Dal Lake, Kashmir

Eight million Muslim Kashmiris have been isolated from the rest of the world since 5 August, with estimates of almost one million Indian soldiers deployed, thousands of killings, and systematic violence.

Introduced as Article 370, that revoked the autonomy given to Kashmir after India’s independence in 1947 in return for entering the Indian union.

Mainstream politicians have been arrested and the media has been shut down and more than 3,000 people have been detained, including children.

The controversial move by Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has contributed to concerns of mass turmoil and crippled normal life as tens of thousands of extra troops and police officers have been deployed making it one of the most militarised areas in the country.

Yet thousands of miles away from the lush valleys and breathtaking mountain-top scenery that has prompted some to describe Kashmir as “paradise on Earth,” the effects are also experienced by towns and cities throughout Britain.

Basford Councillor Salma Mumtaz has been campaigning to do her part to end the unrest in Kashmir.

Salma Mumtaz

A British Councilor of Kashmiri heritage, Salma said: “I have family in Kashmir that I am not able to contact due to the blackout.

“Women are being raped and abused, it is like a complete prison.

“This causes a lot of friction amongst Kashmiri families in Nottingham and all over the UK.”

More than one million of the 1.1 million British Pakistanis are from Pakistan-ruled Kashmir.

While there are no official figures for the amount of Indian Kashmiris in Britain, the total number is almost 1.4 million and support for India’s status is high among some groups.

Protest in City Centre

Wedged between India and Pakistan, Kashmir is split and fiercely contested between the two countries.

Because of their separate arsenals, all regard it as their own, have fought two wars over it and rendered it a dangerous nuclear battleground.

A geopolitical crisis has also turned into a humanitarian crisis.

Following years of corrupt and ineffective administration, punctuated by coups, Pakistan is dedicated to the rule of law and stable diplomacy by a forward-thinking Prime Minister in Imran Khan.

Coun Mumtaz urges the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, to work with the United Nations and put ‘solid pressure’ on the Indian Government.

Pakistan’s prime minister, Imran Khan, cautioned India’s actions in Kashmir could trigger a region-wide “bloodbath” and cause a war between the two nuclear-armed countries.

Imran Khan said he was trying to raise the alarm about the danger of a nuclear war breaking out over Kashmir at the United Nations.

Khan described the situation in Kashmir as a test for the UN in an address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York and warned that a conflict between India and Pakistan would have “consequences far beyond borders.”

Khan said the decision was inspired by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist ideology, which he labeled a “fascist”.

Khan pledged to protect the sovereignty of Pakistan and Kashmir but also shared the concern of an escalation in violence.

In meetings with Donald Trump, Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron and Boris Johnson this week, he said he had shared his concerns.

Trump agreed to mediate, but only if there is a consensus between Pakistan and India.

India was resistant to external mediation, and Modi presented his actions in Indian-controlled Kashmir as essential to countering radicalism and terrorism, which he accuses Pakistan of encouraging.

But Khan faced an obstacle that was, Trump has become Modi’s closest political ally.

Underpinning Modi’s stance on Kashmir is the rapid rise of Hindu nationalism in India, reflected in the BJP’s landslide victory in this year’s general election.

Advertising this culminated in a limited number of incidents in which leaders of minority groups, such as Muslims, were attacked and even hanged for falsely killing cows, a holy animal in the Hindu religion, in more common situations in which domestic airline crews were ordered to announce “Jai Hind” (victory of India) while making announcements.

Troubled by Modi’s resilience and inhumanity, the Basford Councillor said: “Modi just wants the piece of land of Jammu and Kashmir and he will absolutely not get that.

“He will never get what he wants, we Kashmiris will not stop fighting.”

Salma believes that leaders from all over the world should come together and fight against this crime of inhumanity.

The crisis in Kashmir empowers the extremists in both countries and with international assistance, the countries involved should talk to each other.

Requiring Pakistan as a pre-condition dialogue to take unspecified inevitable action is a recipe for non-dialog and further violence.

The rest of the world will intervene not to turn against India or Pakistan or Hindus or Christians, but to avert a humanitarian disaster that could escalate to something far worse.