A new All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for British Gujaratis, which has proved controversial with large sections of the diaspora since its launch in April, is under fire again this week over what has been dubbed a “misrepresentation” of the situation over direct flights between London and Ahmedabad.
The National Council of Gujarati Organisations (NCGO) UK issued a statement expressing concerns over the APPG for British Gujaratis launching a campaign for the London-Ahmedabad route.
“It is important to note that there already exist direct flights between London and Ahmedabad. This was as a direct result of action taken by NCGO (UK) several years ago. The APPG British Gujaratis are misrepresenting the current situation and creating undue concern and confusion within the community in their attempt to hijack the issue,” reads the NCGO UK statement.
Reiterating its previously voiced concerns over the new APPG, the group adds: “This APPG was created against the wishes of the vast majority of British Gujaratis and without any proper consultation with the community.
“The Gujarati diaspora considers this action to be divisive and a direct attack on the rights of the Gujarati community… The NCGO (UK) reiterates its demand that this unwanted and divisive APPG British Gujaratis be dissolved immediately.”
APPG Chair, Opposition Labour Party MP for Harrow West in London Gareth Thomas, said the campaign for London-Ahmedabad flights came as many in the community said they want to see more direct flights on offer for travel from the UK to Gujarat, especially in the lead up to the cricket World Cup in India later this year.
Thomas said: “In a cost-of-living crisis, having more flight options, to enable people to travel to see relatives and loved ones, would be very helpful. The APPG for British Gujaratis therefore organised a meeting in Parliament to discuss this issue.
“The Cricket World Cup, with so many matches taking place in Ahmedabad, will I hope also help to excite interest from the aviation industry to put on more flights to see key matches, particularly the Cricket World Cup Final.
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“I hope more airlines will recognise the considerable community interest that there is long term here in the UK for more direct flights from other UK airports, not just Gatwick, to India’s fastest growing state.”