Who is Zarah Sultana, the UK MP Calling Out PM Boris Johnson's Trip to India?

She was elected to the House of Commons during the 2019 general election, and represents Coventry South.

3 min read
Who is Zarah Sultana, the UK MP Calling Out PM Boris Johnson's Trip to India?

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"Following widespread anti-Muslim violence in India, which is widely seen as being whipped up by Modi and the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party)... Did the Prime Minister (PM) challenge Modi on the BJP’s role on anti-Muslim violence in India, or did the PM once again disregard human rights abuses?"

That was the question posed by Zarah Sultana, a British politician from the Labour Party and a Member of Parliament (MP) for Coventry South, in the context of British PM Boris Johnson's visit to India earlier this month and his meeting with PM Narendra Modi.

During the trip, Johnson had visited a JCB factory with Gujarat Chief Minister (CM) Bhupendra Patel, a day after a demolition drive (with JCB bulldozers) was carried out in Delhi’s Jahangirpuri, which received widespread outrage.

MP Sultana had, at the House of Commons session, called out Johnson's actions by tweeting, "Boris Johnson is visiting India, which has seen a spate of anti-Muslim violence whipped up by Modi and the ruling BJP. But of course, Johnson won't raise this: After all, his own racist comments led to Islamophobic incidents surging by 375 percent."

So, who is Zarah Sultana, the 28-year-old MP who is refusing to hold back in her criticism of the British prime minister's recent trip to India?


Political Career

Sultana was born in 1993, and her grandfather had migrated to the UK from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir's Dadyal in the 1960s.

She studied International Relations and Economics at the University of Birmingham and joined the Labour Party in 2011. During this time, she was elected to the National Executive Council of the youth wing of the Labour Party and the National Union of Students.

She was elected to the House of Commons during the 2019 general election, representing Coventry South after incumbent Labour MP Jim Cunningham decided to not contest.

Her election was backed by organisations like Unite the Union, Momentum, the Fire Brigades Union, the Communication Workers Union and the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers' Union among others.

Sultana has been a vocal critic of Boris Johnson and his government. During an interview with Vice after she was elected, the MP said, "When I look across the House and I see Boris Johnson as Prime Minister, a guy who has called Muslim women 'bank robbers' and gay men 'tank topped bum boys'? This is a party that has caused absolute carnage in our communities. It breaks my heart."

She recently accused the British prime minister of "robbing the public purse." The speaker, in response, told her that this was "just not the case" before asking her to withdraw her comments.

She was one of the over 200 signatories from the United Kingdom who in 2020 wrote an open letter that condemned the "dictatorial and majoritarian agenda" being pursued by the Modi government.


Controversy Around Social Media Posts

After getting elected, she was embroiled in a controversy after the revival of a social media post in which she wrote that she would "celebrate" the deaths of former British prime minister Tony Blair, former US president George Bush, and former Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The tweet was from 2015. She wrote,“Try and stop me when the likes of Blair, Netanyahu and Bush die.”

According to a report by the Jewish Chronicle, she had also expressed her support for “violent resistance” by Palestinians in their conflict with Israel.

She did clarify, however, that she "deleted account dating back several years from when I was a student," reported the BBC.

"This was written out of frustration rather than any malice," due to the "decisions by political leaders, from the Iraq War to the killing of over 2,000 Palestinians in 2014, mostly civilians, which was condemned by the United Nations," she said.

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Topics:  Zarah Sultana 

Edited By :Saundarya Talwar
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