The speakers at an international Kashmir virtual conference raised the massive human rights violations by Indian forces’ personnel in occupied Kashmir.
The international Kashmir virtual conference on ‘Twin Lockdowns in Kashmir and Global Response’ was organized by Tehreek-e-Kashmir, UK.
The President of Azad Jammu Kashmir, Sardar Masood Khan participated as chief guest, President of Tehreek-e-Kashmir, UK, Raja Fahim Kayani chaired the conference. The other speakers included Members of British Parliament, Liam Byrne, Jim McMahon, Brenden O’Hara, Nadia Whittome, Alex Norris, James Daly, Christian Wakeford, Stella Creasy and Rachel Maskell as well as former meber of European parliament, Phil Bennion and Danish writer Jane Teller. President of Jammu Kashmir Salvation Movement, Altaf Ahmed Butt, Chairman of Kashmir Institute of International Relations, Altaf Hussain Wani, Human Rights Activist Clair Bidwell joined to take serious note of grave human rights violations being committed by Indian troops in the guise of COVID-19 in occupied Kashmir.
Raja Fahim Kayani, President of Tehreek-e-Kashmir, UK, welcomed all the participants of the virtual conference and said that since August 5, 2019 Kashmiris had been systematically economically destroyed and they were in need of urgent food and medicines. He said that the Indian regime was not providing any help and was even refusing international relief agencies access to Kashmir. “British Kashmiris, Pakistani and all peace-loving people want to send aid to Kashmir through British charities, however, this is being denied. The United Kingdom should put pressure on India to allow access for British charities into Kashmir,” he added.
The AJK President, Sardar Masood Khan, addressing the conference as a chief guest said that there was human rights and humanitarian crisis in occupied Kashmir which was deepening with each passing day. He said that the Indian government abrogated the special status of the territory in August last year and divided it into two union territories to be ruled directly by Delhi. This has been done without the consent of people of Kashmir, he added. He denounced the New Domicile Law introduced by the Indian government to change the demography of the territory and that will cause Kashmiris to lose jobs and educational scholarships to outsiders.
“Kashmir is suffering from twin lockdowns, while the second lockdown, COVID-19 lockdown, is used for saving lives, whereas the siege imposed by Indian forces is designed to kill people. COVID-19 has been used as a disguise to kill Kashmiri youth. Fake CASOs are being conducted to kill youth, 200 youth have been killed in past 6 months,” he added.
The AJK President said that risk of serious war between India and Pakistan was imminent but a war between India and China was also erupting, which would have dire consequences on nuclear armageddon which would affect the whole world.
The statement sent by President of Jammu and Kashmir Salvation Movement, Altaf Ahmed Butt, said that revocation of Article 370 and 35A, New Domicile Law and use of force was in reality a pre-planned economic, political and social assault on Kashmir. Kashmir has lost economy, tourism, agriculture, health sector, education and even mental health to Indian state terrorism, the statement added.
Altaf Butt welcomed the UN Secretary General’s statement and urged the international community to take practical steps as the Indian expansionist agenda has already created an atmosphere of war in South Asia, which could engulf the whole world.
Liam Byrne MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, in his address said, “I think the recent conflagration between India and China has just underlined for many of us the risks which are at play here in the narrative in the UK about the urgency to resolve Kashmir issue, as it is a conflict between two nuclear powers and people at a risk of conflict between three nuclear powers.”
He said that the region was very important and China had already built One belt one Road which would connect the whole world, so for the peace in the region, there must be peace and justice for the people of Kashmir, and the implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions that were agreed to all of those years ago.
Jim McMahon OBE MP, said, “I’m kind of looking towards next week and the 8th of July and thinking that would be a year since the UN Human Rights Commissioner obviously report on the human rights violations were taking place again to Kashmiri people and we’ve seen almost no progress, we’ve seen almost no international assertion that international rule of law and the protection of human rights we’ve seen very little from the UK government and taking a leadership role in this.” He said, UK government needs to decide what role it wants to play in the world; does it want to be a spectator, does it want to turn a blind eye or actually doesn’t want to uphold the international rules the order based a system.
Brendan O’Hara MP, said that it was disappointing but not unsurprising that the COVID-19 pandemic was being used as a cover for the oppression of people of Kashmir. “The situations are deepening and intense, three nuclear states are going head-to-head here. People in the UK are concerned about human rights abuses in Kashmir,” he added. He also supported the Kashmiris right to self-determination and pledged his support for the Kashmir cause.
Nadia Whittome MP, said Modi has effectively declared war on people of Kashmir by revoking articles 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution, with tens of thousands of troops descending on Kashmir with political leaders under house arrest, the blackout in communications and of course the widespread human rights abuses. “We need clear things from our government Condemnation of Indian Govt, reinstatement of Article 370 and 35A, demanding media and urgent military de-escalation, sending international observers to Kashmir, and publicly asserting the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination.
Alex Norris MP, Chairman Conservative Friends of Kashmir and Vice Chair APPG on Kashmir, said that COVID-19 was being used to erode human rights and that’s not something ‘we can tolerate and it’s something that we as parliamentarians have to use our precious platforms to talk about’.
He assured that with the help and information from President Saradar Masood Khan we could press the foreign secretary to be stronger and to be more assertive in his engagement with Modi. “We have a very precious platform in Parliament we have a very special responsibility as the UK to take a standard to have a say and we are keen to use our precious space in Parliament to do exactly that so that you know that is a commitment from me and from my colleagues in order to support Kashmiris and their right to self-determination,” he maintained.
James Daly MP, said that new domicile rules imposed in Kashmir were simply unacceptable as they were an attempt to change the ending balance of the indigenous population within the territory. He added that the issue with Kashmir and Pakistan and India was not bilateral, it’s internationalist. He said, “We cannot walk away from the United Nations resolutions of many years ago. We simply can’t ignore them as if they go they’re not there they should do that internationalist solution the peace and the protection of human rights I believe will be sought. I think we have made some very points regarding the role of third parties in fighting discrimination, fighting human rights, fighting the oppression of people’s and that’s what’s happening in Kashmir.”
Christian Wakeford MP, said, “I’ve been working very closely with my colleague from Baranof James Daley to keep on highlighting the concerns of the Kashmiri residents from Barry that actually you know too long far too many people have been raped abused tortured and murdered and we should have been speaking out not just on a national stage but an international stage and we have been far too quiet on this particular topic, what I think is vital is we do actually start speaking up because there will be no real change until this is seen on an international level.”
Stell Creasy MP, said, “I fear if we don’t deal with Kashmir issue now the situation will deteriorate, I also just want to touch on the human consequences for our communities here in the UK who are desperately worried for friends and family in Kashmir desperately concerned about what is happening in Kashmir, and desperately frustrated that they see a political process that seems to be moving backwards not forwards in Kashmir.”
Phil Benion, former Member of European parliament, said that revocation of articles 370 and 35A was illegal because it was clear that changes regarding Kashmir could not be done unilaterally and it had been done unilaterally so it’s very clear that Indian authorities were out of order and excluding people like Human Rights Watch the United Nations, Amnesty International and others from access to the region. So where we need to go forward now as I think getting an international coalition that wants to see Kashmir issue resolved now, he maintained.
Danish writer, Jane Teller, said that the immediate absolute need for humanitarian aid has to just somehow find a way to break the chokehold of moody on Jammu and Kashmir. With the revocation of Article 370 and 35A Kashmiris went from the situation of being occupied to actually a situation of being colonized, Jane Teller added.
Altaf Ahmed Wani thanked the Tehreek-e-Kashmir, UK, President, Fahim Kayani, and parliamentarians. He added that the Indian government was drafting the New Education Policy to eradicate Kashmiri education from its roots. While New Media policy introduced by Indian fascist regime aimed to scrutinize and oppress the journalism so that the true stories of Indian state terrorism and atrocities would not come out of occupied Kashmir.
Clair Bidwell, human rights activist, said that Kashmiris had been waiting for 72 years for their right to self-determination and their human rights respected but that was not happening. “We are running out of time and we should work harder for a peaceful resolution of Kashmir issue,” he added.