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25 Mar 2003 : Column 268—continued

Mr. O'Brien: On the particular issue of whether there has been any consideration of a truth commission in Gujarat, I am afraid that I do not know, but I will find out and write to the hon. Lady—[Interruption.] I am getting signals from my hon. Friends the Members for Brent, North and for Middlesbrough, South and Cleveland, East (Dr. Kumar), who obviously have a deep personal knowledge of Gujarat, that they are not aware that any such consideration has been made, but I shall certainly write to the hon. Lady about that.

In conclusion, as far as we are concerned, the death of any British national is a matter of enormous concern for the Government. However, the particularly horrific

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circumstances in which those British nationals died is of deep concern to all of us, and the matter has been taken up with considerable personal interest not only by the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister but by the British High Commission. We all hoped that India had put such matters behind it. India is a democracy that has made enormous strides in the past 50 years, and these blots on India, as the Prime Minister said, must be dealt with firmly to ensure that they do not arise in future. Our direct involvement as a result of some of the victims of those incidents being British means that this is a matter

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of concern not just to Indians but to the British people and the British Government. It is a matter that all right-thinking people across the world ought to be concerned about. India is a great democracy—it needs to be true to the standards of democracy, and will be held to account as a democracy, which means dealing firmly with any religious intolerance and certainly any religious murders.

Question put and agreed to.

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