British MP Debbie Abrahams, who was denied entry into India earlier this week as she did not “hold a valid visa”, on Wednesday accused New Delhi of not responding to allegations of human rights violations in Kashmir. Abrahams, however, clarified, that she was not anti-India or pro-Pakistan but just wanted to see the ground situation in Jammu and Kashmir, reported Hindustan Times.
“Pakistan has shown an open approach towards resolving the Kashmir issue,” Abraham said at a joint press conference with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. “We are an independent group, we are not anti-India or pro-Pakistan.”
Abrahams welcomed Pakistan’s stance of having a third UN report issued on human rights violations along both sides of the Line of Control. “I hope India will reciprocate as well,” she said.
Abrahams has been openly critical of the Indian administration’s amendments to Article 370 of its Constitution to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status. She is the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Kashmir. Abrahams was also among a group of British parliamentarians who had sent out a formal letter after India’s decisions on Jammu and Kashmir, raising concerns about the move.
She and eight MPs from the UK Parliament are currently touring Pakistan. They were also scheduled to visit the Indian side of the Line of Control. “When we were planning this trip, we wanted to make sure that the delegation visited both India and Jammu & Kashmir and had access in the same way we have been facilitated by the Pakistani government,” said Abrahams. “But I have had no responses to my requests for a delegation to go to Jammu & Kashmir [on India’s side].”
On August 5 last year, India had imposed a lockdown in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir while stripping its special status. The Indian government had also bifurcated the state into the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. In recent months, the government has put several senior political leaders from Kashmir under the stringent Public Security Act.
India has allowed two groups of foreign envoys to visit Srinagar this year. In January, envoys from 16 countries, including the United States, South Korea, Vietnam and Norway, had visited Srinagar. The visit was facilitated by the central government. After several media reports claimed it was a “guided tour”, the government issued a strong denial. The second group of foreign envoys visited Jammu and Kashmir earlier this month.
In October, around two dozen members of parliament from the European Union had been taken to Kashmir on a much-criticised tour. The politicians in the group were mostly from far-right nationalist parties. Indian Opposition parties have repeatedly targeted the government for facilitating these visits of foreign envoys and political leaders to Kashmir, while Indian MPs were facing obstructions when trying to enter Srinagar.