THE LABOUR party has been criticised for its “ill-conceived and partisan” resolution to the Kashmir crisis, with over 100 British-Indian organisations signing a letter to Jeremy Corbyn.
The groups signed an open letter to Jeremy Corbyn, criticising the Labour leader’s stance on the Kashmir crisis.
On September 25, Labour passed an emergency motion allowing international observers to enter Jammu and Kashmir – and demand the right of self-determination for its people.
Labour has since faced a backlash over the resolution, which has been seen as anti-India.
However, the British –Indian bodies have accused the Labour leader of bringing a bilateral affair between Pakistan and India into UK domestic politics.
In a letter addressed to Mr Corbyn, the groups accused Mr Corbyn of creating a “divisive” motion more concerned with UK politics.
The letter was signed by a plethora of groups, including the Indian Professionals Forum (IPF), Indian National Students Association (INSA), Hindu Council UK as well as temple bodies and community representatives.
The letter read: “We are writing collectively, as British-Indian community organisations, to express our deep dismay that Her Majesty’s Opposition has abandoned a long-standing cross-party position on Kashmir as a strictly bilateral matter between India and Pakistan, and in doing so, sown the seeds of community disharmony in the United Kingdom.
“The emergency motion passed at the recent Labour Party Conference is not acceptable to us as it seeks to interfere in the internal matters of, and between, third countries and is drafted in a one-sided and divisive manner.
“We are also hugely concerned about the wider attempts to bring the Kashmir issue into the domestic politics of the United Kingdom, which has serious ramifications for community harmony.”
The letter then warned of sub-continent politics spilling over to a Brexit-hit UK and causing further divisions.
“We are particularly dismayed by the virulent reaction by the Labour Party to the removal of an outdated, temporary provision that was hindering development of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir …progress, human rights, and values which we would have expected the Labour party to stand for” the letter adds, in reference to India’s abrogation of Article 370.
The region of Kashmir and Jammu has been fought over by Pakistan and India for decades.
Article 370 of the Indian constitution gave special status to the region of Jammu and Kashmir.
But India’s government revoked part of the constitution that gave Indian-administered Kashmir special status.
It prompted fears of unrest in the region.
In response, Mr Corbyn addressed the Labour Friends of India (LFIN) and invited then for a meeting to further discuss the issue.
He said: “The emergency motion on Kashmir came through as part of the democratic process of the Labour Party Conference.
“However, there is a recognition that some of the language used within it could be misinterpreted as hostile to India and the Indian Diaspora.”
A day after on September 26, a spokesperson for the Indian Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi said: “Government has noted certain developments at the Labour Party Conference on September 25 pertaining to the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir.
“We regret the uninformed and unfounded positions taken at this event.
“Clearly, this is an attempt at pandering to vote-bank interests.
“There is no question of engaging with the Labour Party or its representatives on this issue.”
India has enforced a strict lockdown on the region since removing Kashmir’s special status in August.
Nearly four million people were left without freedom of movement and left in a communications battle, leading many people to claim the lockdown is a direct infringement of their human rights.
On September 5, thousands of protesters descended on the India High Commission in London to demonstrate against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Protesters started from Parliament Square to the building in Aldwych, expressing solidarity with the people of India-occupied Kashmir.