The Labour party of the UK has recently passed a unanimous motion on Kashmir at their party conference in Brighton on September 25. The motion states that Kashmir should be given the right of self-determination as per UN resolutions and urges Labour party to ‘stand with Kashmiris fighting against occupation’.
As per reports, the motion was submitted by British Pakistani Uzma Rasool from Leyton. In her speech, Rasool claimed that Kashmir has seen ’72 years of human rights violation’, gang rapes and mass rapes by the Indian Army, and pellet gun injuries.
Rasool had further added, “We must urgently request India opens access so humanitarian agencies can go and help. This is a major crisis. We cannot allow a century of oppression to take place.”
It is notable here that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had already made his anti-India stand clear on the issue. In his August 11 tweet, Corbyn had claimed that there are human rights abuses are taking place in Kashmir. Many Labour members and leaders had also participated in the August 15 ‘protests’ outside the Indian High Commission that saw violent attacks on the building and Indian families gathered there to celebrate India’s Independence Day.
The resolution passed by Jeremy Corbyn’s party reportedly seeks Corbyn to meet the high commissioners of both India and Pakistan to ensure there is “mediation” and restoration of peace and normality to prevent a potential nuclear conflict.
India has always maintained that any dialogues with Pakistan will be bilateral and there will be no third-party intervention.
Manoj Ladwa, former chairman of Labour party’s Indian Community Engagement Forum, has stated that the party has been hijacked by a coalition of left-extremists and jihadi sympathisers.
India has strongly condemned the move. In a statement, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar stated, “Government has noted certain developments at the Labour Party Conference on 25 September pertaining to the Indian State of Jammu & Kashmir. We regret the uninformed and unfounded positions taken at this event. Clearly, this is an attempt at pandering to vote-bank interests. There is no question of engaging with the Labour Party or its representatives on this issue.”
Following the motion, the Indian High Commission in London has cancelled the annual reception with Labour party delegates as soon as the party began its debate. An Indian diplomat has stated that the reason for the cancellation was the motion.
Not just the diplomats and MEA, notable leaders among the Indian diaspora have also expressed their displeasure at the motion. Kuldeep Singh Shekhawat, the president of Overseas Friends Of BJP in the UK, has stated that the entire Indian diaspora will not support the labour party in the upcoming elections because of the resolution.
In another development, a video has surfaced where a prominent Muslim leader in the UK, Sumaira Farrukh, who was once nominated for the ‘Muslim of The Year’ award, was seen declaring that ‘Jihad is the only solution’ in her speech against India at the Birmingham rally last month. The police have reportedly launched an investigation. Farrukh is considered close to British Home Secretary Sajid Javid.
In a video, Farrukh is seen standing on the steps of Birmingham’s landmark Victoria Square, telling supporters: “There is only one slogan for today. It is, remove curfew from Kashmir. Let them live their own lives, nothing more than that. And one thing to tell the truth to the Muslim community. There’s only one solution which is jihad. No protest, nothing. Just jihad.”
UK MP Liam Byrne, who had earlier stated that India’s decision to abrogate Article 370 is ‘unacceptable’, had also given a speech relaying similar lines at the same spot as Farrukh in Birmingham. Other labour leaders, Tom Watson and Jack Dromey were also present in that anti-India protest event that had occurred at the same spot a day prior to Farrukh’s speech.
India’s foreign minister S Jaishankar has stated that there is no question of engaging any Labour party members on this issue and has added that the Labour party is just pandering its vote bank interests.