50 Labour Party MPs condemned Indian occupation in Kashmir

Socialist Campaign Group defied party leader on Kashmir

Labour left groups have spoken out to defy the party’s position on the Kashmiri conflict, as set out by Keir Starmer  last week after he met with the executive team of Labour Friends of India.
The Socialist Campaign Group, made up of MPs on the left of the party, has released a statement today expressing “solidarity with the people of Kashmir in their struggle against the world’s largest military occupation”.
In what is understood to be a reaction to Starmer’s recent comments, it declares that the group’s “internationalism acknowledges the role of British colonial injustices and the inalienable nature of universal human rights”.
The SCG includes shadow cabinet members Rebecca Long-Bailey, Marsha de Cordova and Andy McDonald, plus several other frontbenchers, such as shadow ministers Dan Carden and Imran Hussein.
Labour left activists have also voiced opposition to the policy, with new grassroots group Momentum Internationalists organising an open letter signed by hundreds of members that condemns the position expressed by Starmer.
Their statement explicitly argues against the position advocated by Starmer, saying that they were “disturbed” by the comments that were “in defiance of party policy”. It calls on the new leader to “respect our democracy and conference policy”.
It is signed by a number of Labour councilors, trade unionists, officers of local Labour parties, executive members of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front and party activists from across the country.
Labour conference in 2019 passed an emergency motion criticising the actions of India in the Kashmiri conflict and supporting self-determination rights for Kashmiris. LFIN said it contained “anti-Indian rhetoric”.
After the motion caused controversy, then party chair Ian Lavery issued a letter that described Kashmir as a bilateral issue for India and Pakistan to resolve and said Labour was opposed to external interference.
After Starmer’s call with the LFIN executive last week, he said: “We must not allow issues of the sub-continent to divide communities here. Any constitutional issues in India are a matter for the Indian Parliament, and Kashmir is a bilateral issue for India and Pakistan to resolve peacefully.”

Here is the full text of the Socialist Campaign Group (SCG) statement on Kashmir

“We reaffirm our solidarity with the people of Kashmir in their struggle against the world’s largest military occupation.
In accordance with the motion passed unanimously at Labour conference in 2019, and as enshrined by multiple UN resolutions, we recognise that Kashmir is a disputed territory and demand the realisation of the Kashmiri people’s right to self-determination, as mandated by UN Resolution 47.
“We are deeply concerned by the ongoing human rights violations, including torture, rape, extrajudicial execution and illegal detention, that continue to take place in Kashmir that have been widely documented by numerous human rights organisations and that have been intensified by Narendra Modi’s government.
“Furthermore, in August 2019, the Indian government unilaterally revoked Articles 370 and 35a of the constitution that granted Indian occupied Kashmir autonomy reflective of its status as an occupied territory, and subjected the Kashmir people to a seven-month long lockdown and repressive communications blackout that were brutally enforced by Indian Security Forces.
“We recognise the UK’s responsibility regarding the ongoing situation in Kashmir due to the historic role played in this conflict during the partition of the Indian sub-continent that laid the groundwork for the oppression faced by the Kashmiris.
“Our internationalism acknowledges the role of British colonial injustices and the inalienable nature of universal human rights.”

In a separate letter written by Momentum internationalists (a left wing group within Labour Party) also demanded from party leader to respect the position adopted in Party conference in 2019. 

Here is the full text of the open letter organised by Momentum Internationalists

“Labour must campaign for its democratically-agreed 2019 conference policy of demanding “the restoration of basic human rights and… the right to self-determination” in Kashmir.
“We were disturbed by Keir Starmer’s declaration, in defiance of party policy, that “any constitutional issues in India are a matter for the Indian Parliament” and his signalling through talk about “business links” and “dialogue” that he wants a rapprochement with India’s far-right government.
“He says “Labour is an internationalist party and stands for the defence of human rights everywhere”. For that to be more than empty words, the party must firmly oppose human rights violations everywhere, including in Kashmir; support democracy and the right to self-determination – including in Kashmir; and fight the global nationalist right, of which the Modi regime is a central pillar.
“We must not capitulate to the Hindu right’s communalist agitation in Britain, which seeks to divide communities on religious lines while shouting that support for human rights is divisive. We must not abandon our comrades in India fighting for democracy, workers’ rights and the rights of minorities against the Hindu nationalist regime.
“We call on Keir Starmer and the party leadership to respect our democracy and conference policy, and to show it is serious about the fight for human rights, including in Kashmir.”


1 comment:

  1. In fact majority cannot go with this & Party leader has to look after their vested interest with India


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