The groups who have been campaigning in London against the reported visit by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on the invitation of Barry Gardiner, Labour MP and Chairman of Labour Friends of India, took their protest right up to Mr. Gardiner’s office at Wembly on Monday.
Held under the banner of the Asian Solidarity Forum, representatives from several British Asian groups and local trade unions held a spirited demonstration, undeterred by London’s first day of wet and cold weather after an unusually long summer. The demonstrators demanded a formal withdrawal of the invitation by Mr Gardiner.
Mr. Gardiner came out to meet the protestors and spent several minutes arguing with his detractors. He said that Mr. Modi had declined the invitation as he had other preoccupations, but stoutly defended his decision to invite him.
“It was brave of Barry Gardiner to face the demonstrators and engage with them,” Gautam Appa, Professor Emeritus from the London School of Economics who was at the protest told The Hindu. “Modi has declined the invitation because he knows there will be a lot of bad publicity from the Dawood family of Bradford, UK, whose three members were murdered in the riots. He had to cancel his visits twice before in 2005 and 2009. This time the family is planning to ask the Attorney General to issue a warrant for his arrest for breach of human rights.”