Members of MINAB are extremely anxious about the curfew and lock down in Jammu & Kashmir which has been on-going since 5 August 2019. MINAB has been working closely with many Imams, given the deep sadness and dismay that their congregations in particular, and the Muslim community in general, has been experiencing over the harrowing recent events concerning Kashmir.
Millions of people have been locked down in Kashmir without any communication with the outside world. For months, the people of Kashmir have not been able to exercise their basic freedoms of movement or religion. They have not been able to visit their family members, go to mosques to worship or even reach hospitals in life-critical situations.
Thousands of Indian military personnel are placed on guard in what has become the most militarised region in the world. The on-going events are interpreted as the humiliation of a people and an escalation of what the OHCHR describes as widespread and systematic human rights violations, which have been going on since 1990.
British Muslims are holding special services and peace vigils in their mosques, praying for a resolution to end the dire situation and pleading with the international community for the freedom of movement of Kashmiri citizens and their means of communication to be fully restored, as well as access to all essential services to be provided immediately. Moreover, more than 1 million British citizens of Kashmiri descent anxiously await Britain to act to protect the rights of people of Kashmir.
By revoking Articles 370 and 35a (without any attempt at consultation), the Indian Government has stripped the people of Kashmir of their democratic rights, their legislature and their territorial exclusivity protection. MINAB strongly condemns the unilateral revocation of Article 370 of the Indian constitution and asks for the special Status of Jammu & Kashmir to be restored.
The UN resolutions promised the Kashmiris a right to determine their own future – a promise that has been disregarded for over 70 years. The international community, including Britain, has a moral duty to prevent the violation of human rights in Kashmir. British Muslims are demanding that the inalienable right to freedom of the people of Jammu & Kashmir as enshrined in the UN Security Council resolutions must be upheld. The international community must not remain a silent spectator to the plight of the innocent people of Kashmir.
The Chair of Mosques & Imams National Advisory Board, Imam Qari Asim, said: “We believe the dispute over the Kashmir territory should be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy, and in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolutions and international law.
Regional peace and stability is linked to the protection of the rights of people in Kashmir. The international community must not remain silent; it must offer its support to the voiceless, subjugated people of Kashmir.”
However, despite their differences, British Muslims and British Hindus must continue to work towards maintaining community cohesion in Britain.
Imam Qari Asim said “We should be able to disagree without being abusive towards each other or promoting hostility towards the other in Britain.”