Conservative MEP Amjad Bashir issued an impassioned challenge last night to India’s Ambassador to the EU over human rights in Kashmir during a debate in the European Parliament.
Mr Bashir, MEP for Yorkshire and The Humber, told Manjeev Singh Puri he hugely admired India for claiming her place on the world stage, but warned that her treatment of the native population of Jammu and Kashmir was a stain on that record of success – one which would have to be addressed if India were to achieve her true potential.
He told the ambassador: “When we consider how far India has come since Independence and then Partition it is a thing of wonder. India has shaken the dust of colonial rule from her feet and is becoming a world power and a success story on a spectacular scale.
“However… as one who wishes India well, I must warn about one unwelcome truth, one stain on this record of achievement. I speak, with sadness, of India’s record on Jammu and Kashmir and her treatment of its native people.
“I speak, with regret, of disregard for the widespread condemnation and the direct demands for change made by the United Nations. I speak, with a humble plea for compassion, of the thousands of innocent people detained without trial, killed or tortured for voicing opposition to the fate of their homeland.
“I suggest that if India is to fulfil her destiny as world-leading economy and a true beacon of democracy and rule of law, she cannot continue to subjugate Jammu and Kashmir.
“Your excellency, please hear this plea. The UN’s request to send observers to Jammu and Kashmir must be allowed. The immunity of security forces from prosecution for their misdeeds much be lifted. Ultimately, the people’s human rights, including the right to self-determination, must be honoured.
“I say this as someone who wishes to be a friend. Because the best friends are those who tell the truth, even when it is uncomfortable.”