EU urged to play role in Kashmir settlement

Brussels, August 09 (KMS): Members of the European Parliament have urged the European Union to find ways to engage with all regional actors to bring about a lasting solution to the longstanding Kashmir dispute.

MEPs, Irina von Wiese, Shaffaq Mohammed, Phil Bennion, Judith Bunting, Chris Davies, Antony Hook, Martin Horwood, Lucy Nethsingha and Sheila Ritchie in a letter to the High Representative of the EU, Ms Federica Mogherini, said that over the last few days the Indian authorities had increased the number of troops in Kashmir and had also cancelled the annual Hindu pilgrimage to the region, scheduled for this week.

They said according to media reports the Indian army used cluster ammunition near the Line of Control, reportedly killing two civilians, on July 30. “We recall that the use of cluster ammunition would amount to a clear violation of the Geneva Conventions and of the international humanitarian law”, they added.

The MEPs said, the tension has been further heightened following an announcement by the Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah on August 05 that the President has signed a decree abolishing Article 370 of the Indian Constitution which guaranteed special status for Kashmir

They said, “We are concerned that this will inflame the already worsening situation in the region that is home to over seven million people; according to international press reports, telephone, internet and cable networks were all cut off other night of 4 August and some local leaders were put under house arrest.”

They said, “We are gravely concerned that the recent development. The European Union is founded upon the principles of respect for human dignity, human rights, freedom democracy and the rule of law. The EU should stand steadfast in support of these principles and values whenever in the world we find them challenged. For seven decades the people of Kashmir have endured hardship and silence of the rest of the world.”

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