UK Parliament motion flags Hinduphobia concerns

UK Parliament motion flags Hinduphobia concerns
Courtesy: Brian Bumby | Moment via Getty Images

British Indian politician Navendu Mishra, the Opposition Labour Party MP for Stockport, has tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM) in Parliament to celebrate the community’s contributions in Britain and flag concerns around racism and hate crimes such as Hinduphobia.

An EDM, a method used by MPs in Britain to draw Parliament’s attention to a particular issue, has been sponsored by fellow British Indian Labour MP Virendra Sharma and also Barry Gardiner, among others. Among the cross-party backing so far for the motion tabled this week include signatures from Conservative Party MP Bob Blackman, Plaid Cymru’s Ben Lake and Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) MP Jim Shannon.

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The EDM reads: “That this House welcomes the contributions of Indians to British society; condemns the racism they face on a daily basis; calls on key institutions to urgently address this type of prejudice; recognises the 1.3 million Indians who fought for Britain during WWI [World War I] and have contributed greatly to all levels of society over the past century; pays tribute to the thousands of British Indians who work in the NHS and have served the nation tirelessly throughout the covid-19 outbreak; acknowledges research by the 1928 Institute which revealed that 80 per cent of British Indians have faced prejudice because of their Indian identity, with Hinduphobia the most prevalent; abhors the use of dog whistle language including the widespread use of phrases, such as Indian variant, which proliferates anti-Indian racism on social media and in wider society; and calls on the government to take steps to urgently address this worrying rise.”

The 1928 Institute research referenced, entitled ‘Identity, Political Representation & Policy Priorities: The British Indian Experience’, found that 80 per cent of respondents experienced prejudice as a result of their Indian identity within the past 24 months. Of that, the largest type of prejudice reported was Hinduphobia.

“It is critical that anti-Indian racism, in particular Hinduphobia, is acknowledged and addressed by institutions such as media houses and universities. We recommend that this type of discrimination should be framed in a similar, zero-tolerance manner to that of Islamophobia and Antisemitism,” said the report released last month.

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The think tank’s study, which includes the responses of over 2,320 British Indians, was intended to focus on lived experiences and the empirical evidence collected for it revealed a diversity of migration histories, identities, and political priorities.

Deana Uppal, Filmmaker and philanthropist, said: “I welcome the findings of this report and I hope that we can organise effectively to take on the big issues of our times, ranging from Climate Change to Poverty.

“However, closer to home we still must tackle social ills such as all forms of racism, including Hinduphobia."

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