British Indians Oppose Formation Of A Gujarati Parliament Group
Photo : UK MP Gareth Thomas
LONDON (IANS) – British Indian organizations have objected to the newly-formed parliamentary group for Gujaratis, calling it divisive, and an attack on the unity of the British Indian community.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for British Gujaratis is chaired, and was set up last month by UK MP Gareth Thomas with support from MPs from the House of Commons and peers.
In a letter to Thomas, the Friends of India Society International (FISI), an organization that works towards strengthening ties between India and the UK, said it is deeply perturbed to learn about the newly formed APPG for British Gujaratis.
Similar sentiments have been expressed in a series of letters issued by groups such as the Hindu Forum of Britain (HFB), British Sikh Association and the National Association of Patidar Samaj – which represents the British Gujarati community.
“We view this attempt to create an APPG solely for Gujaratis as an attack on the unity of the British Indian community and also on India that has eternally stood for unity in diversity,” FISI said, urging the office bearers to dissolve the group.
“Any organization that divides a community instead of uniting it has already defeated the object…,” Rami Ranger, a member of the House of Lords, and British Sikh Association wrote in a tweet.
“From our assessment, it has become clear that the vast majority of Hindu/ Gujarati/Indian organizations have not been consulted. Had this basic first step taken place then it would have become abundantly clear that the said APPG Gujarati commanded no confidence and is rejected by Gujaratis and the Indian diaspora in general,” a letter from HFB President Trupti Patel said.
Members of APPG for Gujaratis, include Conservative MP Bob Blackman, Labour MP Navendu Mishra, Conservative MP Shailesh Vara, Liberal Democrat peer Lord Dholakia and Labour MP Virendra Sharma.
The group aims to raise issues and concerns of the community and provide them and Parliament with a better two-way consultation process to inform improved decision-making.
The Gujarati population in the UK is over 800,000 and is mostly concentrated in metropolitan areas like Greater London, East Midlands, West Midlands, Lancashire, and Yorkshire.
Most Gujaratis arrived in the UK during a huge migration wave in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s mainly from India and East African Countries.
The public launch of APPG for British Gujaratis will take place on April 25 inside the Houses of Parliament, where invited guests will include community and business leaders, representatives of temples, charities and groups from the Gujarati community.
The public launch will also coincide with Gujarat Day.