Bradford, October 17 (KMS): Members of all political parties at a debate in Bradford City Hall condemned the human rights violations currently taking place in occupied Kashmir.

Several councillors with Kashmiri heritage gave emotional speeches detailing the plight of Kashmiri people and called upon the UK government to do more to tackle the issue.

A six-hour meeting of the full Council saw two separate motions calling for the Council to condemn human rights violations currently happening in the occupied territory.

A large amount of Bradford’s Asian population links to the area, and there have been a number of protests against human rights violations carried out by the Indian government in occupied Kashmir.

Councillor Naveed Riaz said: “The escalation of rights violations since August 5 is particularly alarming. The communications lockdown is disturbing especially for people with family members living in Kashmir who are not able to know what is happening in the area. I call on the Council to condemn the human rights violations happening.”

Councillor Jeanette Sunderland said: I can’t imagine the pain many people in Bradford feel not being able to contact their friends, families and loved ones in that area. At what point will the international community come together to stop the suffering of innocents? At what point will our leaders say ‘enough is enough?’ This is a crisis of human rights.”

Councillor John Pennington, Conservative Leader in Bradford, said: “Where is the UN in all this, they seem to be quite quiet?” A Kashmir campaigner in the public gallery shouted “Where’s Boris?”

Councillor Kamran Hussain said: “As a Councillor of Kashmiri heritage this is close to my heart. The Indian government has committed an act of provocation against the people of Kashmir and those who fight for self determination. They are stopping the outside world from seeing what is going on.”

Councillor Sinead Engel (Lab, Clayton and Fairweather Green) said: “I think, if I had been born at the same time but in Kashmir, what would my life be like? I might not be able to get medicine for my children, or I might have seen them beaten or detained. This is not a Kashmir issue, it is a human issue.”

Councillor Nazam Azam compared the issue to if England, Scotland and Wales came together to determine the future of Scotland without asking the people of Scotland.

Councillor Khadim Hussain said: “We must press the UN for a resolution. India should be the largest democracy in the world.”

Councillor Riaz Ahmed said that many within the Indian and Sikh communities had stood with the Kashmiri community. He added: “Shame on the British government for staying silent on this.”

Council leader Susan Hinchcliffe said: “This is absolutely something we should be discussing in this chamber. Many of our residents are concerned about their families’ safety. I think today we have done our job to raise this issue, now it is up to the international community to do theirs.”

The Council then voted to approve a motion calling for the government to commit to supporting the Kashmiri people’s right of self-determination, and call on the Indian Government to restore all communications to the region.

The motion adds: “This motion is in no way a reflection on the Indian community in Bradford. We value their social and economic contribution to the district as Bradfordians.”

Other Councillors pointed out the importance of condemning all international human rights abuses, including in Yemen and Syria.


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