BERLIN/ LONDON: Germany urged the Indian government on Monday to hold dialogue with the people of Jammu and Kashmir and comply with the Constitution, as tensions rose over a move to scrap the special status of the region. Speaking at a news conference here, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Adebahr said Germany was closely following developments in the region.
We believe that all further steps of the government must comply with India’s Constitution, she said, and urged the government to respect civil rights secured by the law. We are calling on the Indian government to hold dialogue with the population concerned about its plans, its intentions, Adebahr added. On the other hand, the British government has called on India and Pakistan to “remain clam” after tensions escalated in the wake of Indian government’s decision to revoke Article 370 of the Indian constitution regarding occupied Kashmir – in complete violation of the United Nations resolution.
A spokesman of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said that Britain was assessing the situation. We are following developments closely and support calls for the situation to remain calm. It was learnt that the British government’s senior officials have spoken several times in the last 48 hours to officials in Indian and Pakistan governments. The spokesman didn’t answer further questions but confirmed that the UK is in “close contact” with both governments.
The UK government’s statement came after protests broke out in many cities on Monday. Several protests and events have been planned over two weeks as large Kashmiri community feels outraged at the Indian actions. The feeling of anger is so widespread that a large protest was held on Monday night outside India High Commission here attended by a large section of the Indian civil society.
Dozens of British parliamentarians have expressed their shock at the Indian actions, calling on the British government to take notice of the situation and exercise influence on India.
In a letter to the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, MPs Yasmin Qureshi, Shadow Justice Minister Rushanara Ali, Rosena Allin-Khan, Shabana Mahmood, Afzal Khan, Khalid Mahmood, Faisal Rashid, Mohammed Yasin and Baroness Sheehan said that Modi government had orchestrated a coup against the Indian constitution.
The MPs informed: “Since Friday, the Indian government has moved thousands of troops into Kashmir and placed heavy restrictions on the daily life of its seven million residents. There have been numerous reports that the mainstream political leaders have been placed under house arrest, schools shut down, telephone and internet services severed, and all public movement banned; leaving the region in complete lockdown.
Most concerning are reports that Indian authorities have used cluster ammunition against civilians, leading to the death of two civilians including a four-year-old child and over a dozen injuries. Reports state that in recent days 38,000 Indian troops have been deployed to the region in addition to the existing 700,000 occupational forces. The MPs told the PM that there can be no doubt that the region of Kashmir has been a festering wound since the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947.
The MPs called on Boris Johnson to strongly condemn the actions of the Indian government in revoking Article 370 and to consider the wider context of this act led by Prime Minister Modi, the leader of a far-right political wing of Hindu nationalism. The letter stated, this is a movement that is changing India for the worse and one that views Muslims as second-class citizens, BBC reports have detailed how many are lynched by Hindu Nationalists in the name of cow protection.
His recent re-election has given an electoral mandate to majoritarian nationalism at best and Hindu fascism at worst. It is emboldening the reactionary elements at work in India, unleashing them even further, and lead to even more violence against Muslims. The demotion of Kashmir into what will effectively be a colony ruled from Delhi, will serve only to reinforce the growing view that in Modi’s India, Muslims are second class citizens.
More worryingly, as a consequence of the revocation of Article 370 there are very real concerns on ‘land grabbing’ with reports that the government is planning to build exclusive Hindu settlements in the region which would lead to the deliberate demographic transformation of the region from majority Muslim to majority-Hindu.