Bhadrapad Krushnapaksha 12, Kaliyug Varsha 5116
Dear Keith,Jon and Liz
I refer to my email of 6th September 2014 (copy below) on the above subject requesting you to participate in the Kashmir debate.
I understand none of you Leicester’s labour MPs attended the debate on Kashmir which could be because you might have been busy with other commitments.For your convenience I give below the link on the debate:
The debate was very interesting. Both Mr Bob Blackman Conservative MP for Harrow East and Mr Barry Gardiner labour MP for Brent North, both of whom have a significant number of British Indian constituents made a positive contribution highlighting key factors from the Indian perspective.Both these MPs also raised the issue and the plight of Kashmiri Pandits who have become refugees in their own country because of extremism in the Kashmir valley.Their Human Rights have been seriously violeted and it would have been nice to see at least one of you speak publically about it and this debate was the opportunity to that.
Paul Uppal Conservative MP for Wolverhamton South West spoke very well and his contribution from a British Indian perspective is worth noting. Virendra Sharma, labour MP for Ealing Southall also made some valuable straighforward comments on Kashmir.
The news article (weblink below) in the Times of India on this subject is worth reading. Mr Vaz’s absence in the debate, presuambly because he often takes a high profile on Indian related P R issues ( (e.g the juicy mango story, inviting Bollywood actors to Leicester) thus creating high expectations,is mentioned in the article.
The contributions from Labour MPs e.g from Birmingham who have Kashmiri heritage is also worth appreciating as they proudly highlightd their ‘origins’ and indicated that they were representing the views of their British Kashmiri constituents.
Like wise there were other labour MPs who referd to their Kasmiri Constituents and made their views clear from that perspective.One of the MPs welcomed the ex Prime Minister of Azad Kashmir (Pakistan administered) who was sitting in the public gallery which has to be admired because the MP clearly had an audience and perhaps election 2015 in mind. Such were the desires and actions of MPs who had British Kashmiri Constituents and they, a cynic might say, were doing this to make their British Kashmiri constituents ‘happy’.
Outside London, Leicester has the biggest number of British Indians.Sadly, because as none of you were able to attend this debate, the views of the significant number of Leicester’s British Indians was not presented in the Kashmir debate which was in sharp contrast to what MPs of Kashmiri heritage and those who had Kashmiri/Pakistani constituents were able to do. Many people have commented that Leicester’s British Indians do not have a voice at Westminister when it comes to India related issue.
It was refreshing to see the Conservative Minister, when concluding the debate, make a sensible Poicy statement on behalf of the Government.
Finally although we understand you are very busy MPs and perhaps because of other commitments you were not able to attend and participate in the debate, neverheless we would still like to register our disappointmnt that the views of Leicester’s British Indians was not reflected in the debate in the same way as that of British kashmiris or British pakistanis.
It is not too late and any views you want to express to us after seeing the debate on the link given above on Kashmir situation would be welcomed.We will circulate your views widely.
I understand that there is a debate called by Liberal Democrat MP David Ward regarding Kashmir on 11th September 2014 in the House of Commons.
As you are the three MPs who represent the three Leicester Constituencies that has a significant number of British Indian residents, I would request you to note that the timings of the debate coming straight after Al- Qaida’s announcement on setting up Branches in India, especially in Kashmir, and that the state of Jammu & Kashmir goes to polls in few weeks’ time, is unfortunate to say the least.
Only few days ago, there was a conference held in the House of Commons on Kashmiri Pandits who have been driven out of Kashmir. This conference, we are being told, was mainly organised and chaired by Mr Marcus Jones,Conservative Member of Parliament for Nuneaton. I am not sure whether or not any of you were able to attend this conference but we would welcome any views you might have on the plight of Kashmiri Pandits who had to migrate from Kashmir due to the militancy. They have Human Rights too.
A number of British Indian organisations have contacted us expressing concerns on this Kashmir debate development in the House of Commons at this time because they fear that it could be used as an India/Indian bashing opportunity. The experiences of the caste amendment debate in which there was lot of Hindu/Hindu faith bashing is still raw and that Caste amendment was formally supported by your Party. Hence the requests outlined below.
1. If possible, please speak in the Kashmir debate and let your constituents know your and your party’s stand on this subject
2. Please Contact your Labour MP colleagues and where necessary request them to understand the facts and urge them avoid getting into an unnecessary India Bashing exercise.
For your information, In the interest of transparency, any response you send us will be circulated to other organisations. We will of course follow the House of Commons debate on Kashmir on 11th September 2014 and circulate the views and comments expressed by MPs to other organisations.
Finally, I am sure you are aware of the Indian Government’s position i.e Kashmir is an integral part of India.
If there is any help or support you need in terms of information from us that may help you in the debate, please do let us know.
With best wishes
British Hindu Voice
Source : World Hindu News