Letter: Hunger strikers' rights denied

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The Independent Online
Sir: As there is no vote in admitting some 5,000 stateless Indians from Hong Kong, your leading article "Our duty to give a home to Empire's orphans" (30 January) will fall on the deaf ears of the present Conservative government.

My organisation lobbied for this very cause some eight years ago and was given an emphatic "no" by Peter Lloyd, the then minister at the Home Office. However, Roy Hattersley, shadow Home Secretary at that time, in his reply to our lobbying, said: "Labour shall give Hong Kong residents of Indian descent, who would otherwise become stateless, a right of abode in the United Kingdom and eventually nationality."

Since then the present shadow Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, has given a commitment, during his visit in Hong Kong, to grant the stateless Indians the right of abode and eventual British citizenship if desired.

Our campaigning for the stateless Indians will bear fruit if a Labour government is returned.

TARAKUMAR MUKHERJEE

President

Confederation of Indian Organisations (UK)

London SE1

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