London: Reacting strongly to a debate held in the British Parliament on ‘safety of farmers’ and ‘press freedom’ in India, the High Commission of India in London said, “We deeply regret that rather than a balanced debate, false assertions without substantiation or facts were made, casting aspersions on the largest functioning democracy in the world and its institutions.” The Indian mission pointed out that foreign media, including British media, had been present and witnessed the events surrounding the farmers’ protests in India first-hand and therefore any “question of lack of freedom of the media in India does not arise. Also Read - India Records Over 1.6 Lakh Cases in Last 24 Hours, Surpasses Brazil to Become Second Most COVID-hit Country After US
Notably, farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at several Delhi border points, including Tikri, Singhu and Ghazipur, since November 28, demanding a complete repeal of the three farm laws and a legal guarantee on the minimum support price for their crops. Also Read - Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju Inaugurates Rowing Centre in Srinagar
Meanwhile, the mission said it would normally refrain from commenting on an internal discussion involving a small group of honourable parliamentarians in a limited quorum. “However, when aspersions are cast on India by anyone, irrespective of their claims of friendship and love for India or domestic political compulsions, there is a need to set the record straight,” the statement added. Also Read - FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Tournament Director Roma Khanna Resign
It said that a false narrative over farmers’ protest was sought to be developed even though the High Commission of India has been, over a period of time, taking care to inform all concerned about the issues raised in the petition.
Earlier on Monday, the British parliamentarians in a 90-minute debate had raised concerns over the “safety of farmers” and “press freedom” in India.
“The concerns will be raised with India when both Prime Ministers meet in person”, replied the UK government. The debate followed a petition initiated by Maidenhead Liberal Democrat leader Gurch Singh of Indian origin.
(With PTI Inputs)