End the collective punishment of Kashmiris

28 Aug 2008

The Muslim Council of Britain is deeply concerned about the worsening political and humanitarian situation in the valley of Kashmir. In the last few weeks there have been unprecedented peaceful public demonstrations in which millions have participated and demanded freedom and the withdrawal of Indian forces from the valley. The Indian government has responded by imposing an indefinite curfew and by imprisoning popular leaders without charge. There is currently one Indian army soldier for every ten citizens in Kashmir.

The valley has also been subjected to an economic blockade by a small group of fundamentalists and the government is taking no action to prevent the blockade or to punish these acts of criminality.
The imposition of an indefinite curfew and the economic blockade of the valley has led Kashmir to the brink of humanitarian disaster. Access to hospitals is impossible. There are severe shortages of medicines and food. Schools and colleges remain shut. The media remains suspended. Any civil activity is prohibited. A shoot-on-sight policy is operated by the Indian forces. Scores of people have been killed in the last few days. A reign of terror is being let loose on people.

Dr Mohammad Abdul Bari, the Secretary General said, “The Muslim Council of Britain expresses grave concern about the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian and political situation in Kashmir. The MCB urges the government of India to immediately lift the curfew and the economic blockade, withdraw its troops from all civilian areas forthwith and allow the people of Kashmir to exercise their democratic rights to assembly and free speech.

We call upon the government of India to recognize, respect and implement the wishes of the people of Kashmir.”