UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's visit to a JCB factory at Halol GIDC, Panchmahal, in Gujarat, and his climbing aboard an excavator on Thursday, 21 April, has led to an outrage amid the 'bulldozer politics' going around in the country, with the machinery being used for the mass demolition of homes.
Johnson, who is on a two-day trip to India, visited the JCB factory along with Gujarat Chief Minister (CM) Bhupendra Patel and toured the facility with Tory donor Lord Bamford, who owns the company.
Johnson also hopped onto one of the excavators manufactured in the plant and waved at the media gathered at the event.
This came a day after bulldozers razed several shops, vending carts, and other alleged illegal structures in North West Delhi's Jahangirpuri.
The heavy machinery has recently been used for several demolition drives in the country in areas that have experienced communal violence. These drives have mainly targeted Muslim-owned shops and establishments.
Social Media Reactions
Johnson's act became a talking point on social media platforms and generated strong reactions from those in India and abroad.
Amnesty India tweeted, "In the backdrop of Municipal Corporation of Delhi using JCB bulldozers to raze down shops of Muslims in north-west Delhi's Jahangirpuri yesterday, UK prime minister's inauguration of a JCB factory in Gujarat is not only ignorant, but his silence on the incident is deafening."
"As Indian authorities clamp down on human rights daily, the UK government must not remain a mute bystander. It must bring human rights to the discussion table. India cannot wait another day for justice," Amnesty further said.
Ali Khan Mahmudabad, a historian and campaigner, posted, "The British PM went to a bulldozer factory at a time such as this! Talk about optics. Wow! Garlanded bulldozers. Just what I needed to see."
About Johnson's Visit
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson landed in Gujarat's Ahmedabad on the morning of Thursday, 21 April, commencing his two-day visit to India.
He was received by Bhupendrabhai Patel, the chief minister of Gujarat, at the Ahmedabad airport.
Earlier on Thursday, Johnson also met the chairman of Adani Group, Gautam Adani, in Ahmedabad.
Johnson also visited Mahatma Gandhi's Ashram in Sabarmati, where he tried using the iconic charkha, or the spinning wheel.
The UK prime minister is expected to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday.