Since Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir was put into lockdown a year ago today, the area has seen a “raft of human rights abuses against Kashmiri Muslims at the hands of the Indian Government,” Britain’s largest Muslim umbrella group said Wednesday on Twitter.
A year ago on Aug 5, India revoked Kashmir’s semi-autonomous status and forced its people to live under curfew and lockdown.
The Muslim Council of Britain have not been silent on the matter, however, and have reached out to the main opposition Labour Party.
They said in a statement last month: “Almost a year since the Indian Government revoked Kashmir’s special status and imposed a curfew, there have been harrowing stories of the unlawful detention of politicians, civilians, activists and children.
“Tens of thousands of additional Indian troops have been deployed in the Muslim-majority state, schools and colleges have been closed, tourists were ordered to leave and telephone and internet services have been suspended.
“The punitive restrictions have meant eight million men, women and children – almost one year on – continue to remain prisoners in their own homes.”
On July 20, the group organized a roundtable meeting with Labour on Kashmir, following “concerns” about the party’s position on the issue.
Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy attended the meeting, which was held remotely via video link.
The participants highlighted the similarity of the plight of Muslims in Kashmir and Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang, China. They also called on the UK government to raise the issue of Kashmir at the UN Security Council.
After the event, Harun Khan, the council’s secretary general, said: “The ongoing conflict in Kashmir that has seen atrocities committed against the state’s Muslim citizens including the arrest, torture and detention of young boys and the systematic use of rape by the military is of grave concern to everyone, including British Muslims.
“Almost a year after the Indian Government’s actions breaching international law, there is no end in sight. We are pleased to bring leading experts to the table, and facilitate the Labour Party in its internal policymaking. The goal for us all is a tangible action plan which prioritises international law and the tackling of human rights abuses in Kashmir, as well as the mistreatment of Muslims and rampant Islamophobia perpetuated by the Indian Government.
“The MCB will continue to work to ensure the voices of Britain’s Kashmiri communities are heard.”
Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy said: “On Monday I was pleased to attend a roundtable organised by the Muslim Council of Britain to discuss the situation in Kashmir. The Labour Party will reflect on the suggestions made by participants at the roundtable. This was a really positive and constructive conversation in which I underlined the Labour Party’s long-standing commitment to upholding human rights, and we look forward to further engagement.”
-1 year since lockdown
On Aug. 5, 2019, the Indian government revoked Article 370 and other related provisions from its Constitution, scrapping the autonomy of the country’s only Muslim-majority state. It was also split into two federally administered territories.
Simultaneously, it locked the region down, detaining thousands of people, imposing movement restrictions, and enforcing a communications blackout.
Kashmir is held by India and Pakistan in parts but claimed by both in full. A small sliver of the region is also controlled by China.
Since they were partitioned in 1947, New Delhi and Islamabad have fought three wars – in 1948, 1965, and 1971 – two of them over the disputed territory.
Some groups in Indian-administered Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or unification with neighboring Pakistan.
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