord Indarjit Singh of Wimbledon pointed to disturbing evidence of discrimination against Christian and Muslim communities since the Modi government assumed power. Does the Government agree that human rights should be respected everywhere, without any considerations of trade, he asked. I can say of course that during Prime Minister Modis visit to the UK, my right honourable friend the Prime Minister, Cameron, discussed intolerance in India with him.
We should note that Prime Minister Modi has on numerous occasions reaffirmed his commitment to and respect for Indias core values of tolerance and freedoms, as well as reaffirming the importance of social harmony and inclusive development. That is most welcome, Anelay added.
Lord Harries of Pentregarth, who had raised the original query, added that his particular concern was access to justice for minority groups and, in particular, for the Dalits.
Every week 13 Dalits are murdered and five have their homes burned, and every day three Dalit women are raped. The problem is that while legal mechanisms are in place, their enforcement and implementation are weak or non-existent.
Will Her Majestys Government encourage the Indian authorities to strengthen the whole legal justice system so that perpetrators are charged and brought to justice, he questioned. Anelay said the British High Commission in India regularly discusses the treatment of minorities with Indias National Commission for Minorities and with state governments across India.
It is important that we are able to continue dialogue with India about how best it can implement the strong legislation it already has, she said.
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