As the international community observed Women’s Day on Wednesday, the British government was urged to intervene in order to end the plight of women in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIoJK).
Fahim Kayani, president Tehreek-e-Kashmir UK, led a delegation to 10 Downing Street in London to submit a petition calling on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to hold India accountable on the continued occupation of Kashmir.
British Parliamentarians Jess Phillips, Paul Bristow, Afzal Khan, Tahir Ali, Muhammad Yaseen, Lord Qurban Hussain and Sam Tarry besides Councilor Muhammad Aslam, who is deputy Leader Luton Borough Council; Rayla Javed, vice president of the association of Muslim Lawyers UK; Rehana Ali, information secretary Tehreek-e-Kashmir UK; Sabba Ch, student leader and human rights activist were part of the delegation.
Earlier, while addressing the British parliament, MP Tahir said it was vital to talk about women in IIoJK "who are being subjected to rape, domestic abuse, kidnapping, forced marriage and torture by Prime Minister Modi’s extremist BJP-led government".
Addressing Sunak, Ali asked: "Does the Prime Minister agree with me that the BJP government has exploited women through gender-based violence and does he agree that the UK government should be standing in solidarity with Kashmiri women?"
Sunak replied that Britain "has led the way in preventing sexual violence in conflict" regions.
At 10 Downing Street, the delegation while reminding the British government of its responsibility regarding Kashmir, called on Sunak to “voice concern over the plight of Kashmiri women and be their support".
“While facing the brunt of the turmoil, stress related disorders have been taking their toll on women. More than 5,000 patients per year, majority of them women, visit doctors for psychiatric diseases and worst part is that most of the victims don't have financial resources to undergo treatment,” the petition read.
The British prime minister was also informed about how India repeatedly refuses to allow international aid from reaching IIOJK.
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“New Delhi has halted operations of international groups including Red Cross and other aid and watch groups.
“It is therefore urged upon your office to kindly take up this issue with Indian authorities to at least allow any British aid group to work in the Indian Illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIoJK)”, the delegation told the British prime minister’s office through the petition.
Addressing Sunak, the delegation wrote: “It is also requested to your good self to press Indian authorities to allow international legal aid for Kashmiri political prisoners so that they can get justice.”
Pointing out that India has deployed one million military personnel in IIOJK, the petition stated that the everyday actions of Indian forces “violate the dignity of the Kashmiri women”.
“Kashmiri women are survivors of world’s biggest sexist military that is Indian military,” it added.