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Rishi Sunak urged to discuss violence against Christians in India during G20 summit

by Kelly Valencia

The Prime Minister is being urged to mention the violence taking place in India’s north-eastern state of Manipur when he lands in New Delhi later this week.

G20 leaders are due to gather in India’s capital to discuss sustainable development and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, among other topics.

Since May, Manipur has faced escalating persecution, with thousands of people displaced and hundreds of homes, churches and religious colleges ransacked and burned to the ground.

An event in Parliament on Tuesday saw calls for the government to raise the issue with India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, during the G20 summit.

Organised by the APPG on India, together with several other Christian charities, the event saw attendees hear about the most recent developments in the region and calls for a more “adequate” response from the UK government.

David Campanale, author of the International Freedom of Religion or Belief Alliance (IRFBA) report on the Manipur violence and one of the panellists at the event, told Premier Christian News: “What we want to see is that before economic trade relations are settled, as Britain wants a trade deal post-Brexit with India, the British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak raises this question of the violation of fundamental rights and Manipur. We cannot sacrifice the rights and liberties of ordinary Indian citizens. We cannot turn a blind eye to the suffering that they're going through in order to land a trade deal.”

The Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Fiona Bruce, also spoke at the event. She said the response by the government so far has been “inadequate”. She also said her deputy had just travelled to India to, among other things, raise the profile of Freedom of Religion or Belief in this region.

Bruce was joined by Henrietta Blyth, CEO of Open Doors UK & Ireland, Tehmina Arora, Director of Advocacy (Asia) at  ADF International, Lord Alton of Liverpool and John Newton, senior press officer at Aid to the Church in Need.

The G20 summit takes place the second weekend of September.

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