On Monday, over 100 British-Indian professional and community organizations wrote to the UK Opposition Leader, Jeremy Corbyn, to criticize the Labour Party’s stance on Kashmir in the wake of the Indian government revoking the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
On September 25, the Labour Party passed an emergency motion on Kashmir calling for party leader Corbyn to seek international observers to “enter” the region and demand the right of self-determination for its people. It drew criticism from the Indian diaspora representatives who described it as “ill-conceived” and “misinformed”.
In the letter, the Indian Professionals Forum (IPF), Indian National Students Association (INSA), Hindu Council UK as well as temple bodies and community representatives, added their name.
“We are writing collectively, as British-Indian community organizations, to express our deep dismay that Her Majesty’s Opposition has abandoned a long-standing cross-party position on Kashmir as a strictly bilateral matter between India and Pakistan, and in doing so, sown the seeds of community disharmony in the United Kingdom,” the letter notes.
“The emergency motion passed at the recent Labour Party Conference is not acceptable to us as it seeks to interfere in the internal matters of, and between, third countries and is drafted in a one-sided and divisive manner…We are also hugely concerned about the wider attempts to bring the Kashmir issue into the domestic politics of the United Kingdom, which has serious ramifications for community harmony,” it says.
In reference to the abrogation of Article 370, the letter adds that “We are particularly dismayed by the virulent reaction by the Labour Party to the removal of an outdated, temporary provision that was hindering development of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.”
Manoj Ladwa, the CEO of UK-based media house India Inc and former Chair of Labour’s Indian Community Engagement Forum said, “This is huge and unprecedented. I cannot recall ever so many British Indian organizations writing in protest to a leader of a political party.”
Regarding the letter, there was a conflict between the UK’s Opposition and diaspora groups after the Labour Party passed what the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) branded an “uninformed and unfounded” motion last month.