NEW DELHI: The issue of “racism” against Indian student Rashmi Samant, who had to step down as Oxford University Student’s Union president over criticism of her old social media posts, had a loud echo in Rajya Sabha on Monday with MPs across party lines raising it, leading EAM S Jaishankar to say that the matter would be taken up with the UK “with great candour when required”.
Jaishankar said India, “as the land of Mahatma Gandhi”, could never turn its eyes away from racism anywhere, “particularly so when it is in a country where we have such a large diaspora”.
We will always champion fight against racism: EAM
Jaishankar assured, “As a friend of the UK, we also have concerns about its reputational impact,” he said, adding that India will monitor these developments very closely and raise the matter when required. “We will always champion the fight against racism and other forms of intoleranace.”
Samant, hailing from Karnataka and a graduate student at Linacre College at Oxford University, had contested the Oxford University Students’ Union election and scored a landslide to become its first Indian woman president. However, she soon became an object of criticism and trolling due to some of her old social media posts, which were branded as “racist”. She finally resigned from the student’s body.
Raising the matter during Zero Hour. on Monday, BJP member Ashwini Vaishnav said the treatment meted out to Samant appeared to reflect continuation of attitudes and prejudices from the colonial area. “She persevered and overcame all the challenges to become the first Indian woman President of the Oxford Students’ Union. Shouldn’t have this diversity been celebrated…. instead she was cyberbullied to the point that she had to resign,” he noted.
In Rajya Sabha, Vaishnav received strong support from MPs cutting across party lines. “The treatment of migrants and their segregation in the UK on racial basis is very well known all over the world,” he said.
Help Indians regain jobs, India tells Gulf nations
Speaking in Parliament on developments related to welfare of Indians abroad, foreign minister S Jaishankar Monday on said India’s in touch with Gulf and other countries to help renew livelihoods of Indians who were rendered jobless because of Covid-19.
“Especially in the Gulf, there has been tremendous economic and social disruption that has impacted them. We have softened it somewhat but real challenges are there to be addressed. Let me assure the House that we take this as a priority,” he said in Lok Sabha.
“We are aware that there are problems of compensation, re-employment and reskilling that need solutions. And these are today the core of our agenda with our partner governments,” he added.