UK: Why some British Indian Muslims are upset with their govt.
OT, October 24, 2012 10:08 IST
Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi’s international isolation of more than a decade has come to an end, thanks to British Prime Minister David Cameron. To bolster relation with Gujarat, the UK government has embraced the controversial BJP CM just two months ahead of the crucial Assembly elections in the state.
For Modi the move would have not come at a better time. Welcoming it and inviting the British government to participate in ‘Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summit’ to be held in January 2013, the CM twitted on his account: “Der Aaye Durasta Aaye!! I welcome UK Govt’s step for active engagement and strengthening relations with Guj. God is Great.”
Since October 11, when UK announced its decision to end its no official contact policy with Modi, some prominent British Muslims of Indian origin, got deeply upset with the development.
The London-based activist wrote: “We are dismayed at the news of British Government’s failure to learn from history. We are aghast and appalled that like Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s unwise move to try to please Hitler in 1939 present Government has now decided to repeat a similar blunder and has gone out of its way to “engage” and “rehabilitate” Gujarat’s Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
“If this sounds exaggeration then please allow us to quote from the leaked report of British High Commission in India according to which the pogroms in Gujarat in 2002, ‘had all the hallmarks of ethnic cleansing and that reconciliation between Hindus and Muslims is impossible while the chief minister remains in power.”
The letter further mention: “Far from being spontaneous” this massacre, “was planned, possibly months in advance, carried out by radical Hindu organisation with the support of the state government.” (Emphasis added) (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/1951471.stm)
British Indian Muslims ignored
Three British nationals were also killed in the 2002 pogrom. And since then the vibrant and peace loving Muslim community from Gujarat living for ages in Britain had mounted pressure on their government not to engage with Modi. In 2005 the controversial CM was denied diplomatic visa to visit London.
What has happened in the last seven years that forced Britain to embrace Modi? May be economy must have played an important role. With UK’s economy slowing down, the government needs investment and nothing better to have a good relation with one of the most industrialized states of India, keeping aside the human rights issue, according to some observers.
Not endorsing Modi: Bevan
However, the Muslim community is not convinced with Bevan’s argument. They strongly feel that the government practices double standards in foreign policy.
The CIM wrote: “This is not the first time when British Government has shown such open weakness. We are on record to have requested present as well as previous governments not to allow into Britain Hindutwa leaders who had been involved in the demolition of Babri Mosque and the massacre of Muslims in Gujarat but not a single time has any one of them been denied entry into Britain.
Many Indian Muslims feel that this is just brazen contradiction except the triumph of economic interests over principles of justice and fair play.
“If “engagement” and “rehabilitation” is the logic then such a flexibility would have been far more useful in Iraq and Afghanistan and would have saved the lives of British soldiers, British interests and as well as ordinary citizens in those countries. We really find ourselves at a loss and have no words to express our utter disappointment, frustration and therefore very humbly request you to review your decision,” Zeena wrote.
CAPTION: Muslims offer prayer in a London mosque (Photo via Guardian)
(With inputs from a letter written by Chairman of Council of Indian Muslims—UK (CIM) Munaf Zeena to Foreign Secretary William Jefferson Hague protesting against his government’s decision to “engage” with Modi.)
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