Hinduphobia: ‘No place for Hinduphobia in Britain”: How UK PM Keir Starmer wooed British Hindus | World News

Hinduphobia: ‘No place for Hinduphobia in Britain”: How UK PM Keir Starmer wooed British Hindus | World News

One of the key aspects of Keir Starmer’s steerage of the Labour party, as it lifted itself from the debris of the Corbyn era, has been a return to the centre of politics. Starmer understood that to win again, Labour would have to shrug off its image under Corbyn where it had managed to alienate a host of different groups, including but not limited to, Hindus, Jews, white people and working-class folks.Despite nine years of the Tories stumbling from one crisis to another, Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour somehow managed to lose catastrophically in the 2019 General Election. One group that it appeared to have deeply upset were traditional Labour voters: British Hindus.
Under Jeremy Corbyn, Labour had harboured a notorious reputation of being “anti-Hindu”. It was on par with the anti-Hindu sentiment that had become the norm in liberal publications like The Guardian that depicted Priti Patel as a cow with a ring in her nose.

But perhaps the biggest misstep was the ill-fated Kashmir Declaration, when the Labour Party under Corbyn passed a motion declaring there was “humanitarian crisis in the region” and asserted that “people of Kashmir had the right to self-determination”. It called for deployment of international monitors, and it was too much. It quickly put out a clarification by Corbyn but it was too little too late both for New Delhi and the Indian community.
In 2019, Rajesh Agrawal (who lost in the Desi Royal Rumble of Leicester East seat to Shivani Raja), “As the co-chair of the Labour Friends of India, I am clear that abrogation of article 370 of the Indian constitution is a matter for Indian parliament. It is not for Britain or the Labour Party to intervene. As a party of government, the Labour Party must work to build on the decade’s old friendship with India and the Indian community in the UK. Glad to see that the Labour Party recognises that the language in the recent motion on Kashmir was unhelpful.”
Many experts believe this as was inflexion point time when the Indian diaspora started shifting to the Conservative party.
There are, according to the 2021 census, 1.8 million British Indians of which almost a million are Hindus.

This led to a group emerging called British Hindu Indian Votes Matter that canvassed against Labour’s “anti-India” and “anti-Hindu” sentiment.
Since taking over, Keir Starmer has been vocal about repairing UK-India relationships and that with British Hindus. He had said during a meeting with Labour Friends of India: “Any constitutional issues in India are a matter for the Indian Parliament and Kashmir is a bilateral issue for India and Pakistan to resolve peacefully.”
The 2024 Labour election manifesto promised to seek a “new strategic partnership with India, including a free trade agreement, as well as deepening cooperation in areas like security, education, technology and climate change”.
At the India Global Forum, Starmer had said: “I have a clear message for you all today: this is a changed Labour Party. What my Labour government will seek with India is a relationship based on our shared values of democracy and aspiration. That will seek a free trade agreement (FTA), we share that ambition, but also a new strategic partnership for global security, climate security, economic security.”
Starmer’s Hindu outreach in Great Britain has also been very vocal. Ahead of the election, while visiting the Shree Swaminarayan Mandir in Kingsbury where he said, “there is absolutely no place for Hinduphobia in Britain” and that Labour would “build a new strategic partnership with India”.
His speech began with “Jai Swaminarayan” and praised British Hindus for “their rich Hindu heritage and deep commitment to Britain’s future”.
He had promised: “If we’re elected next week, we will strive to govern in the spirit of seva to serve you and a world in need. Strengthened by Hindu values, you’re not only contributing massively to our economy, you’re bringing innovation and expertise that keeps us competitive on the global market.”
He backed it up by saying Labour had a “record number of Hindu candidates” and said the entire Labour party would stand “firmly behind the Hindu community, representing your concerns, listening to your voice, working with you, on issues at home as well as on the global stage”.

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