The decision by Prime Minister Modi to revoke article 35a and 370 of the Indian constitution has brought needless pain and suffering to those who live in Jammu and Kashmir and uncertainty to their friends and family across the world – many of them living in our communities in Stoke-on-Trent.
As an MP that represents communities with significant ties to the region, I have listened to the anguish of friends unable to contact loved ones in the region, fearful for their safety as tensions in the region continue to escalate. Articles 35a and 370 enshrine special status for residents of Jammu and Kashmir in terms of autonomous government and ensuring their human rights. The revocation is a serious infringement of their most basic human rights and a needless escalation of tensions in the region.
The revocation of these articles combined with the deployment of tens of thousands of troops to the region, the cutting of communication platforms, the shutting of schools and colleges and the reported placing of regional politicians under house arrest is simply unacceptable behaviour by Prime Minister Modi.
I, along with my colleague Ruth Smeeth MP, have written to the High Commissioners for India and Pakistan, the UN Secretary-General and the Foreign Office to express our distress at the current situation, to urge for the immediate reinstatement of articles 35a and 370 and for all diplomatic avenues to be explored to bring back stability and peace to the region.