March For Kashmir Independence in London
A rally calling for Kashmir independence is being planned in London
NEW DELHI: Despite objections from India, the Kashmiris, including the local legal fraternity have started preparing to for a “Million March” in London on October 26, in solidarity and support for the independence of Jammu and Kashmir.
According to media reports, thousands of people are expected to participate in the rally that shall commence in London’s Trafalgar Square and end at British Prime Minister David Cameron's 10 Downing Street. New Delhi has lodged its protest with the British government.
The rally organized by former Prime Minister of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK), Barrister Sultan Mehmood Chaudhry is reportedly to “sensitise the world community towards the inordinate delay in the peaceful settlement of the Kashmir conflict following the traditional stubborn and hostile attitude of India.”
It is further expected to “push India to resolve the Kashmir issue with Pakistan”, reports added.
“The people of Kashmir have been struggling for many years to have the right to their own destiny. Imagine Scotland being partitioned into two parts with one being given independence and the other half occupied by British troops at a ratio of one soldier for every two civilians, with restrictions on all their movements. The people of Kashmir have always rejected the idea of having a border separating its people,” a news report quoted Chaudhry as saying.
Unveiling the schedule for the “Million March”, Barrister Sultan said that over two million UK-based Pakistani and Kashmiri expatriates as well as Kashmiris living across the EU, the US, POK and Indian side of Kashmir would participate.
It is pertinent to mention here that October 26 is treated as “Black Day” in Jammu and Kashmir in India as the Indian troops entered the state on the day in 1947. Every year the Kashmir observes complete shutdown on this day along with black flags being hoisted at various places across the valley.
The ‘Million March’ comes after a British MP David Ward recently managed to have the House of Commons debate the issue of Kashmir.
Meanwhile, India has voiced its protest in strong terms.
External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said that the matter was taken up by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during her talks with Deputy Prime Minister of Britain Nick Clegg in London last week.
Akbaruddin said the British side maintained that matters between India and Pakistan should be best addressed and resolved by the two countries.
“We had a discussion with our colleagues and interlocutors in London who assured us that their approach to this matter is that matters between India and Pakistan are best addressed and resolved by India and Pakistan and we have confidence that as two pluralist and open societies India and UK will not do anything that is inimical to their interest,” the MEA spokesperson said.