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Monday, Sep 16, 2019

Article 370: Following closely, says UK, calls for calm

A demonstration was held on Monday outside the Indian high commission organised by groups including the South Asia Solidarity Group to protest against the moves initiated by home minister Amit Shah. Other UK-based groups hailed or criticised the changes.

world Updated: Aug 06, 2019 19:39 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
Bob Blackman, who has supported Modi during his tenure as the chief minister of Gujarat and subsequently as prime minister, has often defended India’s official position on sensitive issues such as Jammu and Kashmir in the British parliament.
Bob Blackman, who has supported Modi during his tenure as the chief minister of Gujarat and subsequently as prime minister, has often defended India’s official position on sensitive issues such as Jammu and Kashmir in the British parliament.(Twitter.)
         

The Boris Johnson government on Tuesday said it is following developments in New Delhi related to Jammu and Kashmir closely, while a senior ruling Conservative MP expressed “strong support” to revocation of Article 370 in the state.

A spokesperson for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: “We are following developments closely and support calls for the situation to remain calm.”

A demonstration was held on Monday outside the Indian high commission organised by groups including the South Asia Solidarity Group to protest against the moves initiated by home minister Amit Shah. Other UK-based groups hailed or criticised the changes.

Bob Blackman, Conservative MP from Harrow East, said: “I strongly support the revocation of Article 370. Jammu and Kashmir has always been an integral part of India and A370 has always been anomaly: it has held the area back by starving it of investment, through the prevention of external ownership of land”.

“Kashmiri Pandits must be guaranteed right of return after they were the victims of ethnic cleansing and this move should prevent any other minority groups being forced to leave the Kashmir Valley,” he added.

Blackman, who has supported Modi during his tenure as the chief minister of Gujarat and subsequently as prime minister, has often defended India’s official position on sensitive issues such as Jammu and Kashmir in the British parliament.

He said: “The valley provides excellent opportunities for agricultural and cultural handicraft exports, the development of hydro-electric power and tourism. Most important, however, is clearing the area of terrorists – high security is paramount”.

“Narendra Modi has again shown proper and strong leadership in honouring the manifesto of the BJP – now is the time to properly integrate Jammu and Kashmir into the Indian constitution.”

The United Kashmir Peoples National Party criticised the changes announced by home minister Amit Shah, while the Indo-European Kashmir Forum focused on issues related to Kashmiri Pandits hailed the developments.

There is a history of militant groups linked to Jammu and Kashmir based in the UK, and developments in the state and in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir resonating in the UK, which is home to a large community of people with origins on both sides of the state.

First Published: Aug 06, 2019 19:39 IST