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Lord Rami Ranger CBE, former chairman of the Conservative Friends of India, comments on the newly formed Conservative Friends of Kashmir. “These misguided Tory MPs should know that India shares common values and ethos with the United Kingdom, unlike Pakistan, which is a religious State and systematically discriminate against her population based on religion and gender…”

Lord Rami Ranger

I am saddened to learn that a few maverick Conservative Members of Parliament have relaunched the Conservative Friends of Kashmir unofficially to satisfy Kashmiri voters in their constituencies.

These Conservative Friends of Kashmir will attack India on her human rights record when they should know that the Government of India takes human rights as sacrosanct, and the Indian Constitution guarantees equality to all regardless of their race, religion and gender. The heart of governance is the rule of law with greater emphasis on human freedom.

The fact of the matter is that Pakistan has instigated the unrest in Kashmir after unsuccessfully trying to occupy Kashmir through 4 full-blown bloody wars. It is common knowledge that Pakistan is a sponsor of international terrorism and a haven for banned terrorist groups.

Pakistani Army is known to offer lavish hospitalities and then conveniently ask these Parliamentarians to compromise their democratic principles of upholding equality where everyone is equal regardless of race, religion and gender.  

Kashmiris are free to form political Parties and elect leaders of their choice and run Kashmir as they deem fit. However, they are not allowed to use religion to make their fellow Kashmiris and women second class at a stroke. It is time Kashmiris are encouraged to coexist and live in harmony like they do in every civilised country rather than trying to divide themselves and the nations based on their faith.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Chancellor Rishi Sunak join Gemma Connell from the Royal Squadron at RAF Northolt in her 24 hour cycle Challenge to raise money for Great Ormond Street 10 Downing Street. Picture by Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street

If religion had the strength to unite, then Bangladesh would still be a part of Pakistan, and every Muslim country would accord free movement of Muslims in their countries. Sadly the reality is somewhat different.

People always unite for a wrong cause of smash and grab, and once the reason is not there, then they turn on each other. More importantly, religion is a force for good. It is to unite humanity and not divide like the Pakistanis are doing.

These misguided Tory MPs should know that India shares common values and ethos with the United Kingdom, unlike Pakistan, which is a religious State and systematically discriminate against her population based on religion and gender. Pakistani constitution does not accord equality to every citizen as it promotes people based on faith and not merit.

These MPs should appreciate that the Conservative Party has evolved over a century with the visions and dedication of our great leaders like Margaret Thatcher and the British values like tolerance, equality and fair play cannot be compromised to the detriment of our next generations.

Every Britons should be encouraged to keep religion a private matter and never use it to generate hatred to damage social cohesion and race relation in Britain.

They are privileged to represent their Party and our rich and diverse country and to encourage people to use religion in the absence of merit will damage Britain as well as India.

They have to see how Pakistan has become intolerant over the years and how diversity is systematically being eliminated. Ahmaddiyas, Hindus, Sikhs and Christians are getting victimised daily in the name of their faith. No country can progress whilst holding back the progress of her citizens due to their belief.

These MPs can carry on serving the legitimate interests of your constituents but must avoid undermining the rule of law in Kashmir. They should be fair and firm with their members and learn to represent every Briton and not just a handful of Kashmiris.

They should learn from the Labour Friends of Kashmir how their anti-India rhetoric drove the British Indian vote to the Conservative Party and help the Conservative win a majority in the last election.

The British Indians now consider themselves to be true Conservatives and are abandoning the Labour Party in droves. Instead of capitalising on Labour’s mistake, they are following them by relaunching the Conservative Friends of Kashmir and scoring own goals for their Party and country. I hope good sense will prevail, and they will stop dividing their Party and country by supporting a clandestine organisation which does not have the blessings of the Government or the Party.

Also Read: India stages walkout after Imran rakes up Kashmir at UNGA

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