LONDON: A Tory backbencher parliamentarian known for his strong links to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government hosted an event in British Parliament attended by an ‘anti-Muslim extremist’, who preaches the supremacy of Hindutva and disregards Muslims openly.
Bob Blackman, who also sits on the communities and local government committee, hosted Tapan Ghosh, an Indian Hindu-nationalist at a Commons event, “Tolerating the Intolerant”.
Speaking on the alarming development, Labour MP for Bradford West Naz Shah said that Ghosh holds ‘abhorrent views’ about Muslims, she added that parliament should not be used as a platform to propagate and legitimise hate and extremist views.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd along with fellow Cabinet ministers Priti Patel, Damian Green and Sajid Javid, attended the Diwali event in the Commons at which Ghosh appeared and expressed his vile views.
Reportedly Ghosh attended two events in Parliament last week, which Blackman hosted in his role as chairman of the all party parliamentary group (APPG) for British Hindus.
Raising a point of order in the Commons, Naz Shah said: “According to many of today’s news outlets, (Blackman) hosted anti-Muslim extremist Tapan Ghosh in committee room 12 last Wednesday.
“Ghosh holds abhorrent views, is on record for calling upon the United Nations to control the birth rate of Muslims, praising the genocide of Rohingya Muslims in Burma and also said Muslims should be forced to leave their religion if they come to a western country.
“Only this Monday Ghosh was pictured with UK far-right extremist leader Tommy Robinson.
“It seems incredible to me that any member would think it would be acceptable to host a meeting with this individual, let alone invite him to our House of Commons.”
Addressing Commons Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle, the Bradford West MP Naz Shah went on: “Can you please advise us all on our responsibilities to protect everything that this House stands for, and not allow it to be used as a platform to propagate and legitimise hate and extremist views”.
In reply, Harrow East MP Blackman, who is known for links with the overseas arm of the RSS — the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) — in the UK, said: “Tapan Ghosh was invited by the National Council of Hindu Temples to attend that meeting and present evidence of physical attacks, rapes and false marriages and false conversions that have taken place in west Bengal and other places. I have made clear, and the National Council of Hindu Temples has made clear, that it was only in that capacity as presenting that evidence that that individual was invited to this House.
A Home Office spokesman, in a statement outside the Commons, said: “The Home Secretary fundamentally disagrees with Ghosh’s views on Islam. The Home Secretary accepted an invitation from the Hindu Forum of Britain to attend an event in Parliament last week to celebrate Diwali. She did not speak to Mr Ghosh and was not present when he spoke.”
The Muslim Council of Britain said in a statement: “It is astounding that a Conservative MP seems to have welcomed to Parliament with open arms a man who trades in propagating hatred against Muslims in India. Mr Ghosh is a founder of a far-right party in that country and in this year we have heard of shocking murders against Muslims, very often linked to the kind of anti-Muslim rhetoric emanating from people like Mr Ghosh. If we are to tackle extremism as the government has stated it wants to, then we should not see it emanating on its own doorstep and apparently condoned by its own MPs.”
MP Blackman is known for his anti-Pakistan and anti-Muslim views. He has hosted events in British parliament against Pakistan and openly insulted the people of Kashmir last year when he linked their independence struggle with extremism. He has been condemned by fellow Conservative MPs for his extremist views. He has also frequently spoken against the integrity and geographical position of Pakistan on behalf of various Indian governments.