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European Parliament member backs India on Jammu and Kashmir, says abrogation of Article 370 will help curb terrorism

With his landslide victory, his focus on genuinely protecting his people by prioritising the fight against terrorism remains unshaken, MEP Tomas Zdechovsky praises PM Modi

India’s bold move to abrogate Article 370 has been receiving approval from all across the globe. The latest to join the list is the European Parliament, which on Sunday backed India in its decision to repeal Article 370 which provided separate status to Jammu and Kashmir.

In an article published in the European Parliament’s monthly newspaper EP Today, a member of the European Parliament, MEP Tomas Zdechovsky, repeating India’s stand that the Kashmir issue is ‘internal’, said that the abrogation of Article 370 will help in rooting out several terrorist organisations operating in Kashmir.

According to Tomas, there are some terrorist organisations spreading terror in the Kashmir Valley and Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK). These terror groups are responsible for attacks on persons belonging to various political organisations in Kashmir, including in the killings of at least six political party workers and a separatist leader, he said.

In 2018 elections, these groups had threatened the people of Kashmir of ‘dire consequences’ if they participated in the elections and also those running for elections. They had asked the leaders to withdraw their nominations and publicly apologised for their actions or be prepared for severe upshots.

“While armed groups have sporadically threatened political workers in previous elections, the number of attacks in 2018 is among the highest in recent times,” said Tomas.

These armed groups who are accused of harassing and threatening nationalist and pro-independence political workers in PoK have, moreover, been operating with Pakistan’s support.

On August 2, 2018, members of an unknown armed group attacked and burned down at least 12 schools in Gilgit-Baltistan’s Diamer district. At least half of these were school girls.

On February 14, 2019, a suicide bombing killing at least 40 Indian security forces in Pulwama was claimed by Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).

“India blamed Pakistan for continuing to support the group’s activities. Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi confirmed to an international news organisation that JeM founder Mohammad Masood Azhar was present in Pakistan,” the article read.

On May 1, the mastermind of the Pathankot terrorist attack and head of Jaish-e-Mohammed, Masood Azhar, had been designated as a global terrorist in the United Nations Sanctions List subject to an asset freeze and travel ban.

The MEP further said in his article, “In its fight against terrorism, and against acts of violence in Kashmir and also in India by Pakistani based terrorists and armed groups, Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi had to act. His choice of action, whilst harsh and direct, was criticised by many who failed to understand his motive. On August 5, this year, PM Modi revoked Article 370 through a Presidential Order and the passage of a resolution in Parliament.”

“The removal, temporarily or permanently of these articles, should be seen as a global stance against terrorist activities, where today terrorists exploit the principles of democracy, freedom of speech and human rights practised by the majority, whilst at the same time imposing fear, violence and killings as justification for their causes,” said the MEP.

Tomas Zdechovsky furthered, “With his landslide victory, his focus on genuinely protecting his people by prioritising the fight against terrorism remains unshaken… providing almost immediate justification to his actions, on 6th August, the day after his announcement to revoke Article 370, the Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan gave a dramatic speech that invited and incited further terrorist activity in India.”

“Incidents like Pulwama are bound to happen again, I can already predict this will happen,” Khan said, calling to his Parliament, people and Pakistan based terrorist groups. At the same time his Army Chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, stated that Pakistan’s military will “go to any extent” to protect Kashmir.

Mullah Masood Azhar, chief of the Jihadi group, further explained that “now is the time that Kashmiris need to come out with unity so that the enemy will beg for peace and negotiations.”

“It is hoped that by the equal inclusion of Jammu and Kashmir state under the same constitution as India’s other twenty-eight states, India can ensure that its values of free and fair elections without intimidation, its values of diversity and religious harmony, and its fight against terrorism, can provide greater stability and security not only for the people of India but for those throughout South Asia,” Zdechovsky concluded.

The scrapping of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcation of the state has badly rattled Pakistan, which is desperately trying to internationalise the matter and somehow rope in third-party mediation but without any success. After the UN, countries like the UK, France, UAE, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Russia and the US have dwindled Pakistan’s hope by extending its support to India and now after this European Parliament approval spooked Pakistan will not know which door to knock next.

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