Auckland, August 15, 2019
New Zealanders of Kashmiri origin and supporters are deeply concerned over the safety of friends and family in the State of Jammu & Kashmir.
The BJP-led government of Narendra Modi revoked Article 370 just over a week ago, ending 70 years of autonomy in a State which is the most militarlised region in the world.
It has one solider for every 10 Kashmiris.
UN Resolutions defied
Article 370 has been revoked and the region has been split into two union territories which will no longer have its own government and will be ruled directly by the Indian government.
This is in defiance of the United National resolutions which ask both India and Pakistan for a referendum be held in Kashmir where people can decide on their future.
New Zealand Muslim Association is deeply concerned for people in Kashmir who are in lockdown mode since August 5, 2019.
The People of Kashmir are not allowed to move outside of their homes with all communications disconnected. Landlines, Mobile Phones, Local TV and Radio stations are all disconnected. Furthermore, we understand all religious places, schools, universities, shops and offices are closed.
We pray that common sense and justice will prevail, and that our brothers and sisters remain safe.
We ask the New Zealand Government to use the diplomatic channels to convey our concerns to Government of India and to safeguard the human rights of Kashmiri people and allow freedom of movement and lift the communication gag so New Zealander of Kashmiri origin can get in touch with their loved ones in Kashmir.
Shayaz Khan is Secretary of the New Zealand Muslim Association based on Auckland.