UK's Labour Party steps in to counter anti-India stance over Kashmir
London: Britain's Opposition Labour Party has stepped in to counter its perceived anti-India stance to urge that the Kashmir issue not be allowed to divide communities in the UK in the lead up to the December 12 general election, in the wake of protests from sections of the Indian diaspora.
The Chair of the Labour Party, Ian Lavery, issued a letter to stress that Kashmir is a "bilateral matter" for India and Pakistan and that the party is opposed to external interference over the issue, as had been implied by some of the wording of a controversial emergency motion passed by the party at its conference in September.
"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," reads the letter issued by Lavery dated November 11.
"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," it notes.
Acknowledging the "sensitivities" that exist over the situation in Kashmir, the Labour candidate who has been a Member of Parliament for Wansbeck in the north-east England since 2010 stressed that his party holds the Indian diaspora in the "highest regard".
"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, his letter says.