Thousands, mostly Kashmiris, marched here in Britain’s capital to show solidarity with the oppressed people of occupied Kashmir as the curfew and media and communication blackout in the valley entered the 30th consecutive day.
The #KashmirFreedomMarch rally, which started from London’s Parliament Square, proceeded to the Indian High Commission to express solidarity with oppressed folks in the Muslim-majority Himalayan region and demand India to lift curfew and end the human rights violations. Chants of “We want freedom” and “Kashmiris need justice” rang out in the crowd, with protesters also calling out international organisations for not doing enough to free Kashmiris from India’s violence. Participants of the #KashmirFreedomMarch assembled in Parliament Square, with hundreds of coaches coming from all over the United Kingdom.
The march was organised by Kashmiri support and rights groups in the UK.
A day prior, the Indian High Commission in London was infuriated after the UK’s shadow culture secretary and the deputy leader of the Labour Party, Tom Watson, had highlighted a “humanitarian crisis” in the Indian occupied Kashmir and expressed solidarity with the Kashmiris.
Watson had used strong words to call out India over its aggression, violence, and human rights abuses in occupied Kashmir during the Kashmir Solidarity Day rally outside Birmingham City Council.
He had said: “I’ve never seen more worry on your faces than I’ve seen in the last 25 days. You’re worried about your loved ones that you can’t communicate with.” The Labour Party leader noted that people in occupied Kashmir “do not get medical supplies” and how “there’s no food or water or basic provisions”, terming the blackout “a humanitarian crisis”.
“That is a responsibility for all of us in the international community,” he stressed. Infuriated by Watson’s words, the Indian High Commission in London had responded by denying “facts on the ground” and saying: “Most of the phones working, no shortage of essential supplies and medicines, shops open, transport plying normally, most schools open, restrictions on movement substantially relaxed.
Meanwhile, the clampdown in Indian occupied Kashmir entered the 30th day on Tuesday after India withdrew Article 370 of its constitution that gave a special status to the disputed territory.
The valley which has been under a curfew since August 5, remains cut off from the rest of the world due to the continued blockade and suspension of internet, mobile and landline phones and closure of TV channels. A humanitarian crisis has been looming in the valley as people face acute shortage of food, medicines and other commodities.
Hospitals in the valley have run medicines, while the hospital staff has been finding it difficult to turn up for work due to the curfew and restrictions imposed by the Indian occupying forces a month ago. Residents have been confined to their houses due to stringent restrictions amid all the communication links of the territory with the outside world snapped by the authorities.