British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday came up with a bizarre reply when asked a question on the farmers’ protest in India. Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, British Sikh Labour MP, asked one of his previous Twitter statements on the issue in the House of Commons during the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) session.
“Many constituents, especially those emanating from Punjab and other parts of India, and I were horrified to see footage of water cannons, teargas and brute force being used against peacefully protesting farmers. However, it was heart-warming to see those very farmers feeding those forces who had been ordered to beat or suppress them. What indomitable spirit and it takes a special kind of people to do that,?” news agency PTI reported quoting the Opposition lawmaker.
“So, will the Prime Minister (Johnson) convey to the Indian Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) our heartfelt anxieties, our hopes for a speedy resolution to the current deadlock and does he agree that everyone has a fundamental right to peaceful protest,?” he questioned Johnson, as reported by PTI.
The British PM in his brief response went on to address a completely unrelated matter instead. He seemed to confuse two separate issues when he reiterated the UK government’s stance that any dispute between India and Pakistan was for the two countries to settle bilaterally.
Johnson said, “Our view is that of course, we have serious concerns about what is happening between India and Pakistan but these are pre-eminently matters for those two governments to settle and I know that he appreciates that point,” said Johnson.
Dhesi, who looked visibly perplexed, was quick to take to social media once again as he posted the exchange on Twitter, adding, “But it might help if our PM actually knew what he was talking about!?”
The UK government has so far refused to be drawn into the ongoing protests in India, with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) saying the matter of handling protests was an internal one, as per PTI.
“The police handling of protests is a matter for the government of India,” an FCDO spokesperson said last week, following a letter initiated by Dhesi and signed by 35 other UK MPs over the issue.
Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana and several other states have been protesting on various borders of Delhi since November 26, seeking repeal of the three farm laws enacted in September.
Dubbing these laws as “anti-farmer”, these farmers claim that the newly enacted legislation would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the “mercy” of big corporations. However, the government has maintained that the new laws will bring farmers better opportunities and usher in new technologies in agriculture.
with additional inputs from news agency PTI