New Delhi: In a move to embarrass Jeremy Corbyn, Britain’s opposition Labour Party on Tuesday poked in its stance on the Kashmir issue urging New Delhi to ensure that the political scene does not divide communities in the UK in the lead up to the December 12 General Election.
Asserting that Kashmir is a “bilateral matter” in the wake of protests from sections of the Indian diaspora, Chair of Labour Party Ian Lavery read a letter stating, “Kashmir is a bilateral matter for India and Pakistan to resolve together by means of peaceful solution which protects the human rights of the Kashmiri people and respects their right to have a say in their own future.”
Acknowledging the “sensitivities” that exist over the situation in Kashmir since August 5 when New Delhi revoked Article 370 from the former state, Lavery, who is also a member of Parliament for Wansbeck in north-east England, stressed that the Labour Party held Indian diaspora in the “highest regard”.
“Labour is opposed to external interference in the political affairs of any other country. As an international party, our concern is to ensure respect for the human rights of all people in the world, regardless of where they live,” the letter dated November 11 read.
“We recognise that the language used in the emergency motion has caused offence in some sections of the Indian diaspora, and in India itself. We are adamant that the deeply felt and genuinely held differences on the issue of Kashmir must not be allowed to divide communities against each other here in the UK,” it read.a
Reiterating that the party does not seek to take any position that can be construed either “anti-Indian or anti-Pakistan”, he expressed that he was “confident that this is a position you will share.”
On September 25, the UK’s Labour Party had passed an emergency motion on Kashmir. It had called for its leader Corbyn to seek international observers and ‘enter’ the region to demand the Kashmiris’ supposed right to self-determination. It drew flak with at least 100 British-Indian professionals condemning the stance of the party.