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UK Parliament discusses human rights in J&K

A demand for resolving the Jammu and Kashmir issue through self-determination by the Kashmiris was made in the British Parliament on Thursday.



London/New Delhi: A demand for resolving
the Jammu and Kashmir issue through self-determination by the
Kashmiris was made in the British Parliament on Thursday even as
India asserted that there were effective mechanisms within its
democratic framework to address any grievance.

Initiating a general debate in the House of Commons on
human rights in the Indian sub-continent, Steve Baker,
Conservative MP, demanded that an international commission
should investigate alleged human rights violations in Kashmir.
Participating in the debate, prominent Labour MP Barry
Gardiner noted that plebiscite for such condition did not
exist any more as Pakistan failed to withdraw its forces from
the territory.

Gardiner, who was previously the chairman of the Labour
Friends of India, said, "There is far greater cause or human
rights violations in India`s neighbouring countries including,
Pakistan and Sri Lanka where some of the worst human rights
violations had happened in the recent memory."

"On the other hand India stood as a beacon light of
democracy in the region," he said.

Gardiner said that India continued to stand for tolerance
and human rights inspite of repeated attacks by terrorist
groups like Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT).

Meanwhile, India said it has taken "due note" of the UK
Parliament discussing the issue of human rights in Jammu and
Kashmir and said there were effective mechanisms within its
democratic framework to address any grievance or any
aberration.

"We take due note of the....debate in the UK House of
Commons...., which we believe is an initiative of back-bencher
MPs and does not reflect the position of the UK government.
"Our views in the matter are known to the UK. Suffice it
to say at this juncture that India is a vibrant democracy
which fully respects rule of law and human rights," Official
Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs Vishnu
Prakash said in New Delhi.

"Civil liberties and freedoms are enshrined in the
Constitution of India as fundamental rights and are exercised
by each and every citizen of this country of 1.2 billion
people," he said

"Should there be any aberration, there are enough
mechanisms, effective mechanisms within our system, democratic
framework to address any grievance or any aberration,"
government sources said here.

Shabana Mahmood, Labour MP, who hailed from Mirpur
district of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (Pok), said "All sides
including India and Pakistan must pursue vigorously to find a
solution to the Kashmir issue."

"The plight Kashmiri people needs our attention," she
said.

Lee Scott, Conservative MP, said "We must get justice to
Sri Lankan Tamils." He pressed for independent international
investigation into the killings of Tamils in Sri Lanka.

Several other MPs including Ian Austin, Labour MP,
Jonathan Lord, Conservative lawmaker and Andrew Griffiths,
Conservative MP, said that right to self determination was the
only way to resolve the issue.

PTI

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