NEW DELHI: Members in the Lok Sabha today expressed grave concern over hate crimes against Indians in the US, with opposition parties questioning Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “silence” on the matter and the government saying it was being “viewed seriously”.
Opposition members asked the government to spell out in Parliament how it plans to deal with the issue, prompting Home Minister Rajnath Singh to say that it has taken a serious note of these incidents and later assured that steps will be taken to ensure that “Indians abroad feel safe.”
Singh also said the government will make a statement in Parliament next week.
In the recent weeks, at least two Indians have been killed in suspected cases of hate crime in the US.
After Speaker Sumitra Mahajan disallowed adjournment notices given by several opposition members to raise the issue, they took up the matter during the Zero Hour.
Leader of Congress Mallikarjun Kharge accused the government of “failure” in raising the issue with the US, saying the recent spate of racial attacks was deeply disturbing and Modi and his government had “failed”, as neither have they condemned the incidents, nor taken up the issue with the US at a high level.
“Why has the Modi government maintained a silence? The Prime Minister tweets on every issue. Why has he kept quiet over such a serious matter,” he said.
Taking a dig at the Prime Minister, Kharge said Modi is seen “hugging foreign leaders and sitting on a swing with Chinese President Xi Jinping” but has not taken up such an important issue.
Saugata Roy (Trinamool Congress) said the government does not seem to be interested in protecting the interests of Indians in the US.
“It is strange that our voluble, articulate prime minister is keeping silent,” he said, adding that the government should show “gumption and guts to stand up to bullies in the US”.
Both Kharge and Roy said hate crimes have seen a rise since Donald Trump took over as the US President.
Bhartruhari Mahtab (BJD) said the government should come out with an advisory for Indian origin people living in the US, warning them about unsafe places in that country in the same way the US has put out a travel advisory, warning its citizens against visiting India.
Responding to the short discussion during which several members voiced their concern over the issue, the Home Minister said the government views the concern “seriously” and “all steps will be taken to ensure that Indians abroad feel safe.”
He said External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj was unwell and the government will issue a detailed statement on the issue next week.–PTI