British Parliament to debate ‘rights violations’ in Kashmir

‘Any attempt to fiddle with Article 370 could be a source of great tension’
The House of Commons of British parliament has agreed to have a special debate on the state of human rights in Kashmir.
Calling the Kashmir issue a threat to regional and global peace, British MP David Ward informed the backbench business committee that new Indian government has been “quite aggressive in terms of its stance towards Kashmir” which was “opening up a whole new area of uncertainty”.
Ward, according to a report published in a Delhi-based newspaper, also informed the committee that he had 40 MPs backing him up through a signatory campaign who would like Westminster to hold a debate on the human rights violations in Kashmir.
According to the report, though a formal date is yet to be decided, Britain’s decision to agree for a debate on Kashmir hasn’t gone down well with Friends of India and Southeast Asian think tanks.
They said: “Why should Kashmir be discussed in the parliament when Britain has always been of the view that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan?”
Britain’s foreign office minister Hugo Swire has on record told the parliament earlier that “any solution should be between the two governments of India and Pakistan. We welcome progress made last September during a meeting of both prime ministers in New York. The British government does help and we have had discussions on human rights as recently as last month.”
Swire had added: “This is a long-running conflict, and we stand by to help; but ultimately it can be resolved only by the two countries in question.”
Ward, according to the report, told the committee that “Kashmir has been a constant source of misery over many years to many people. 500,000 to 600,000 Indian Army troops are in the area on a permanent basis. It is an area of tension and some 500,000 people have died there in the past 60 or so years”.
“This is why I think it is an important subject: 3 million members of the Indian/Pakistani community; 100,000 Kashmiris in Bradford. The reason why I think it is important now to have a debate of this kind is, first of all, it is three years since we had a debate in the chamber on this crucially important subject. It is considered by many to be the forgotten conflict. You are talking about two nuclear powers facing each other. We do believe it is worthy of a debate, because of its international dimensions as well”, the report quoted Ward as saying.
Ward who represents Bradford East in the British parliament also brought up what he called the “uncertainty about article 370”.
He said the article “grants special status to Jammu & Kashmir, but recently, through members of the new government, the BJP, there have been talking about the abrogation or revocation of 370. That, in itself, could be a source of great tension and conflict in the area. We are seeking a debate on a motion from a petition that many have signed. Certainly, we have got 40 MPs who have signed the petition. It has also been signed by 10 MEPs-these are all cross-party supporters-but also 50,000 members of the public have signed the petition.”
Ward said the motion of the petition says: “This house believes that the ongoing Kashmir dispute is a threat to regional and global peace; further that the dispute is causing insecurity, instability and human rights violations; and further that the state of Jammu & Kashmir should be given the right to self-determination”.

Meanwhile, National Panthers Party (NPP) patron, Prof Bhim Singh has termed the proposed debate in House of Commons on rights violations in Kashmir a ‘highly deplorable and condemnable act’.
Singh, according to local news gathering agency CNS, said he wants to know the reasons of silence on part of NarendraModi government on this “dangerous precedent created by the British Parliament by interfering in the domestic affairs of India.”
Singh urged the political parties in Parliament in India to discuss about the torturous and violent role of British government being played in Palestine, Middle East, Africa and even in Ireland and Scotland under British administration.

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