Former EU Politician Calls for Urgent Action on Jammu and Kashmir

Islamabad, MINA – Several former EU politicians, along with human rights experts, expressed solidarity with the Kashmiri people, urging the world to take urgent action to address the alarming human rights situation in the Muslim-majority region of India.

Speaking at a virtual conference on Tuesday evening, organized by the Islamabad Institute of Conflict Resolution (IICR) think tank, in collaboration with the NGO World Kashmir Freedom Movement, the speakers criticized the use of force against civilians in Indian-administered Kashmir, Anadolu Agency reported.

On 5 August 2019, the Indian government revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s autonomous status and divided it into two centrally governed regions.

Supporting the resistance of the Kashmiri people, Julia Ward, a former member of the European Parliament, noted that when the government takes away the rights of the people, they have the right to resist.

“I will oppose people who take my rights,” he said.

Criticizing Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Ward added that he is responsible for the current situation in Kashmir and other parts of India.

“I have no quarrel with the Indian people, and it is very important after this discussion that we are absolutely clear about who is responsible for this and who is doing this, and (it) is the Indian government in particular Narendra Modi and the BJP party,” he said.

The eminent British historian and writer Victoria Schofield said, “We must not give up on Kashmir even though the tragedy of Kashmir has passed from generation to generation.”

“It’s important to forget the blame game and reach a humane resolution,” said Schofield.

He also highlighted that the human rights violations committed by the Indian government should be criticized rather than presenting the Indian state as a large economic market.

Danielle Khan, dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in the US, also criticized New Delhi for the detention of Kashmiris after August 2019 and urged the US to put pressure on and force India to put the Kashmir issue on the table.

“Indian troops are involved in grave human rights violations in Kashmir and that will continue if a resolution to the conflict is not reached,” Khan said.

Phil Benion, a former member of the European Union Parliament and deputy chairman of the Liberal Human Rights Committee, in his video message also expressed solidarity with Kashmiris and said “the international community is not pressuring India enough” to refrain from taking illegal actions and committing human rights violations in Kashmir.

He urged the international community, US and UK to pressure India to stop human rights abuses in Kashmir.

Sabah Aslam, chief executive of IICR, and Fahim Kayani, head of Tehreek-e-Kashmir in the UK also spoke at the conference.

“The people of this region (Jammu and Kashmir) have faced seven decades of extreme human rights violations, crimes that constitute an act of genocide, and India’s own complicity in terrorist activities targeting the region,” said Lee Rhiannon, a former Australian senator.

“I want to pay tribute to Kashmiris, journalists and local activists who over the past two years have stepped up their protests, and their resistance. Unfortunately, many have died. So, many are suffering and I believe we have a responsibility to do so and to stand in public with the Kashmiri people,” he added. (T/RE1)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)