Kirkcaldy protest over Kashmir

Protesters at Kirkcaldy Central Mosque.
Protesters at Kirkcaldy Central Mosque.

Muslims from across Fife rallied at kirkcaldy’s Central Mosque last Friday to protest against India’s treatment of Kashmir.

The Indian government has removed Kashmir’s special autonomous status from its constitution in a presidential decree last week.

Imam Mansoor leading the protest.

Imam Mansoor leading the protest.

Kashmir has been autonomous since 1957, meaning that the state has its own constitution, flag and other differences such as a ban of outsiders owning property in the state.

The Muslim-majority Kashmir region has been disputed ever since the partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947.

Since then India and Pakistan have fought over the territory.

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Protesters at Kirkcaldy Central Mosque.

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A UN-monitored ceasefire line agreed in 1972, called the Line of Control, splits Kashmir into two areas, one administered by India and the other by Pakistan.

Kashmir is India’s only Muslim majority state and many believe that the Indian Government have revoked the special status to establish a Hindu majority in the predominantly Muslim region.

There has been reports of sporadic violence against the population of Kashmir from the Indian Army as well as reports of the discovery of mass graves being found in the area.

Imam Mansoor Mahmood from Kirkcaldy Central Mosque led the protest, he said: “The Kashmiri citizens have had their right of autonomy taken away from them, the current siege of Kashmir is not just a Pakistani, Indian or Muslim issue, it is a humanitarian concern.

“We are a global family of fellow human beings who must promote the well being of everyone.

“We must acknowledge the right to freedom and safety of all people around the world.

“We urge the leaders of the United Kingdom to reach out to the Indian government to question them about the siege of Kashmir.

“Roads are currently being blocked, the internet and phone lines have been turned off, innocent civilians who are going about their daily lives do not deserve their rights and freedoms to be taken away from them.

“We must show empathy for the people of Kashmir by trying to imagine how it must feel if we were in their position.

“The Kashmiri people have a right to choose how they are to be governed, whether that be by India or by Pakistan or whether they want to be governed by themselves, it is their right to choose.

“We must champion human rights and freedom for the people of Kashmir and demand that they be given their rights to choose how they are treated.”

David Torrance MSP was also at the protest, he said: “When an elected representative like myself is elected to Parliament we are there to represent everybody and every group, to take their feelings into account, governments should do this as well, no matter where they are in the world, governments should look after their minority groups and properly represent them.

“I believe that people should have the right to decide themselves, when governments do not represent you, people should have a choice in what direction that they want to go in, and who they want to govern them, that is the right of people everywhere.

“I hope that the situation in Kashmir can be settled peacefully, and that the UK and Scottish government send a strong message to India to try to resolve this quickly.”