A new All Party Parliamentary Group for British Hindus to help represent Hindus in the UK has been established.
MPs and Peers hope the group will help improve Government decisions about issues affecting the Hindu community.
Over 23 MPs and Lords have signed up to be a qualifying member within 2 days of the notice issued by the Hindu Lawyers Association (HLA).
The HLA, who will provide the secretariat to the APPG, will work with Temples, grassroots Hindu organisations, the business community, women and young people to ensure that their views are properly presented to the APPG for further consideration, debate and action.After a brief introduction from Bob Blackman informing the group that numerous attempts had been made over the years to set up an APPG for British Hindus which had failed and it was commendable that the HLA had now got this far in finally setting up the group.
The Members present at the AGM elected the office bearers of the APPG for British Hindus were Bob Blackman MP as Chairman, Virendra Sharma MP as Vice Chair, Matthew Offord MP as Vice Chair, Lord Dholakia as Vice Chair and Seema Malhotra MP as Secretary.
Bob Blackman MP said “I have been working towards the creation of a strong forum for British Hindus to interact with Parliament since being elected, so I am delighted that this cross-party group has now formed and is receiving a lot of support across the board.
“I look forward to hosting a lively programme of discussions and events which will provide a platform for the Hindu community to positively engage and find its voice within our political system”.
Lord Navnit Dholakia said “I am delighted to be associated with the All Party Parliamentary Group for British Hindus.
“The community can now project its work at the highest level in British Parliament. It has a proud record of peaceful co-existence and can highlight the social, political and economic contribution of its members. More importantly it can work with our other diverse communities to promote good citizenship.”
Virendra Sharma MP added, “The establishment of the new APPG for British Hindus is a significant step towards better representation of British Hindus in Parliament. I’m delighted to be involved in this important group which will raise awareness of Hindu beliefs in Parliament and work hard to increase Hindu engagement with Parliament.”
Mathew Offord MP said, “I am very pleased that the House of Commons has established the APPG for British Hindus. The creation is long overdue as there are several issues that need to be addressed and I look forward to seeking solutions with Parliamentary colleagues.”
Seema Malhotra MP concluded “This is a very important cross party initiative that will ensure that issues affecting the British Hindu community have a stronger voice in our Parliamentary debate.
“I am delighted to be a founding member and look forward to working with the British Hindu community on its programme of work, making our politics richer and more informed. This is the very essence of One Nation politics – ensuring all have a stake, and that the contributions of all are valued.
“The APPG for British Hindus will also have a key role in supporting the multi faith work led so well by many in the Hindu community and which builds community and understanding.”
Jayesh Jotangia, a Barrister said the formation of the APPG for British Hindus has been a long time in coming.
“With majority of the Hindu community having settled in the UK for over 40 years, it is quite extraordinary why there has not been an APPG a long time ago.
“The APPG will provide an important link between the Hindu Community and Parliament, allowing the community to be formally represented for the first time.”
Pramod K Joshi, Chairman of the Hindu Lawyers Association (UK) and Barrister at 1 Essex Court Chambers said, “The Hindu Lawyers Association (UK) commends the establishment of this APPG to advance the interests of Hindus in this country in a manner that has not existed before in living memory.
“HLA is more than willing to offer its legal expertise, input and vocal support as and when required to put the concerns and further the rights and entitlements of Hindus within the framework of legislature, both new and existing.”