External affairs minister S Jaishankar on Monday, March 15, said that India would take up incidents of racism in the UK with the British government.
S Jaishankar made the remarks while responding to concerns raised in Rajya Sabha by BJP MP, Ashwini Vaishnaw, who contended that racism and cyber-bullying forced Rashmi Samant, the first Indian woman elected president of the Oxford University Student Union, to quit her post.
“What I do want to say is that we have strong ties with the UK; we will take up such matters with great candour when required. We will monitor these developments very, very closely,” External affairs minister S Jaishankar said in his response to Ashwini Vaishnaw.
“We will raise it when required, and we will always champion the fight against racism and other forms of intolerance,” S Jaishankar said.
“I do want to say that as the land of Mahatma Gandhi, we can never ever turn our eyes away from racism, wherever it is, particularly when it is in a country where we have such a large diaspora. As a friend of the UK, we also have concerns about its reputational impact,” he added.
It is to be noted that Rashmi Samant quit as president of the Oxford University Student Union after the emergence of old social media posts that were deemed to be “racist” and “insensitive” by groups representing Asian and Jewish students.
She initially offered an apology for the social media posts, some dating back to 2017, but later stepped down as president-elect after facing continued criticism. Since returning to India, Samant has claimed she was unfairly targeted.
Rashmi Samant now feels that she has been unfairly targeted, and even her family has been unnecessarily dragged into the whole affair by Internet bullies, including a faculty member.