Aylesbury Kashmiri community calls on council for support in Kashmir crisis

Protesters gathered outside the AVDC building this morningProtesters gathered outside the AVDC building this morning
Protesters gathered outside the AVDC building this morning
Aylesbury Kashmiri community gathered today outside the Aylesbury Vale District Council Offices to protest India's abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir.

In a council meeting this morning, Buckinghamshire County Council voted to support a motion asking councillors to write to Buckinghamshire MPs encouraging them to approach the foreign secretary and raise issues in Government to intervene in the current situation in Kashmir.

The motion passed unanimously.

Here's what's currently going on in Kashmir:

Protesters are calling to end the violence in KashmirProtesters are calling to end the violence in Kashmir
Protesters are calling to end the violence in Kashmir

A presidential decree issued by India on August 5 revoked Article 370 of India's constitution that guaranteed special rights to the Muslim-majority state, including the right to its own constitution and autonomy to make laws on all matters except defence, communications and foreign affairs.

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In the lead-up to the move, India sent thousands of additional troops to the disputed region, imposed a crippling curfew, shut down telecommunications and the internet, and arrested political leaders.

We spoke to Asad Mahmood who organised the protest at Aylesbury Vale District Council this morning.

He said: "First of all I am Grateful for the people who have come today and helped organise the protest, and to the councillors who helped organise the event.

"The turnout has been absolutely fantastic, which demonstrates the strength of feeling on the atrocities going on in Kashmir at the moment.

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"We're here today as there is a motion being tabled, asking all of our councillors to write to our local MPs encouraging them to approach the foreign secretary and the Government to intervene and help to bring about a peaceful and lasting resolution to the issues faced by Kashmirs.

"There is a huge sense of distress about the Government lock down which has been going on for more than 50 days now.

Asad also said that the crisis is not getting the detention it deserves, as Kashmir is now the largest military occupied zone on the planet.

He added: "Many of the people gathered here today have direct relatives in the region. They can't get in touch with them, they don't know how they are coping and many are fearing the worst.

"It's unacceptable by any moral standard.

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"We want a united show of strength from our councillors for something that is so palpably wrong on behalf of the Indian Government. We want them to help put pressure on our Government to take the international role and help people across the globe."

Kashmir is a Himalayan region that both India and Pakistan say is fully theirs.

The area was once a princely state called Jammu and Kashmir, but it joined India in 1947 soon after the sub-continent was divided up at the end of British rule.

India and Pakistan subsequently went to war over it and each came to control different parts of the territory with a ceasefire line agreed.

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Over 100,000 people have been killed due to fighting in Kashmir since 1989.

Cllr Tuffail Hussain said: "We are supporting this motion to have a discussion on the Kashmir crisis.

"The people of Kashmir have been locked down without food or medicine for 50 days now.

"Over 100,000 people have been killed in the Kashmir and 120,000 locked up without any trial

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"People who want to see relatives can't. They can't even get in touch with them. Can you imagine what they are going through?

"Children cannot go to school, it's a dire situation that needs a peaceful resolution quickly. The world is silent.

"We need out MPs to raise their voices in the House of Commons, the people of Aylesbury need representing and their families need help."

Councillor Niknam Hussain said: "It's great to see the Motion raising the issue of Kashmir unanimously passed at Buckinghamshire County Council today.

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"The debate raised the issues of our residents anxieties for their loved ones in Kashmir who are under curfew for over 50 days. Arbitrary arrests taking place and the trampling of human rights.

"We are rightly proud of the diverse community and it's wonderful peaceful cohesion in Buckinghamshire. This motion raises our concerns for residents to our MP's and our Government."