06:25PM, Wednesday 26 February 2020
A letter will be sent from Slough Borough Council to the Indian High Commissioner urging the country to end its ‘oppressive controls’ over people living in the disputed Kashmir region.
The state of Jammu and Kashmir has been the subject of a long-running conflict between India and Pakistan, with both nations claiming the border region belongs to them.
Both countries now control different parts of the territory but people living in the Indian-administered region have been subject to curfews and communication restrictions since August.
India also scrapped Article 370 which had previously granted the state the freedom to make its own laws.
Councillors from the Slough Labour Group urged the council to raise awareness of the ongoing conflict on behalf of residents living in Slough with Kashmiri heritage.
Cllr Shabnum Sadiq (Lab, Wexham Lea) told the meeting: “We are host to a large and prominent Kashmir community and this motion directly affects many of the residents who have family and loved ones in Kashmir.
“As humans if we cannot stand against these human rights violations then we need to address to ourselves what purpose do we actually serve.”
The motion called on the council to write to the Indian High Commissioner to lift the ‘oppressive controls’ in Indian-Administered Kashmir, lobby The Secretary General of the United Nations and write to Slough MP Tan Dhesi to put pressure on the Indian Government for change.
Cllr Dexter Smith (Con, Colnbrook with Poyle) said: “Do members really think the Secretary Chair of the UN is waiting to hear from Slough Borough Council before doing something about this matter?”
He added: “Diplomacy is for diplomats.
“Our council is about local services and representing the people of Slough in getting good services from its council.”
Labour councillor Christine Hulme responded: “We represent a town with a large population of people from Kashmir whose families are still living there.
“Those people that live in Slough are concerned about their security and welfare.
“That’s not unreasonable for a council to highlight.”
Councillors voted in favour of the motion at Thursday’s full council meeting.
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