Besieged Kashmir knocks world conscience : T-e-K UK, British MPs

MIRPUR (AJK): The British MPs including Liam Byrne, Andrew Gwynne, Debbie Abrahams, Imran Hussain, and Paul Bristow have expressed grave concern over the deteriorating human rights situation in indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) in their separate statements recorded on the invitation of Fahim Kiyani, President of the Tehreek -e- Kashmir UK over Michelle Bachelet’s compiled recent updates on human rights conditions in IIOJK as submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

According to a message released to the media here on Saturday evening, they have jointly lauded the work of Michelle Bachelet on recent human rights issues in more than 50 countries the world-over including the Indian-Illegally occupied Jammu & Kashmir state.

In his updates the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet highlighted that restrictions on communications and clamp downs on civil society actors in Indian Administered Kashmir remains a concern and has hampered efforts on healthcare, education, livelihoods and free and open debate in the region.

In his statement UK based TeK President Faheem Kiyani underlined that the life of common Kashmiri in the IIOJK has turned into a hell as the oppressor India had given irrepressible powers to its occupational one million troops under draconian laws to kill, arrest and torture innocent Kashmiris with impunity. He appealed to Michelle Bachelet to release third comprehensive report on the human rights situation of IIOJK and use her good office to exert pressure on India to allow UN fact-finding mission to IIOJ&K, according to the message.

In his statement Liam Byrne Member of the British Parliament and former Minister of State while referring to the continual worsening human rights situation in IIOJK said “This fresh evidence from the United Nations is evidence that democracy is under a daily attack and assault in Kashmir. This is not just a lockdown it’s literally a siege. It is now essential the British government uses its voice and it’s vote on the UN Security Council to urgently trigger debate on these new alarming findings.”, he added.

Andrew Gwynne British MP and Chair of Labour Friends of Kashmir, said in his statement “This evidence from the UN just shows how much the people of Indian-administered Kashmir are completely besieged by the authorities. The findings aren’t just shocking, they’re completely unacceptable in 2021 and appalling actions from the so-called largest ‘democracy’ in the world. It’s time for the international community to show leadership, and for Britain to do their bit, by standing up for the human rights and freedoms of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.”

Debbie Abrahams, the British MP and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Kashmir said that, “The UN Special Rapporteurs have raised serious concerns about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and how India’s decision to end the region’s autonomy with the revocation of Article 370 and Article 35A of her (New Delhi) own constitution, could curtail the political participation of Muslims and other minorities, as well as potentially discriminating against them in important matters including employment and land ownership.

Debbie urge the Indian Government to follow the recommendations of the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights and Special Rapporteurs to ensure that the economic, social and cultural rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir are protected, allowing them to express their political opinions and participate fully and meaningfully in matters affecting them.”

Kashmir-origin member of the British Parliament Imran Hussain said while lauding Bachelet’s statement “The Indian Government’s unilateral revocation of Articles 370 and 35a stripped away what little autonomy Indian Occupied Kashmir held, whilst new domicile laws amount to nothing less than colonisation by the Indian Government, and this statement by the UN Rapporteurs that these restrictions and new laws are restricting the freedoms of Kashmiris must finally compel the international community to take decisive action.

“As we have seen over the last 18 months, the Indian Government has also used these new laws and restrictions to impose a harsh crackdown on people living across Indian Occupied Kashmir that continues to see people arbitrarily arrested, beaten and tortured, with a long-standing draconian blockade that has prevented food, medicine and water prevented from entering towns and villages in IIOJK”, Imran commented.

“The Indian Government must abide by the UN expert’s demands, but we also cannot just return to the status quo where grave human rights abuses are committed regardless of whether Articles 370 and 35-A are in force or not, and we need to see a real end to these abuses, along with the delivery of the free and fair plebiscite that the sons and daughters of Kashmir have been waiting over seven decades to fulfill.”

British MP Paul Bristow – also Joint Chair Conservative Friends of Kashmir said in his statement “I am very pleased that the UN experts have confirmed the conclusion of many that the special status of Kashmir and Jammu should be protected along with the human rights of minority communities in IIOJK.”, the message added.