Ankara, August 24 (KMS): Members of Turkish non-governmental organizations (NGOs) gathered in front of the Indian Embassy in Ankara to express solidarity with the oppressed people of occupied Kashmir who are under strict lockdown for the past almost three weeks.

Members of the NGOs carried placards reading “The people of Kashmir want freedom” and “Kashmiris should be given the right to choose their political future”.

Addressing the rally, Ahmet Sanver, Chairman of the Anatolian Youth Association, Ankara branch, urged the Indian government to stop deploying more troops in the territory.

“The future and status of Kashmir should be decided by the people of Kashmir, not by New Delhi,” Sanver said, referring to a UN resolution over a plebiscite to decide the fate of the territory.

Occupied Kashmir is under strict clampdown since August 05 when Narendra Modi-led government scrapped Article 370 of the Indian Constitution that granted special status to the territory. Thousands of people including political leaders have been detained or arrested by the Indian authorities.

Issuing a statement, the NGOs expressed apprehension of the possibility of a major war over the Kashmir dispute.

Highlighting the importance of keeping the channels of dialogue open, the statement called upon India and Pakistan to avoid any kind of nuclear or conventional war. It said that India was to change the demographic composition of the occupied territory.

It also called upon the Turkish government to become a voice of Kashmiris and increase solidarity with the Kashmiri people.

A similar protest was also held outside the Indian Consulate in Istanbul where people waved flags of Pakistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir and chanted slogans in favour of Kashmir’s freedom from Indian occupation.

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