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Days after the death of a farmer at the protest site in Khanauri Border, Indian-origin British MP Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi brought up the issue of the farm agitation and the death in British Parliament on Friday.

Dhesi, the UK’s first turbaned Sikh MP, expressed “serious concerns” and asked the Leader of the House if the British Government had raised the matter with India.

Dhesi is known for being outspoken on global Sikh issues. He had supported the last farmers’ agitation in 2020-21 too and questioned India’s human rights record.

“Many of my Slough constituents, including members of the Sikh community and local gurdwaras have written to me regarding their serious concern about the safety of protesting farmers in their attempt to march towards the Indian capital, New Delhi,” the Labour MP was saying in the British Parliament. He shared a video of the speech on X.

Shubhkaran Singh, a farmer in his 20s from Punjab’s Bhatinda was killed after the protesting farmers tried to rush towards the police barricades on the Khanauri border, between Punjab and Haryana on February 21.

“Yesterday, a protestor was killed during a reported standoff with the police, wherein the cause of death was a bullet wound to the head,” said Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi.

Though Dhesi said Subhkaran Singh died of a bullet injury, the reason and circumstances of his death haven’t been officially stated yet.

The UK Shadow Minister for Exports, Dhesi, also said that X was being forced by the Indian Government to take down handles of farm protest activists. He cited a BBC report to state that.

He also emphasised his concern for the “freedom of expression and the safety of protestors and their human rights”.

“So, does the LoH agree with me that freedom of expression and the safety of protestors and their human rights must be protected, and what representation has the government made to its Indian counterparts to that effect?” Minister Dhesi asked before he concluded his speech in Parliament.

This is not the first time that the British MP Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi made the headline for his stand on Indian issues.

Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi also flagged concerns after the Indian government in 2019 abrogated Article 370, which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

“Kashmir was put into lockdown a year ago today,” Dhesi wrote on X, a year after the action. “Kashmiris deserve peace and prosperity, not an ongoing crackdown,” Dhesi wrote on X, in August 2020.

During the farmer’s protest of 2020-21, Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi repeatedly voiced his concerns about the “use of water cannons, tear gas and brutal police force on farmers.

“Many constituents, especially those emanating from Punjab and other parts of India, and I were horrified to see footage of water cannons, tear gas and brute force being used against peacefully protesting farmers,” Dhesi said in the UK parliament in 2020.

Earlier this year, Dhesi called Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegation of the Indian government’s involvement in the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjhar, “concerning”.

Dhesi said many “anxious, angry and fearful Sikhs” contacted him after the escalation of the India-Canada row.

In August 2023, Dhesi was allegedly stopped for around two hours by immigration officials after he landed in Amritsar.

Though there was no official word about stopping the British MP, the sources said he was not carrying his Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card.

Published By:

Sushim Mukul

Published On:

Feb 23, 2024

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