I was deeply alarmed by the Indian Government’s decision this week to revoke Article 370 of their constitution, which gives Jammu and Kashmir special autonomous status, as well as by their deployment of tens of thousands of additional soldiers and paramilitary police to the region, the lockdown in the region and the detention of political leaders.
Jammu and Kashmir has been contested between India and Pakistan since independence from British colonial rule in 1947. In 1948 the UN called for a plebiscite to let the people of the region determine their own future, but this has been consistently refused by India which has continued to run the country, but the special autonomous status has been key to stability in the region.
I’ve been a longstanding member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Kashmir and our Chair, Debbie Abrahams MP, wrote immediately to the Foreign Secretary after the Indian announcement. This week I’ve been contacted by lots of constituents who share my concern about the latest developments, and today I’ve written personally to the Foreign Secretary
I’ve written to the Foreign Secretary expressing my concern and urging him to express stronger opposition to the developments, and to work with the UN and the Commonwealth to press the Indian Government to reverse their decision, and for a peaceful resolution including the right of the people of the region to hold a plebiscite on their future.