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India fumes as UK party backs Kashmir plebiscite

NAOMI CANTON | TNN | Updated: Sep 25, 2019, 13:13 ISTAA42

File photo used for representational purpose

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Labour delegates unanimously passed a motion on Kashmir leading to India’s UK mission cancelling a dinner with Labour Friends of India
  • The motion says Kashmir should be given the right of self-determination as per UN resolutions and urges Labour to stand with Kashmiris “fighting against occupation”

LONDON: Labour delegates unanimously passed a controversial motion on Kashmir at their party conference in Brighton, leading to India’s UK mission cancelling a dinner with Labour Friends of India. The motion says Kashmir should be given the right of self-determination as per UN resolutions and urges Labour to stand with Kashmiris “fighting against occupation”.
MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, “We regret these uninformed and unfounded positions… Clearly, it’s an attempt at pandering to vote-bank interests. There is no question of engaging with the Labour Party or its representatives on this issue.”
The Indian high commission India in London cancelled its annual reception with Labour Friends of India on Tuesday night immediately after the debate on the motion began. “We cancelled it. The reason was because of the motion,” a senior Indian diplomat told TOI. The motion also sparked anger among the British Indian diaspora with Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP) UK president Kuldeep Singh Shekhawat, saying “the entire Indian diaspora in Britain will not support Labour in the next general election because of this motion”.
There has been growing dismay amongst PIOs ever since Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s August 11 tweet that said “the situation in Kashmir is deeply disturbing. Human rights abuses taking place are unacceptable”, and since several Labour MPs supported and spoke at the August 15 protests outside India House which descended into violence. Reacting to the motion, Manoj Ladwa, former chair of Labour’s Indian Community Engagement Forum, said the Labour party had been “hijacked by a coalition of left extremists and jihadi sympathisers”.
British Pakistani Uzma Rasool from Leyton, who submitted the motion, gave a speech in which she referred to POK as “Pakistan-administered Kashmir” and stated that Kashmir had seen “72 years of human rights violations, of gang rapes and mass rapes by armed forces, and pellet gun injuries”. “We must urgently request India opens access so humanitarian agencies can go in and provide help,” she said. “This is now a major crisis. We cannot allow a century of oppression to take place. For too long, we have said Kashmir is a bilateral issue but the Kashmiri people need intervention,” she had said.

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