India: Political Prisoners

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 8th March 2016.

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Photo of Mary Robinson Mary Robinson Conservative, Cheadle

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent reports he has received on the case of Bapu Surat Singh Khalsa; and if he will raise that case with his counterpart in the Indian government.

Photo of Hugo Swire Hugo Swire The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office

We are aware of Surat Singh Khalsa’s hunger strike and continue to follow developments. The Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Witney (Mr Cameron) discussed human rights with Prime Minister Modi during his visit to the UK in November 2015. Mr Modi assured him that his government in India remains committed to diversity and fundamental freedoms. Mr Modi also met a delegation of UK Sikh leaders during his visit and discussed a range of issues affecting the Sikh community in India. I discussed concerns about minority rights with the Indian Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh in November 2015 and the British High Commission in India regularly discusses the treatment of minorities, including the Sikh community, with the Indian National Commission for Minorities and with state governments across India. Prime Minister Modi's visit, including his address at Wembley, highlighted the contribution that Sikh and other religious minority communities make to India, and to UK-India relations. Relations between the Sikh community in India and the Indian government are ultimately an internal matter, but we encourage both parties to resolve their differences through dialogue.

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