LONDON: Kashmir Campaign Global has launched “Free Kashmir” campaign on a section of London transport network ahead of India’s Republic Day today (Friday) which is observed as “Black Day” by Kashmiris and Sikhs all over the world.
Zaffar Quraishi, Chairman of Kashmir Campaign Global who hails from the Indian-Held Kashmir but lives permanently in London in exile, told this scribe a series of campaigns would be launched across the UK and other parts of the world throughout the year to create awareness about the Kashmir issue.
At least seven vans were seen driving around the British Parliament carrying signboards titled “Free Kashmir” in reference to the occupation of a large of part of Kashmir by Indian occupation forces. India occupied this part at the time of Partition and has killed over 100,000 Kashmiris so far for demanding their birth right of freedom. Vans carrying slogans in favour of an independent homeland for Sikhs carried slogans “Khalistan Zindabad!” and “Raj Karega Khalsa”, sponsored by the Council of Khalistan were also seen in London.
“It has been 70 years since India, Pakistan, and international world promised afree and impartial referendum in Jammu & Kashmir,” Zaffar Quraishi said. “During the last 30 years alone, India has been ruling and subjugating the rightful aspirations of the people as promised by international community through 17 UNSC resolutions by using the Draconian laws such as AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act) and PSA (Public Safety Act).”
He said that these black laws have given immunity to Indian security forces and agencies since 1990 as result there are over 95,000 killed, 10,000 missing persons in Kashmir and thousands of unidentified graves littered across the border of Jammu and Kashmir. “As many as 8,000 half widows waiting for their husbands with no answers from the government if they are dead or alive after being picked by the security agencies, over 1000s of human rights violated daily in Indian-Held Kashmir, and yet the world seems to have turned a deaf ear and blind eye to the atrocities committed by the illegally occupying Indian forces in Indian Held Kashmir,” Zaffar Quraishi said, explaining why he was launching the campaign.
The vans carrying pictures of Kashmir children and women called on Indian occupation forces to leave Kashmir and let the Kashmiris decide their fate. Campaign against Indian brutalities has been supported by a group called “British Friends of Kashmir”.
The vans were seen passing from outside 10 Downing Street, Trafalgar Square, Westminster Abbey and Waterloo Bridge. A source told The News that the vans would run in London’s various parts for a month and then the campaign would be initiated in Birmingham, Bradford, Glasgow and Manchester.
In the UK, Kashmiris have planned dozens of events across the country to protest against India’s continued denial of Kashmiris’ right to self-determination.
Kashmiri groups have said that this day would be marked with protest outside Indian High Commission in London and Indian consulates in Birmingham, Manchester and Bradford. Kashmiris will stage protest outside Indian High Commission for two hours on Friday afternoon.
Zafar Qureshi said that the vans would run around London to draw attention towards the human rights abuses in Kashmir and he would be leading the campaign. South Asia Solidarity said it would hold a vigil “Stand Together Against Modi’s Violence and Hate!” outside Indian High Commission on India’s “Republic Day”. On the weekend at least 500 Dalit campaigners marched through London against barbaric treatment in India of Dalits by extremist Hindutva groups and support to these groups by the Indian government.
Monitoring desk adds: A European Union and Pakistan friendhip organisation Thursday arranged a motor rally in Brussels against India. According to media reports, people belonging to Pakistan, Indian minorities, including Sikhs and Dalits, human rights activists, and freelance journalists participated.
Over 60 vehicles joined the rally. The participants raised slogans against Indian brutalities in India-occupied Kashmir and other occupied regions such as Assam, Tripura, Nagaland, Sikkim and Manipur.
Participants were raising slogans, displaying banners (Free Assam, Free Tripura, Free Khalistan, Free IoK, India stop atrocities over minorities) placed on their vehicles highlighting Indian atrocities.