Tuesday Jun 23, 2020
BRUSSELS: Kashmiri activists in Belgium and from other European countries staged a demonstration Tuesday outside the European Union's (EU) foreign ministry, protesting against Indian atrocities in the Muslim-majority Himalayan region.
The activists gathered under the Kashmir Council Europe (KC-EU) after obtaining special permission for limited participants following the easing of the coronavirus lockdown.
Protesters held banners and placards, chanting slogans against Indian atrocities and aggression in Kashmir, which has been facing a media and communications blackout for over 300 days — since New Delhi scrapped the region's special status on August 5, 2019.
Led by KC-EU Chairperson Ali Raza Syed, the demonstration was attended by several leaders of the Kashmiri and Pakistani communities.
On the occasion, Syed appealed to the international community to take immediate notice of the Indian authorities' prejudiced attitude towards and serious human rights violations against the oppressed people of occupied Kashmir.
"The world must stop the cruel treatment of the oppressed people of occupied Kashmir by the Indian authorities and the [Prime Minister Narendra] Modi government's prejudices against the minorities and backward classes in India," he said.
"Seven decades have passed since Indian tyranny and bigotry in occupied Kashmir and the Kashmiri people have no choice but to protest peacefully," Syed added.
The KC-EU boss said the pro-Kashmir activists demanded the EU to raise its voice against the Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party government.
KC-EU Vice Chairman Khalid Joshi said the people of occupied Kashmir, as well as those of Azad Kashmir living near the Line of Control (LoC), were not safe from unprovoked firing from the Indian troops.
Apart from Pakistan, India's other neighbours — including China and Nepal —are concerned about the South Asian nation's partisan policies, he said, referring to a violent face-off that took place in Ladakh leaving 20 Indian soldiers dead.
Joshi said it was commendable that some members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and the chairperson of the European Parliament's Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI), Maria Arena, had in their recent letters expressed concern over the dire situation in occupied Kashmir.
The speakers called on the EU officials to raise their voices against India's state-sponsored terrorism in occupied Kashmir and the oppression of minorities in the South Asian country.