FPJ Explains: Why does India want to discuss racism with UK govt?

It has been a problematic few days for leaders in the UK. Days after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex implied that there had been racist undertones to their interaction with the Royals, Oxford University is now dealing with similar accusations.

22-year-old Rashmi Samant had made headlines in India after she became the first Indian female president of Oxford University Student Union. Soon after this however, the student from Karnataka's Udupi had resigned after some of her old social media posts came back to haunt her. While Samant had apologised in an open letter as soon as the "racist" and "insensitive" posts emerged, the clamour for her resignation had refused to die down.

She contends that the backlash has been somewhat unfair. In an interaction with Indian Express, Samant contended that her posts were the work of a "non-native English speaking teenager" shared years before the person formed any "convictions on issues of race". As such, she contends that the posts were "not malicious or racist".

The topic was raised in the Rajya Sabha on Monday, with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar stating that the matter would be raised at an appropriate forum.

"As land of Mahatma Gandhi, we can never ever turn our eyes away from racism. Particularly so when it is in a country where we have such a large diaspora. We have strong ties with the UK. We will take up such matters with great candour when required," he said.

BJP MP Ashwani Vaishnav had raised the issue, noting that she had faced "cyberbullying" until she resigned. "Even the Hindu religious beliefs of her parents were publicly attacked by a faculty member and that also went unpunished," he contended.

(With inputs from agencies)

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