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UK elections: Tory candidate’s casual Hindu hate and anti-India stand, Marco Longhi appeals to Muslims to vote for him to raise Kashmir ‘Azadi’ issue

Addressing the voters of the British Pakistani and Kashmiri community in Dudley, Longhi wished them on Eid-al-Adha. Pointing out that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been re-elected in India which means it will be "tougher times for the people of Kashmir" in the coming months.

On 17th July (local time), an election leaflet of Conservative Party politician Marco Longhi went viral on social media where he casually propagated Hindu hate and anti-India stand. In the leaflet, he appealed to the Muslims living in his constituency to vote for him so that he could raise the Kashmir “Azadi” issue in the UK Parliament.

Source: RajeshAgrawal/X

Addressing the voters of the British Pakistani and Kashmiri community in Dudley, he wished them on Eid-al-Adha. Pointing out that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been re-elected in India which means it will be “tougher times for the people of Kashmir” in the coming months. The leaflet read, “Narendra Modi made it clear recently that he is going for a full statehood for Kashmir which would mean full removal of any sovereign rights of the Kashmiris and their special status.”

He added that he was elected as MP in 2019 and since then he has been vocal about the “Indian Government atrocities towards the people of Kashmir.” The leaflet further read, “My involvement is well publicised and I have participated in several Kashmir events. I have always condemned India’s continuous illegal actions in Kashmir.”

He then specifically highlighted and underscored the name of Labour Party Parliamentary Candidate Sonia Kumar targeting her for her surname, even going to the extent of highlighting her surname in capital letters. The leaflet read, “I leave this decision to you. However should you vote for me, I pledge to you that I will raise my voice for Kashmir in Parliament even more and will be at the forefront of standing up for Kashmiris in Parliament.”

Labour Parliamentary Candidate in Leicester East, Rajesh Agrawal condemned the leaflet issued by Longhi and said, “This is a shameful attempt to divide communities and is offensive to both Muslim and Hindu communities. There should be zero tolerance for the dog-whistle politics Mr Longhi is engaged in.” He urged the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Rishi Sunak, who also comes from the Conservative Party, to remove support for Longhi’s campaign immediately. He said, “Rishi Sunak should put country before party and immediately remove his Party’s support for Mr Longhi’s campaign and apologise for attempting to alienate British Indians.”

On the other hand, Marco Longhi defended the leaflet saying that he was simply “vocally supporting my Kashmiri community within my constituency”. He further argued that Dudley has a very mixed community and he represents a lot of people. “Many of them in the past have told me that they are very concerned about what’s happening in Kashmir,” he added.

Asserting the leaflet was part of “politics” he said, “This is politics, isn’t it? Do you want someone who has consistently been supportive of Kashmiris where there have been human rights abuses or do you want someone called Sonia Kumar who no one has ever heard of? I don’t see why that’s a problem for me to highlight to members of my Kashmiri community.” When asked about why he highlighted Kumar’s surname he said, “All they’ve had is a leaflet from Starmer. I need people to know that I’m not standing against Starmer, I’m standing against Kumar.”

Longhi further claimed he was simply representing a group within wider communities and this was particularly representing Kashmiris. Sonia Kumar has not reacted to the leaflet.

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Anurag
Anurag
B.Sc. Multimedia, a journalist by profession.

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