‘India should assist oppressed Indians the world over’

March 4th, 2008 - 1:39 pm ICT by admin  

By Paras Ramoutar
Port of Spain, March 4 (IANS) Former Trinidad and Tobago prime minister Basdeo Panday, who is of Indian origin, has urged India to redefine its diaspora “to recognise and assist oppressed Indians the world over”. “This must be done to find out what holds it (the diaspora) together,” Panday told the inaugural meeting of the Trinidad and Tobago chapter of the Global People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) over the weekend.

He said India needed to recognise that its diaspora contained poor people whose rights were violated everyday.

“There are poor Indians who do not have the ability to defend themselves,” said Panday, the leader of opposition in Trinidad and Tobago.

At the GOPIO meeting, Indian High Commissioner Jagit Singh Sapra said the people of Indian origin in Trinidad and Tobago are linked to India by “a special bond of love and affection and they occupy a pride place in our hearts”.

“I congratulate all of you on this memorable occasion of opening of GOPIO Office here… The activities of GOPIO would indeed be closely watched due to the presence of a large percentage of the population whose origin is from India,” he added.

People of Indian origin constitute about 44 percent of Trinidad and Tobago’s 1.3 million population.

Sapra said the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs organises the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas each year to bring together people of Indian origin from across the world. He called for wider participation in the event from ethnic Indians in Trinidad and Tobago.

“This has a special significance for India and is a platform to bring together overseas Indians to understand one another, to ascertain their aspirations and problems.

“I would urge for a wider participation from the people of Indian origin from Trinidad and Tobago to participate in the Pravasi Bharitya Divas celebrations,” the high commissioner said.

(Paras Ramoutar can be contacted at paras_ramoutar@yahoo.com)

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