UK Parliament debates critical situation of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir
2 months ago
London, January 14: United Kingdom UK parliamentarians held a debate on the critical situation on Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) on Wednesday 13 January in Westminster Hall – UK Parliament. The debate was proposed by Labour MP Sarah Owen.
The MP Sarah Owen who secured the debate said in her remarks that The lockdown of 2019 shut off entire communities and their communications to the outside world. Around 7 million people have been silenced and cut off. There were families worried about loved ones. Students studying in Luton were unable to get fees paid by parents in Kashmir, as banking ceased. There are curfews to control people’s lives, not a virus—a lockdown enforced by half a million soldiers. She further said that As with all war, sadly, women are the silent casualties. The situation in Kashmir is no different. There are numerous reports of Kashmiri women and girls being raped. Senior officials in the Bharatiya Janata Party have put on record their intentions to make Kashmiri women a part of the conflict. The Chief Minister of Haryana said: “Some people are now saying that as Kashmir is open, brides will be brought from there. But jokes apart, if [the gender] ratio is improved, then there will be a right balance in society”.
That is appalling. I have heard from women in Kashmir who are terrified of being assaulted by the thousands of soldiers on their doorstep. Women fear for their lives and do not feel safe.
The MP James Daly said that I had heard appalling stories of rape and sexual violence against women—it was absolutely appalling. As an international community working with our European partners with President-elect Biden in America, we have the opportunity now to come up with an international programme through the United Nations that will give succour and hope to those poor people in Kashmir who for 70-plus years have been going through the most awful, appalling hell.
The MP John Spellar said The current crisis has been deliberately instigated by the Indian authorities with their rewriting of the long-standing constitution, which has been left by parties of different stripes in India before. That has undermined the autonomy of Kashmir. There has also been a change to property law, to try to change the facts on the ground in Kashmir, fundamentally by changing the population and therefore trying to secure a different outcome from a possible referendum.
The MP Sara Britcliffe said We went to the line of control, and I was able to witness at first hand what my constituents have been telling me for a long time. These are truly heartbreaking stories to hear. That should not be happening. We are in the 21st century, and we need to be doing something about it. It is awful, and it has been for years. The citizens of the region have been living in the world’s most militarised zone, with the fallout damaging the lives of the men, women and children of Kashmir with curfews, a ban on communications access, the closing of media outlets, and widespread arrest of politicians and human rights activists.
Naz Shah MP said that since 5th August 2019, the Kashmiri people have been shut off from the entire world—occupied by more than 600,000 Indian soldiers, in the largest military operation in the world; Kashmiri women targeted for rape; 250 Kashmiris killed; 1,500 injured; 657 houses destroyed; 4,815 cordons and search operations during the past one year alone; political leaders under house arrest and put through kangaroo courts; thousands of non-Kashmiri Hindus of India issued with domicile certificates; and the Indian Government proactively changing the very demographics of Kashmir, leading only to a path of ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri people. Without the UN rapporteurs allowed into the region, and with every report out of the region censored, how can anyone assure this House that genocide in Kashmir is not taking place?.Naz Shah further said From 2015 to last year, Britain sold more than half a billion pounds worth of arms to India, which will contribute to shedding the blood of the Kashmiri people. Without the reassurances from the UN, we cannot be sure that we are not contributing to genocide. As a proud daughter of Kashmir, I simply ask the Minister whether the Prime Minister, who has now cancelled his visit to India, will follow on and cancel the shipment of arms to India? We do not need international leaders and Governments protesting with words; we have activists on the streets for that. We need international leaders and Governments with the will to take action and stop genocide from taking place. The time to act is now. Will the Minister act now while there is still time, or history will not be so forgiving?
The MP Robbie Moore said that Kashmiris have been living under heavy lockdown since 5th August 2019, the special status of IIOJK was revoked by India. We should be clear about what these lockdowns actually mean. No, foreign journalists being allowed into Kashmir by the Indian government, thousands of people have arrested under black laws. I know that the UK premiere is due to make a visit to India at some point and I do hope that the premier will be able to raise the issue directly with Prime Minister Modi and seek his reassurance that all is being done to seek a permanent solution for the Kashmir dispute.
The MP Paul Bristow said that the central point that I want to make is what happens in Kashmir matters here in the UK and I would urge Ministers to raise with their Indian counterparts the arbitrary detention of Kashmiri political leaders, the 18-month arbitrary enforced lockdown on the Kashmiri people, the ban on access to 4G and the internet in that part of the world, the crackdown on a free and fair media and the allegations of appalling human rights abuses.
The MP Jim Shannon said the lockdown imposed by the Indian government since 5th August 2019 has destroyed the economy of IIOJK. The draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act AFSPA and Public Safety Act PSA are used by the Indian Army to suppress the people of Kashmir. Stephen Kinnock Shadow Foreign Minister said that the Kashmir conflict is the longest unresolved conflict on the agenda of the United Nations. As many as ninety-five thousand people have been killed in the past 30 years. The curfew imposed by India in IIOJK has had a profound and far-reaching impact on every aspect of life in Kashmir including health services, school closures and media freedom. Shadow Foreign Minister Stephen asked the following questions to the Foreign Minister “What meetings has the Minister had with human rights organisations about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir? Does the Minister give support to the International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Kashmir, which seeks to address the human rights situation in Kashmir following the events of 5 August 2019? Does the Minister have any plans to send his own UK delegation to Jammu and Kashmir to assess the human rights situation and report back to our Parliament?”
The MP Nigel Adams Foreign Minister of State said that we believe that is better for India and Pakistan to find a lasting political resolution to the situation that takes into account the wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The situation of human rights in IIOJK has been a particular concern to many in this debate and we will raise these concerns with the Indian government.
Meanwhile, President Tehreek-e-Kashmir TeK UK Raja Fahim Kayani said the debate on Kashmir in the House of Commons is a huge disappointment to India on a diplomatic level as India was confident it’s war crimes committed by Indian army in IIOJK will go unnoticed during pandemic . Kayani said they are indebted to all British MPs for speaking Kashmiris woes and condemning human rights violations in IOJK.