Protest to be held in Leeds city centre today over Kashmir crisis

A protest is due to be held in Leeds city centre today over the crisis in Kashmir.

Saturday, 14th September 2019, 8:56 am
A protest is due to be held in Leeds city centre today over the crisis in Kashmir.

More than 2,000 people are expected to gather in the city centre for a demonstration over ongoing tension in Kashmir, sparked after the Indian government revoked Article 370.

Article 370, a special clause in the Indian constitution which gave Kashmir significant autonomy and independence, was withdrawn on August 5.

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Others expected to turn out for the protest include Leeds North East MP Fabian Hamilton, Leeds North West MP Alex Sobel, Leeds Central MP Hilary Benn, Leeds East MP Richard Burgon and Bradford West MP Naz Shah.

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Mr Benn formally expressed his concerns about Kashmir after the withdrawal by writing to the Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on behalf of his Kashmiri constituents.

Writing on his website, Mr Benn said: "I am gravely concerned by India’s unilateral decision to withdraw the region’s autonomy – by revoking Article 370 of India’s constitution – and to put the area into what is, in effect, military lockdown.

"As you will be aware, politicians have been put under house arrest, a curfew has been imposed and telecommunications and internet connections have been shut down. It is unclear exactly what India’s intentions are now beyond direct rule, but there is widespread anger at its decision, without any consultation, to remove the rights and devolved decision-making that have been enjoyed by the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

"I have urged the Secretary of State to ask India to reverse the revocation of Article 370 and lift the curfew and other restrictions so that talks between all parties, including representatives of the Kashmiri people, can take place. I have also requested that this matter be referred to the United Nations Security Council given the potential threat to regional peace and security."