Muslim Labour MPs call on PM Boris Johnson to condemn India’s transgression in Kashmir

More than 35,000 extra Indian troops have been deployed to occupied Kashmir.

Eight Muslims MPs from the Labour Party have written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging the British government to condemn the recent transgression by India in occupied Kashmir. 

The following letter spearheaded by the Shadow Justice Minister Yasmin Qureshi, was signed by MPs Rushanara Ali, Rosena Allin-Khan, Shabana Mahmood, Afzal Khan, Khalid Mahmood, Faisal Rashid, Mohammed Yasin, as well as Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Shas Sheehan:

“Dear Prime Minister,

“We are deeply concerned by reports that the Indian government has revoked Article 370 of the Indian constitution, which will lead to Kashmir losing large vestiges of its autonomy and, in doing so, violate the UN resolution.

“This decision follows on from what appears to be an orchestrated coup by Indian authorities. Since Friday, the Indian Government has moved thousands of troops into Kashmir and placed heavy restrictions on the daily life of its 7 million residents. There have been numerous reports that mainstream political leaders have been placed under house arrest, schools shut down, telephone and internet services severed, and all public movement banned, leaving the region in complete lockdown. Most concerning are reports that Indian authorities have used cluster ammunition against civilians, leading to the death of two civilians, including a four-year-old child and a dozen injuries. Reports state that, in recent days, 38,000 Indian troops have been deployed to the region. In addition to the existing 700,000 occupational forces.

“There can be no doubt that the region of Kashmir has been a festering wound since the partition of Indian and Pakistan in 1947. As our newly-appointed Prime Minister, we urge you to recognise that the British Government has a historic obligation to help to mediate between Pakistan, India and Kashmir. You will be aware that tensions first arose in Kashmir after the British colonial administration departed from the subcontinent, leaving the Kashmiri people within the jurisdiction of the new nation of India. At that time, the UK signed United Nations Security Council Resolution 47, a resolution which demanded that the Kashmiri people were given the right to self-determination a free and impartial plebiscite.

“We call on you to strongly condemn the actions of the Indian Government in revoking Article 370 and to consider the wider context of this act led by Prime Minister Modi, the leader of a far-right political wing of Hindu nationalism. This is a movement that is changing India for the worse and one that views India’s 195 million Muslims as second-class citizens – BBC reports have detailed how many are lynched by Hindu Nationalists in the name of ‘cow protection’. His recent re=election has given an electoral mandate to majoritarian nationalism at best, and Hindu fascism at worst. It is emboldening the reactionary elements at work in India, unleashing them even further, and leading to even more violence against Muslims. The demolition of Kashmir, India’s only majority Muslim state, into what will effectively be a colony ruled from Delhi, will serve only to reinforce the growing view that in Modi’s India, Muslims are second class citizens. More worryingly, as a consequence of the revocation of Article 370, there are very real concerns on ‘land grabbing’ with reports that the government is planning to build exclusive Hindu settlements in the region, which would lead to the deliberate demographic transformation of the region from majority Muslim to majority Hindu.

“As the most heavily militarised region in the world, we simply cannot afford to look away as tensions inevitably escalate in the region. The revocation of Article 370 contravenes international law and will act only to inflame tensions and trigger major unrest. We urge you to put principle before Britain’s trade relationship and speak up for the Kashmiri people, to whom we have a responsibility to help and resolve this seven-decade long crisis.”

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