NEW DELHI: India on Monday conveyed its ‘strong concern and resentment’ to the UK over some British lawmakers raising the Kashmir issue in its Parliament at the behest of MPs of Pakistani origin, saying that this amounted to divergence from its stated policy of non-inteference in such matters.
At a delegation-level meeting between minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju and the visiting British minister of state for immigration Brandon Lewis, the former also raised India’s request for extradition of 13 fugitives based in UK, the most prominent ones being liquor baron Vijay Mallya and former IPL boss Lalit Modi.
A source said Lewis informed Rijiju that Mallya’s extradition hearings in UK would begin December 4 and that he would remain on conditional bail.
During their meeting, Rijiju is believed to have forcefully taken up the issue of anti-India activities by pro-Khalistan and Kashmiri separatist elements in UK. The Indian side underlined how “Mirpuris and Pakistanis” continued to engage in anti-India propaganda in UK. Importantly, Rijiju brought up how then MP David Nutall had on January 19, 2017, along with Nusrat Ghani, Fiona Mactaggart and Robert Flello debated and approved a motion on Kashmir at the behest of Pakistan-origin MPs. He also drew Lewis’ attention to shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry’s speech last month that the UK would incorporate its concerns over alleged human rights violations in Kashmir into any post-Brexit deal with India.
Rijiju, while requesting the UK not to allow anti-India propaganda from its soil, made it clear that Kashmir was an inalienable and integral part of India.
Also raising the activities of pro-Khalistan elements based in UK, who it said were in touch with Khalistani leaders based in Pakistan, India said Britain should not be encouraging them, especially with its home affairs running a counter-radicalisation programme. To this, however, British side said it was bound by its liberal policy that encouraged free speech.
Rijiju pressed for cooperation from Britain in extradition of 13 individuals, including Mallya, former IPL boss Lalit Modi and cricket bookie Sanjiv Chawla, and processing legal assistance requests relating to 16 criminals. India, on its part, assured UK of cooperation on the extradition of Mohammad Abdul Shakur, wanted in the UK on murder charges.
Among the fugitives whose extradition India is pressing for are Rajesh Kapoor, accused of kidnapping his brother Deepak Kapoor’s daughter, Tiger Hanif, who is wanted in connection with two bomb attacks in Gujarat in 1993, Atul Singh, Raj Kumar Patel, Jatiender Kumar Angurala and Asha Rani Angurala.
New Delhi has also agreed to issue emergency certificates for six months, instead of the current three-month norm, to Indians in the UK whose travel documents are lost or damaged.
Rijiju on Monday raised the issue of social security of thousands of temporary Indian professionals working in the UK. He took up the issue strongly with Lewis as it affects thousands of workers from India. However, no decision on the issue has been taken, according to an official.
A social security totalisation agreement with the UK would exempt Indian professionals working there for short term from social security taxes if they paid such a tax in India, the official said.
Other issues that figured in the meeting included dependent visas, fraud phone calls to Indian nationals, distressed or abandoned Indian women, cybercrime etc.