11th Dec, 2019

Councillors urge action to stop ‘authoritarian’ rule in disputed Kashmir

Rob George 2nd Nov, 2019

FORMER Mayor of Worcester Coun Jabba Riaz has slammed the Indian government for its ‘ultra right-wing nationalist’ behaviour in the disputed region of Kashmir.

Speaking at a meeting at the Guildhall last Tuesday (October 22), Coun Riaz called on Worcester City Council to ask the Prime Minister to demand the restoration of basic human rights and to allow humanitarian aid organisations and international observers to enter the region.

The latest move in the near seven-decade long conflict was sparked in the summer when the Indian government revoked the special status accorded to Indian-administered Kashmir in its constitution, the most far-reaching political move on the disputed region in nearly 70 years.

Thousands of additional Indian troops were also sent to the region to impose a curfew while telecommunications and internet access were also suspended.

India and Pakistan claim Kashmir in full but rule it in part.

The nuclear-armed neighbours have fought two of their three wars over the disputed territory. A rebellion in Indian-administered Kashmir has been ongoing for three decades.

“Many of the Kashmiri community here in Worcester have been unable to reach relatives in the region since the curfew began,” Coun Riaz said.

“The stories of beatings, tortures and assault continue to this day. The actions of the Indian Government are undemocratic, authoritarian and dictatorship-like.

“We should do all we can in getting the Government to hold the Indian government to account for this illegal curfew.”

Coun Nida Hassan seconded the call and said: “What is happening in Kashmir is devastating.

“It’s sad that where we are today that something like this is happening in the world.”

Coun Riaz’s call won support across the chamber with all members voting to approve the plea.

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