The Chennai 6 – an update

I recently wrote on this blog about the British ex-servicemen currently held on trumped up charges in an Indian gaol.

Further to an email to Foreign Secretary and Uxbridge MP Boris Johnson, I recently received the following reply to my enquiry about what the British government is doing to secure their release…

 

Dear Mr Dixon

Thanks you for your email of 6 October about the six former soldiers currently detained in India.

While we are unable to interfere in another country’s legal processes, I can reassure you that since the men’s detention we have regularly made clear to the Indian authorities our interest in this case. Each time we raise this case, we stress the importance of seeing progress and make clear the enormous strain and financial difficulty the ongoing separation is causing the men and their families.

The Prime Minister last raised the case with Indian Prime Minister Modi when they met in July at the G20 in Hamburg. I raised the case with the Indian Minister of External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj, in August and the the Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Rt Hon Mark Field MP, raised the case with the Indian Minister of State for External Affairs, Mr J Akbar, when he visited India in October. He also visited the men in detention and subsequently met with families in London on the fourth anniversary of the men’s arrest on 12 October.

The Data Protection Act of 1998 prevents me from discussing the details of the consular assistance we are providing to any British national without their express permission, but I can assure you that while the case continues and the men remain in detention, consular officials continue to support them, focusing on the men’s welfare.

They take account of their individual needs and have secured significant improvements in their detention conditions.

The Right Hon Boris Johnson MP

 

My thanks to Boris Johnson for his reply and we hope to see these brave men home soon

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The Chennai 6 – A story you will not have heard

We frequently see stories of MP’s taking up the cases of people imprisoned in foreign lands and their human rights.

Hayes MP John McDonnell was very vocal over the case of Moazzam Begg, a man he claimed was wrongly imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay after being ‘picked up’ in Afghanistan and who, after his release, received a big compensation payout from HM Government.

But how many have you seen campaigning for the release of the ‘Chennai 6’, six forces veterans who were employed by a private security firm to guard shipping traversing the pirate filled waters off the Horn of Africa? Imprisoned in India on trumped up charges, their only crime being to ensure safe passage for valuable merchant ships, these men have been mostly ignored by the media in the UK. Here is the story of one of the men involved

I have been keeping a close eye on the case and spreading the word and received the following heartbreaking update by email recently from Yvonne Machugh –

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UKIP – Job done or only just started?

With the resignation of both Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless, many in the media are now saying that UKIP has achieved its goal and it is no longer relevant on the political landscape.

Indeed, the aforementioned Mr Carswell has been gloating on his Twitter feed about a council byelection in his area where the Tories have taken a seat from UKIP , claiming that many Kippers think ‘job done’.

So, what is the reality? With the triggering of Article 50 and the initial founding reason for UKIP (Leaving the EU) looking like a reality, what have UKIP got left to offer?

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A reply to Cllr Janet Gardner

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In the Uxbridge Gazette on 23rd November, Cllr Gardner wrote in to the letters page with a piece called ‘Remembrance and our town’s solidarity’. I reproduce the letter below –

I would like to thank PC Emma Reed and her Police colleagues for organising yet again an event in Hayes for the community that live in Hayes and to again prove to the narrow minded critics of Hayes that rather than be a fragmented town as is often claimed, we are in fact ‘in solidarity’.

The event was conducted on the frontage of the Social Centre in Botwell Lane with prayers said by some of the local clergy and a PCSO, the local faith centres were represented by members of their congregations – Christians,Muslims,Buddhists,Sikhs,atheists, all observed the two minute silence.

Over 100 people attended the event, some with their little children,in remembrance of those who have died and are still dying in wars all over the world, and of course with emphasis on those who are affected by wars, many of who live alongside us in the community that is Hayes. Something we all tend to forget.

Children from the local school attended and I am sure some have family members who know first hand the horrendous effect of war.

So again I would like to thank the local Police teams and Emma especially for their ability to make many of the cynics realise that people who live in Hayes are all part of one community and not just many diverse groups living in isolation.

Firstly, can I express my whole hearted agreement that we are all one community – indeed, I have said as much on leaflets we have put out across Hayes. My grandfather served in the Western Desert and Italy during World War 2 and fought alongside Australians, Sikhs and Gurkhas to rid us of the Nazi menace – brave men all.

But a number of things about her letter have caused me to write this reply.

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EU Referendum – Time to show our fighting spirit

Today saw the official launch of the UKIP campaign to educate people on the failings of the EU in the run up to the promised Referendum on our membership. (Below)

As Nigel Farage rightly pointed out, those who wish to keep us in the EU have been quick off the mark and are already getting increased airtime on TV and in the columns of the national newspapers. Richard Branson has been very vocal about our need to remain a part of the superstate, even suggesting that we need to re look at joining the Euro currency which has brought so much misery to the peoples of Europe, most notably Greece – Interestingly enough, he lives in the Caribbean and recently moved his Virgin headquarters to non-EU Switzerland!

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