ISLAMABAD, Jan 19 (APP): Member British Parliament Debbie Abrahams has urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to take up the issue of massive human rights violations, being committed in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to India.
The MP, in a letter written to Boris also asked to raise the discriminatory attitude being meted out to minorities and the prevailing situation in the IIOJK with the Indian Prime Minister.
In the letter, which was also shared on her twitter account, Debbie who is MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth Chair of Kashmir APPKG said, the APPKG was concerned about escalating violence across Indian illegally occupied Jammu Kashmir.
She said that the Indian government revoked Article 360 and in particular Article 35A which had given special status and semi-autonomy to the people of the state of Jammu and Kashmir since partition.
The Indian government annulled Kashmir’s constitution and split the area into two federal territories-Ladakh, and Jammu and Kashmir and has imposed direct rule by the Indian government from Delhi. In addition, there has been a further erosion of inherited protections on land and jobs. A dozen petitions challenging the constitutionality of the move remain pending with India’s Supreme Court, she further apprised the PM.
She said, many prominent Kashmiri politicians and public figures in the region have been detained with no recourse, or are under threat. Even Children have been detained without charge. She said, hundreds of people, including civil society members, advocates and journalists have been detained.
Debbie Abrahams said, cell phone and internet access were blocked in the region.
Thousands of innocent people have been killed in the violence by the forces, she added.
She said that it has been reported that Indian army officers are often given rewards for the capture and killing of the people, either in financial pay-offs or promotions.
The MP said, organisations such as Amnesty international and Human Rights Watch have raised concerns about human rights abuses in the region.
“UN human rights experts last year called on India and the international community to take urgent action to address the alarming human rights situation in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir territory. The experts have also raised concerns with the Indian government about alleged arbitrary detention and torture and ill-treatment as well as the criminalization of journalists covering the situation and the detention and deteriorating health of a high profile human rights lawyer, ” she said.
She informed the PM through the letter that in late September 2020, Amnesty International (Al) was forced to shut down operations in India citing a “witch hunt” against the human rights organization.
She also informed the PM about Citizenship Amendment Act and how this was used against Muslim community.
She by quoting, the Factchecker and recent New Yorker article said almost three hundred deaths were recorded as hate crimes motivated by religion in the past decade- almost all of them since Narendra Modi became Prime Minister.
She said that it has been reported that Hindu nationalist mobs have killed dozens of Muslim men. Unfortunately, she said, the Indian Prime Minister said little or nothing to condemn such acts when they occurred.
She further explained to PM that crackdown on critics-including lawyers, activists; journalists and students had also increased during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Courts are only partly functioning and protest gatherings have been banned. There has also been a particular focus from the Indian government on organizations which are claimed to be funded from overseas. This was the charge made by authorities against Amnesty International and India had previously frozen the bank accounts of Greenpace.
Indian authorities had previously raided the offices of human rights lawyers too” she said.
She also said most recently Indian government had used force against peacefully protesting Punjab farmers, predominantly Sikhs, who fear the recent Farm Acts will drive them out of business.
He asked the British PM , “You will agree with me that for the world’s largest democracy to be reported to be behaving in these ways are very alarming.”
She said, “We believe it is essential that you and the government more widely, raise these very serious concerns directly in your on-going discussions with Prime Minister Modi and his government.”
She said, that the protection of fundamental human rights must not be traded for economic gain. “Any trade deal will make this explicit. As the UK Government embarks on a year for “Global Britain on the world stage” it is essential that we set out our stance with the rule of law and human rights at its heart, ” she added.
President-elect Biden’s office has already expressed concerns over the adverse human rights impact of some of the Indian government’s recent policies, such as the Citizenship Amendment Act and the clampdown on political freedoms in Indian Illegally ccupied Jammu and Kashmir.
Debbie Abrahams said, “I draw your attention to the warning that your own High Commission in Pakistan made to the APPKG delegation in February 2020 and which I reported to Lord Ahmad: the escalating tensions between India and Pakistan, both nuclear powers, makes Kashmir the number one security concern in the world. The recent conflict between India and China adds to this. “I urge you to raise these matters with Prime Minister Modi in your ongoing discussions and when you visit India.”