Muslim community leaders in Sydney gathered on Thursday evening 22 August in Mt Druitt in a meeting organised by the Australian Forum for Kashmir (AFK) to highlight the plight of Kashmiris currently under brutal lockdown in their homes with more than 6000 arrested since the Indian Hindu nationalist government annexed Kashmir on 5 August.
The major opposition parties in India have now joined forces demanding the immediate release of Kashmiri leaders and political prisoners, restoration of communication and freedom of speech and movement in the Kashmir valley.
“The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and its ideological wing, RSS, are celebrating the abrogation of Article 370, while the majority of people don’t even know what the Article is,” Ghulam Nabi Azad, of the Indian National Congress, told the hundreds of people in the crowd.
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is a Hindu supremacist organisation advocating India to be a Hindu nation. The Hindu Nationalist Party BJP, currently in power in India is the political arm of RSS led by PM Narendra Modi, a lifelong member of RSS.
“They are cheating the people by saying they have restored the communication by restoring a few telephone lines. Only government officials have landlines. So, is this facility only for officials? There is a complete communication blockade.” Mr Azad further added.
The Australian Muslim Community leaders representing a number diverse community organisations were briefed on the issue of Kashmir with the help of an audio-visual presentation by Mr Rais Khan, President of IFAM.
AFK had called the meeting to create awareness among all sections of the Australian community regarding the Kashmir issue and to coordinate a coherent response to the unilateral annexation of the disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir.
Concern was raised by many leaders present regarding the atrocities being committed by the Indian military especially in the Kashmir valley where people were virtually imprisoned in their houses without communication and under a strict 24-hour curfew.
Kashmiris present at the gathering expressed their fears for the family members in Kashmir from whom they have not heard for the last three weeks due to the complete suspension of all lines of communication.
There is a general feeling that this military lockdown is leading to gross human rights abuses gradually amounting to massive attempted genoside of Kashmiris by the Hindu extremist elements in power and the massive exodus of Kashmiri refugees pouring into neighbouring Pakistan.
During the meeting, it was resolved to create awareness of the Kashmir issue amongst all sections of the Australian society and work for advocacy for the restoration of human rights and self-determination of Kashmiri people in accordance with numerous UN resolutions.
Contact for Australian Forum for Kashmir (AFP):
Phone: 04 0330 2049; +61 4 0330 2049.