In the experience of Kashmiri Hindus, threats such as these have been employed by the extremist to get a foot hold in Kashmir where they then exercise their brutal Sharia style regime.
Britain's former minister in charge of business engagement with India, Gregory Barker MP, shared an enlightened view. "There is a democratic process in place and around 61 per cent of the population participated in state elections in the region, which sits as part of the world's largest democracy," adding, "Any British insertion will be very unhelpful...India has been the subject of vile terrorist attacks and we stand shoulder to shoulder [with India] on the issue of terrorism".
Conservative Bob Blackman MP of Harrow East (Chair of the All Political Party Group for Hindus) objected to the appeal for right of self determination being projected as a demand of ‘Kashmiris’. He informed the House that, ‘the state of Jammu & Kashmir was a multi-religious and multi-ethnic state that was very much a part of India’. He reminded the Parliamentarians that, ‘the Maharaja ceded the territory to India. The Pakistani Government and forces refused to accept that decision and invaded. It was at the behest of the Maharaja that the Indian army moved in to try to wrest control back, according to the original purpose. That was in 1947.’ Condemning the terrorist activity in the state, he added, ‘the continued conflict of the past 70 years is terrible, but that it is clear where responsibility for it lies. We must place it fairly and squarely with the Pakistanis and their successive Governments.’ He added, ‘The Shi’a Muslims do not support the right of self-determination, and nor do the Gujjars and Bakarwals, Buddhists, Hindi Dogras, Kashmiri Pandits, Sikhs or Christians.’
Labour MP Virendra Sharma of Southall and Ealing said, ' Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India, the largest democracy in the world, one that is secular, and with elected representation from all the country’s main religions'. The elections in Jammu and Kashmir are open to all. All citizens, regardless of their faith or political beliefs, have been encouraged to exercise their democratic right. As I am sure we will all agree, in a free democracy the ballot box is the best illustration of the will of the people. The elections in Jammu and Kashmir have not reflected any determination for separatism. It is for us to respect the democratic choice of the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir, not to question it.
Gregory Barker MP of Bexhill and Battle constituency added weight to this and said, ‘we must remind ourselves that the recently concluded Indian elections were the largest exercise in democracy in the history of the world: 550 million free Indians, including 7 million from Jammu and Kashmir, voted in peaceful elections and witnessed the orderly transition of power to a new Government with a new vision’. Adding further he said, ‘Jihadi elements and terrorists are infiltrating into India from Pakistan as part of a terror campaign. The border is porous and must be protected. Soldiers are there not simply to intimidate but to protect the integrity of not only Jammu and Kashmir but the whole Indian nation, which has been subject to vile terrorist attacks, just like we have in the west and in the UK’.
The MPs commended the Kashmiri Pandits Cultural Society for providing them with quality briefing notes updating them with facts and figures, and in apprising them of the situation on the ground. Lakshmi Kaul from the Kashmiri Pandits Cultural Society (KPCS) said, ‘Painfully for years the propaganda and vote bank politics has sidelined the plight of not only the Kashmiri Hindus, but also other non-Muslim minorities. Today we are pleased to note that some of our British MPs have understood the real nature of the problem in Kashmir, the constant cross border terrorist attacks that have rendered our community to flee for their very lives. With the new Government in Delhi with a new vision from PM Modi, we are hopeful that soon there will be justice for all Kashmiri Hindus’.
Attending the debate was Satish Sharma the Secretary General of the National Council of Hindu Temples. He commented, “Even though MP David Wards’ motivation in calling for the debate may have been unsound and biased, the Hindu community of the UK is indebted to him for helping to bring the issue of the genocide of the Kashmiri Hindus at the hands of Pakistani Muslim terrorists, on to the national and international stage. Bob Blackman MP and Paul Uppal MP and other members of the Government benches presented compelling, well researched arguments and the Hindu community of the UK should appreciate their contribution”. Mr Sharma went on to say “I was pleased that even Labour MP’s Bob Gardiner and Virendra Sharma were clear in stating that the State sponsored Pakistani Muslim campaign of terror could no longer be ignored and that British citizens of Pakistani Muslim origin should not be using this subject to ferment hatred and divisions here in the UK”.
Messages of support have been arriving from across the country and even from abroad. Trupti Patel Vice President of Hindu Forum of Britain commented, ‘The Hindu Forum of Britain stands side by side with our brothers and sisters, the Kashmiri Hindus. The plight of Kashmiri Hindus has resulted from gross violations of cross border terrorist attacks from Pakistan. When men, women and children are threatened at gun point to convert to Islam or die – what options do these peace loving people have but to flee from their ancestral lands into the relative safety of refugee camps in India. We are pleased to note that some Parliamentarians have understood the real threat and have elected to state the facts ignoring the dreaded political correctness that has blighted so much of this discussion. Justice for Kashmiri Hindus is now a must and we must all rally behind the victims who fled the genocide coming from cross border extremist Jihadi Muslims’.
The adjournment debate was sponsored by the Bradford East Liberal Democrat MP David Ward and intended to discuss the ‘Political and Humanitarian situation in Kashmir’. The MP, who has a sizeable Muslim Kashmiri (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir) population in his constituency, reminded us of what Barrister Sultan Mahmood Chaudhry, the former AJK Prime Minister said when he met MPs through the all-party parliamentary group for Kashmir. With the rise of extreme jihadists and NATO forces leaving Afghanistan, there is a real danger that what he called “unemployed jihadists” will look for new opportunities within the unresolved Kashmir conflict.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr Tobias Ellwood) was also in attendance. He stated, ‘The UK Government recognise the importance of a strong relationship between India and Pakistan not only for its own sake, but for regional stability. We encourage both sides to maintain dialogue, the pace and scope of which is for the two countries to determine. In that context, we welcome the renewed engagement between India and Pakistan in recent years, including the potential economic benefits that that would bring. We hope that both sides will continue to take further steps to help the growth of both countries’ economies’. He added, ‘We agree with [the Indian Prime Minister] Mr Narendra Modi that any meaningful bilateral dialogue necessarily requires an environment that is free from terrorism and violence’.
Labour MP Barry Gardiner echoed the British government stand and compared the discussion to the ongoing debate around Scotland's independence from the United Kingdom. "This is almost akin to the Lok Sabha debating the merits and de-merits of Scottish independence," he said. He went on to remind everyone that ‘More than 20,000 people have already been killed by terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir, and it is no use hon. Members here in this Chamber of all places condemning the radicalisation of young Muslim men in their own constituencies, while ignoring the fact that those young men are trained in the terror camps that are operating on the Pakistan border with Jammu and Kashmir. Those who continue to argue to undermine the legitimate sovereignty of India might do better to reflect that the people of India live in a relatively transparent and well-functioning democracy where the economy is growing’.