LONDON: Kashmiri Hindus in the UK have held an event in the British Parliament to mark the 68th anniversary of the signing of the ‘Instrument of Accession’ of Jammu and Kashmir to India by Maharaja Hari Singh.
Jointly organised by the Kashmiri Pandits Cultural Society and Voice of Dogras, the event earlier this week was supported by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for British Hindus led by Bob Blackman MP.
“I am proud to be hosting the commemoration of the 68th anniversary of the Signing of the Instrument of Accession of Jammu & Kashmir to India by Maharaja Hari Singh at the British Parliament as the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for British Hindus, set up especially to provide a voice to the British Hindu community.
“The seminar is the first such attempt to educate the parliamentarians and members of the community on the history of Jammu & Kashmir.It establishes the fact that J&K is an integral part of India and has been since 1947,” Blackman said at the meeting in a committee room in Parliament.
The event marked the release of a white paper on ‘History of Jammu & Kashmir: Instrument of Accession’, describing what the document was and the various events surrounding the signing of the legal documentation that acceded J&K to India. “This is an important seminar and an act of remembrance for Jammu & Kashmir’accession to India. Sixty-eight years ago history was made, but sadly the roots of the longstanding conflict between India and Pakistan were laid too. Only by understanding why there is conflict can we hope to end it for our future generations,” said Virendra Sharma MP, vice-chair, APPG for British Hindus and chair of the APPG for India.
The event brought together members of various regions of Jammu & Kashmir, primarily the Dogras and Kashmiri Pandits. Lakshmi Kaul, founder of Kashmiri Pandits Cultural Society, said: “In the UK as well as other parts of Europe there is a growing anti-India lobby that is making people believe that ‘Kashmiris’ want the right of self-determination. This lobby has targeted and attempted to eliminate the very identity of any other minority communities in the region.
“In fact they do not acknowledge the state in totality but only refer to the Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir area, calling out for independence. This misinformed narrative needs to be rectified and the facts need to be laid out.
“The seminar and commemoration is only a joint attempt by communities from the region of Jammu & Kashmir that the state is an integral part of the dominion of India and has been since 1947. This decision was final and was ratified in the state assembly in 1954 making it legal and by the people’s will. “Since its accession, J&K and its people have participated whole heartedly in the democratic process of India and there is no reason for it to change now. The historical and legal evidence has been outlined in the white paper to dispel the myths surrounding the complex history of J&K.”