Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL7820):
Question by Lord ALTON of Liverpool
To ask His Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of India regarding reports that, during violence against Christians and churches in 27 villages in Manipur State in May, Indian security services did not intervene as Christians were killed and forced to leave their homes. (HL7820)
Tabled on: 15 May 2023
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon:
The UK Government has a broad and deep partnership with the Government of India and we discuss all elements of our relationship. We remain committed to defending freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) for all and promoting respect and tolerance between communities. Any reports of discrimination against religious minorities are a matter for the Indian police and legal system. Where we have issues we raise them directly with the Government of India, including at Ministerial level. I regularly speak to the High Commissioner of India. Human rights forms part of that dialogue.
In the context of this wave of shocking attacks this reply from the Foreign Office betrays a complacency completely at variance with the scale of the attacks. If this was happening in the UK I would expect the Indian authorities to express their concern and we should now urgently express ours.
India is a great country, an important partner and ally. Friends need to talk straightforwardly and honestly to one another and not hide behind Foreign Office speak. As a leading authority on Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Freedom of Religion or Belief) has said to me “It’s comparable with what East India Company officials were saying 250 years ago. Don’t rock the trade boat. Plus ça change.”
Date and time of answer: 30 May 2023 at 16:58.