OKS reject the British Labour Party’s anti-Kashmir, pro-Hindu dividing communities move

Organisation of Kashmir Coalition (OKC) has released the contents of the letter which the Executive Members have forwarded to Rt Hon Sir Keir Starmer, the Leader of the Labour Party in response to the letter which he has written to Mrs Patel of Hindu Forum Britain that has unfortunately narrowed the Labour Party’s championing human rights vision exclusively to “Hinduphobia”.

The contents of the OKS letter is as follows:

“Right Honourable Sir Keir Starmer House of Commons
By email: keir.starmer.mp@parliament.uk

Date: 1 May 2020

Dear Rt Hon Sir Keir Starmer

We, the undersigned, take this opportunity to write to you on behalf of the people of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJK) in relation to your open letter dated 27 April written to Mrs Patel.

At the outset, we extend our very best wishes upon your assuming the office of Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons.

We understand your efforts to reach out to other communities within the United Kingdom in order to establish a good working relationship keeping in view the Labour Party’s engagement in the future democratic process.

Undoubtedly, the United Kingdom (UK) has a robust commitment to promoting and protecting human rights, democracy and the rule of law worldwide. We believe human rights are at the heart of the UK relations with other countries and regions and rightly so.

We note with utter regret that you have narrowed the Labour Party’s championing human rights vision exclusively to “hinduphobia”. This is most unfortunate. In doing so, it is quite possible that you may be distancing the other communities inflicting serious damage to the Labour Party.

The Jammu and Kashmir conflict is a very sensitive issue. There are the United Nations Security Council Resolutions that extend international legal sanctity to the Kashmir Cause. There are other inter-governmental organisations including the European Union (EU) and the Organisation of Islamic Co-Operation (OIC) upholding the Kashmiris right to self- determination. The very recent United Nations Reports from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights not only deplore the massive human rights violations in IOJK but, at the same time, insist upon the realisation of their right to self-determination:

https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/IN/DevelopmentsInKashmirJune2016ToA pril2018.pdf (June 2018 Report);
https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/IN/KashmirUpdateReport_8July2019.pdf (July 2019 Report).

The Labour Party over the years has formulated a supportive policy on the Jammu & Kashmir issue through its resolutions at its annual conferences (particular reference is drawn to the NEC Resolution 1995), as recent as October 2019 Annual Conference, and the election manifestos. Therefore, your comments that the unlawful constitutional changes forced by the Indian government is “a matter for the Indian Parliament and Kashmir is a bilateral issue for India and Pakistan to resolve peacefully” are wholly in contravention of international law and the Labour Party’s stated policy.

As such, we urge you to reconsider and retract your above comments otherwise, by proxy, you are dividing the communities in the UK bearing in mind that there more than one million Kashmiris are residing up and down the country (and if it matters approximately 3.5 million Muslims) which is precisely quite the opposite to what you advocate in your above (mentioned) letter.

Please accept our highest consideration.

Professor Nazir Ahmed Shawl Executive member OKC

Barrister A Majid Tramboo Executive member OKC”

A copy of the above letter has also been forwarded to Ms Debbie Abrahams, MP, Chairperson, All Parties Parliamentarians Group on Kashmir (APPGK) in the House of Commons with the intention that she would pursue the Labour Leader to retract his comments in relation to the Kashmir conflict.