“Whoever relieves a believer’s distress of the distressful aspects of this world, Allah will rescue him from a difficulty of the difficulties of the Hereafter. Whoever alleviates [the situation of] one in dire straits who cannot repay his debt, Allah will alleviate his lot in both this world and in the Hereafter. Whoever conceals [the faults of] a Muslim, Allah will conceal [his faults] in this life and the Hereafter.”
The Indian government has abolished Article 370 of the constitution, which essentially revokes the quasi-autonomy of Kashmir. Mehbooba Mufti, the former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, has described the move as ‘the darkest day in Indian democracy’.
There is grave concern for the well-being of the people of Kashmir; India is deploying tens of thousands of troops into one of the most heavily militarised regions on the planet. The deplorable human rights abuses in India-occupied Kashmir is well known, and a treacherous and controversial political move such as this will only worsen the situation.
Immediate action is needed. It is our duty as believers.
One way you can help is by pressurising the UK Government to condemn the move.
The Labour Party’s Shadow Foreign Minister, Liz McInnes, has called on the UK Government to ‘immediately drop any plans to withdraw Kashmir’s special status’. Dominic Raab has spoken with the Indian Foreign Minister, and have ‘expressed concerns’ about the situation, ‘but also had a clear readout of the situation from the perspective of the Indian government’.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan also had a telephone conversation with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in which ‘the leaders discussed the serious situation in Kashmir’. The UK Government must be lobbied to adopt a firmer stance, and pressurise India to withdraw its abrasive and callous move. Sufficient quality and quantity of communications aimed at key decision makers may, insha’Allah, influence the Government’s position.
You can write to Dominic Raab, current Foreign Secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, current Minister of State for the Commonwealth, the UN and South Asia at email@example.com. You can also email the Foreign Office directly: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also tweet to the Foreign Office’s twitter account: @foreignoffice. Likewise, you can also tweet to @DominicRaab , and @tariqahmadbt .
Social media is monitored by Government departments, so a sufficient quality and quantity of messages may have an impact.
You should also write to your local MP: https://www.parliament.uk/get-involved/contact-your-mp/ . Encourage them to raise the topic of Kashmir during Prime Minister Question Time, or otherwise.
When writing, you can use the following lines of reasoning as to why the Government should rebuke the Indian government’s decision:
- Regional peace and stability will be threatened. The move will provoke a strong response from Pakistan. Two of the three wars between India and Pakistan have been fought over Kashmir. Tensions are already high between the two nuclear-armed states since February.
- Unrest and violence will almost certainly increase in Kashmir. Rahul Roy-Chaudhry, a senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies has said that the move is widely expected to increase unrest in Kashmir. Dr. Gareth Price, a senior research fellow for the Asia-Pacific Programme at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, has said that ‘it is difficult to imagine a positive outcome’. The human rights abuses of the Indian military against the Kashmiri people is very well documented – increased security from Indian forces will only worsen this.
- Pakistan is seeking to avoid violence by internationalising the situation. Pakistan has contacted correspondents in Turkey and Malaysia for support. The UK Government can contribute to international pressure on India and avoid a direct confrontation between India and Pakistan.
- Pressurising the Indian government is not a controversial position for the Government to adopt. The decision has been unpopular and highly contentious within the Indian parliament. Many Kashmiri groups in the UK have reacted with deep concern, such as the Foreign Affairs Committee of the United Kashmir People National Party. Some analysts have even questioned the legality of the move.
- This is an opportunity for the UK Government to show its commitment to tackling toxic nationalist politics, such as the ruling BJP party in India. The revocation of Article 370 is a clear political move designed to appease BJP supporters, which is known for housing extremist nationalistic views. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is keen to distance himself from accusations of being a British Trump; this is an excellent opportunity to show the Government’s stance on toxic nationalism.
When you’re writing, remember that MPs are very unlikely to read a copy and pasted message, so put the effort in to write the message yourself.
The Muslim Vibe has previously published on a piece on lobbying government effectively. You may want to read that for more ideas on how to help.
“But it is best to be patient: from God alone I seek help to bear what you are saying.” (Surah Yusuf, Verse 18)