ISLAMABAD - Over a dozen members of the European Parliament (EP) have written a letter to President of the European Commission Ursula Von Der Leyen and Vice President Commission/High Representative Josep Borrell to immediately intervene over the alarming situation in the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir where intolerable suppression of freedom and fundamental rights over the past seven decades continued unabated.

In their combined letter bearing signatures of fifteen Members of EP, they called upon the Commission on behalf of the European Union, to express their concerns with the Indian government on these issues and ask for fulfillment of her International legal obligations by responding and adopting the recommendations in the UNHRC reports.

They said due to the continued tensions, the people of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir had been subject to intolerable suppression of their freedom and fundamental rights as it was shown by the accounts of many human rights organisations and the 2018 and 2019 reports of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

 

 “The struggle for control over the region has led to a great number of civilian deaths and displaced people, the numbers rising in recent years as shown by the report of the Srinagar based Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society: generation after generation of Kashmiris have witnessed nothing but unending oppression,” the contents of the letter said.

Expressing their shared concerns, they said fulfilling the promises of the 2019 election BJP’s electoral manifesto, Prime Minister Modi proceeded to revoke Kashmir’s special status with a presidential decree on August 5, 2019.

 

In the lead-up to the move, India sent thousands of additional troops to the disputed region, imposed a crippling curfew, shut down telecommunications and internet and arrested political leaders, imposing a nine months long military lockdown, thereby threatening the negotiation process, it added.

The letter was sent jointly by Fabio Massimo CASTALDO MEP (NI), Bettina VOLLATH MEP (S&D) Helmut SCHOLZ MEP (GUE/NGL), Maria ARENA MEP (S&D), Daniela RONDINELLI MEP (NI), Javier NART MEP (RENEW), Carles PUIGDEMONT I CASAMAJÓ MEP (NI),Antoni COMIN I OLIVERES MEP (NI), Clara PONSATÍ OBIOLS MEP (NI), Alviina ALAMETSÄ MEP (GREENS/EFA), Ernest URTASUN MEP (GREENS/EFA), Klaus BUCHNER MEP (GREENS/EFA), Mick WALLACE MEP (GUE/NGL), Rosa D’AMATO MEP (NI) and Manuel BOMPARD MEP (GUE/NGL).

 

It was extremely regrettable that India had been inverting this trend under the impact of an ever increasing Hindu nationalist grip on society and politics, the members of the EP expressed their concerns.

They stressed upon the European Commission to look at this region with great concern and avoid at all cost an escalation of the conflict by strengthening their dialogue with India, Pakistan and the representatives of Kashmir in the resolution of the conflict.

 

They must ask for putting ‘a halt to any form of violence, abuse and discrimination against the Kashmiri and the overall Indian Muslim population and to guarantee the full respect of their human rights’, they emphasized. They further stressed that a renewed attempt at peace talks between the two countries was needed more than ever in order to give Kashmiri people in IOJ&K hope and a chance at self-determination.

 

In light of the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ appeal for Global Ceasefire to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, they believed that the European Union should do more over Kashmir dispute.

 “As European Parliamentarians, we will do our share, increasing our engagement in parliamentary diplomacy with colleagues in India and Pakistan to foster a climate of detente and dialogue, and being vocal in calling for a real change in Kashmir,” they added.

They said the European Union action on the international scene was guided by principles of democracy, rule of law, universality and indivisibility of human rights and fundamental freedoms, respect for human dignity, principles of equality and solidarity, and respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter and international law. But still, this was not the case in IOJ&K, probably the world’s longest running conflict, which was internationally recognized as one of the world’s most militarized zones in the world and a tremendously dangerous conflict flash point.