PIO MPs concerned over rising intolerance in India
At the first-ever conference of sitting Indian origin MPs representing 23 countries across the world, a disquiet on the rising incidences of intolerance and hostility towards religious minorities in their ancestral land was palpable. While some expressed their concerns subtly at the stage reminding others of the values of pluralism and India’s cultural synthesis, a group of MPs from South Africa and Tanzania reportedly raised the issue during their private meeting with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. They felt that reports of cow vigilantism and open promotion of Hindu nationalism by the ruling party were taking its toll on their spaces in their homelands, as they were also living there as religious and/or ethnic minorities.
A group of Sri Lankan MPs had a different complaint. Their grouse was that Government of India had a different yardstick for issuing Oversees Citizenship of India (OCI) cards to people residing in the US, Africa, Australia, and European countries, and for those claiming Indian ancestry in Sri Lanka. “We are Tamils and were transported to Sri Lanka centuries back to work in tea gardens. We are proud of our Indian lineage. But when we apply for OCI or PIO card as Indian origin people residing in other countries do, the High Commission in Colombo asks for streams of documents which are almost impossible to produce,” A Arvindh Kumar, an MP from Sri Lanka told DNA.
“I can produce birth certificate of my father or upto grandfather, to dig out documents of ancestors and proof of working on tea gardens, is almost impossible,” he said, pleading that procedures for Sri Lanka citizens of Indian origin should be made similar to those of living in Europe or other continents.
The shock for Swaraj was, however, reserved when after the inaugural address, she decided to meet delegations in batches privately to listen to their feedbacks. An MP of Gujarat descent from Tanzania reportedly enquired steps the government was taking to protect minorities in India. He referred to killing of cow traders in the last few years as well as the creeping insecurity among minority communities. Some MPs from South Africa also raised the issue. Tanzanian MPs, both Hindus and Muslims, said they were also in minority in their country. “We read in media that high-level government officials are making statements that are spiteful to minorities. And at many places they are encouraging vigilantes to attack members of minority communities engaged in the cattle trade,” said the MP. He further added that such acts restrict our initiatives to project India a democratic, multi-cultural, pleuritic and a tolerant society.
Lord Ranbir Singh Suri, representing Conservative Party in the UK House of Lords said India’s democracy and adhering to liberal values are its biggest strengths. “We have been telling Europeans to learn from India how to live in a multi-ethnic, multi-religious society peacefully. But the reports of killings here and there, though aberrations crate a bad impression,” he added. He, however, praised Modi government, saying he has put India on a right track of progress. Originally born in Rawalpindi, he is perhaps the only MP, in the list of Pakistan’s people of origin list as well. “I had to attend a similar conference some months ago in Islamabad, but that was postponed, because of political turmoil there,” he said. Though, I had gone to UK from India in 1971, but my ancestors lived in Rawalpindi so I claim both countries and want them to live peacefully.
Swaraj, who was reportedly taken a back initially gave a detailed briefing to these groups denying any bias or rising insecurity against minority community in India. She called such incidents an exaggeration. The minister also counted a number of initiatives launched by the government for the welfare of minority community. She quoted PM Modi’s speech, which mentioned that India’s message of Sarba Dharma Samabhaba (religious harmony) was an answer to the growing radicalism and extremism in the world.
- Fuel prices revised in Sri Lanka May 31, 2023
- Bruno Divakara arrested May 31, 2023
- Sri Lanka’s Central Bank warns general public over 8 pyramid-type schemes May 31, 2023
- Sri Lankan Rupee appreciates against U.S. Dollar May 31, 2023
- Chinese reaffirms support for Sri Lanka’s economic recovery May 31, 2023
- Sri Lanka’s Central Bank to hold rates as inflation stays high May 31, 2023
- Sri Lanka to initiate new online passport application system May 30, 2023
Lord shst not Conservative MP should make the britisg government responsible for the movement of Indians between the south Pactic and east aftrica to further British colonial interests as frced labor. There is no historical record of as to how many millions were forced out and how many survived this relocation over the years. The role of the Indians ib the african continent is not clear but they enjoyed benefits denied to the native populations were did not enjoy the exclusive rights enjoyed by the white colonists.
Indians living in East Africa soon after liberation were alloqwd to be assimilated by the British but quite a lot were left behind. Like the muslims left behind in India during partition. Manifestation of partition create East and wast Pakistan adminisgtered by West Pakistan. Even the movement of people from east pakistan to Myanmar happened during British occupation.
The problems created through British colonialism is complex and is beyond resolution and in certain areas ethnic cleansing is inevitanle if the minorities fail to get assimilated into the population regardless where the minorities. Rgere is no political solution to the problem whether its USA europe or africa the problem is obvious and no amount of polyicaick no building walls would contain it.
One time British Prime Minister Enoch powel;; frecast that the then minority popopulations in UK would exceed the nayive population. Even if Mr Trimp find the money to build the wall to keeep out South Americams they would by about 2050 will control the legislature.These problems will not be reolved even with minority majprties as was demonstrate by what is happening in Fiji
In Sri Lanka franchise is universal even then problems are created by the minorities for they want to maintain their identities and demanding minoriyiy rights and advocated by un. The rusians and the Chinese do not entratin minorite along with renegade nations like North Korea. Arab countries take in millions of minoroty populations and they have no tights as minorities
This denate is welcome it should be dynamic and opinions of Lord what not is the least desired in this debate
Blaming these problems on colonization is incorrect and a favorite excuse of Asians. There are other countries which were colonized but have moved beyond by developing standards of living which have effected all communities. But in almost all South Asian countries there are significant disparities in standards of living based on minority, gender, state. These countries also have rampant corruption in all levels of government which seeps down to every sphere of society. Politicians are not chosen for the positive contributions they make but for nepotism, cronyism, popularity, they are incapable or unwilling to do their duty, so the excuses start; colonization, religious/community issues. It’s a proven method among South Asian politicians to divert the population’s attention to things other than what a bad job their elected representatives are doing.
what bugged me was that Lord what not from rawalpindin to be the standard bearer to dpeak for the british when there are officials designated for the purpose. There are very many places that have manged to recober from the shackles of colonialism but south asian countries are not the models that could be emulated.
Britain was forced to concede south asian territories following world war II and where 1os of thousands served as canon fodder under the colonial flag.
Historically it is preposterous to debate on whatif would have happened if not for colonialism. But then before colonisation these nations did have a culture and a sustainable economy the likes of which are found in remote newguinea and the rain forests in south america to be discovered and catapultued into the nuclear age!
The irony is that those lected regardless of their color and shape are treated as honourable
I differ with Lord Ranbir Singh Suri (from Rawalpindi), representing Conservative Party in the UK House of Lords and the Blogger, Karen.
This Lord appears to be a ‘kalu suddha’ living in the Colonialists Land, adopting white man’s obnoxious attitudes towards the ‘natives’.
This Lord should go to Rawalpindi and work with Pakistani Opposition Leader (and former test cricket star) Imran Khan, to pursue freedom and justice in Pkiastan.
Dear Lord, enough of the white man’s rubbish; if you love the white man, stay there in London and lick their bottoms.
Karen, your quote:
“These countries also have rampant corruption in all levels of government which seeps down to every sphere of society. Politicians are not chosen for the positive contributions they make but for nepotism, cronyism, popularity, they are incapable or unwilling to do their duty, so the excuses start; colonization, religious/community issues. “.
Corruption is part of our social fabric, all citizens from bottom up to the big Leader, when we wake up in the morning, our thoughts are where and how we can ‘steal’ some wealth. That is part of our psyche; we cannot get rid of it. In fact, it was left behind by the Colonialists who invaded our land and stole our wealth.
Politicians are chosen because they command immense wealth, a portion of which they share with us during elections to gain our vote. Anything wrong with that, Karen? After all, we practice true democracy; the politician who bribes us most, gets the vote.
Replying to your comment Paul, you seem like one of the few Sri Lankans who are happy with the current state of our Country, good for you. I don’t think most will agree it’s ok for politicians to bribe voters with money, contracts etc., I disagree that stealing is part of the Sri Lankan psyche. Sri Lankans are no different from the ‘white man’ you mention, or any other race for that matter. We are not born rogues. There are hundreds of Sri Lankans living in other countries who are exemplary citizens. The mentality is different here because they know they can get away with it, because they see it happening from the very people elected to lead and to set an example, and sometimes they have to because our so called leaders have been so great at developing the standard of living. We have been an independent Country for 70 years, with all the same resources that existed before colonization. All decisions since then were made by Sri Lankan ‘leaders’. Are we going to use the same excuses for the next 70 years. Poor us.
Excellent comment, Paul.
When Britain was ‘ruling the seas’, it woke up each morning to target some frail country in the World to invade and steal wealth.
They brought this approach to our land and left behind a legacy of stealing and exploitation.
The ‘natives’ incorporated this approach in their social fabric.
We have been enjoying the legacy left behind by the colonialists since 1948.
As Paul says, “when we wake up in the morning, our thoughts are where and how we can ‘steal’ some wealth”.
Thank you, Great Britain, for training us; please don’t complain now.
Dear Mr. Nandana Paliyeguru, Spot on. When the British left (they had to because USA never backed to keep so called coloneys after II world war) they kept their system in Sri Lanka. Most of the leaders who ruled in post indipendence era are produts of ‘Suddas’ system (in this case their education institutes). DS, SWRD, Dudley, Daha, JR, Sirima, Chandrika, RW, Kothalawala all are products of Suda’s system.