India reacts strongly to British parliamentary debate on Kashmir


New Delhi : Reacting to the House of Commons debating alleged human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir, India Thursday reminded British MPs that it was the world’s largest democracy in which all 1.2 billion people exercise their freedom as a fundamental right.

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India said it has taken “due note”, which means an adverse reaction in diplomatic parlance, of the debate in the Commons.

It also explained that if there were any aberrations on the issue of human rights, the nation had “enough, effective” mechanisms within the democratic framework to address any grievance.

“We take due note of the proposed debate in the UK House of Commons later today (Thursday), which we believe is an initiative of back-bencher MPs and does not reflect the position of the UK Government,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Vishnu Prakash told reporters here while responding to a query.

“It also suffice to say India is a vibrant democracy, largest democracy in the world, which fully respects the rule of law and human rights. Civil liberties and freedoms are enshrined in the Constitution of India as fundamental rights and are available….not only available, but exercised by each and every individual across the length and breadth of the country of 1.2 billion people,” he said.

Meanwhile, a government source said India had enough, effective systems within its democratic framework to address any grievance or aberration.

“If there is aberration, there are enough mechanisms, effective mechanisms within our system, our democratic framework to address any grievance or any aberration.”

The Commons has scheduled a general debate on alleged human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir, for which Conservative MP Steve Baker, along with four other MPs, have given notice.

India has already conveyed to Britain that the debate “will not be helpful”.

Reports suggested that Baker possibly faced pressure from roughly 6,000 constituents from Pakistani Kashmir, to take up Kashmir’s “cause” in the Commons.

Other MPs who helped Baker secure the debate — Jason McCartney and Andrew Griffiths, both Conservative and Denis MacShane and Nic Dakin (both Labour) — are also from constituencies with numerically-strong Pakistani Kashmir voters.

Baker’s notice for a debate seeks to force the British government to raise the issue of alleged human rights violations in Kashmir with India.

The MP had also requested a vote on the debate, but this was rejected by House of Commons Backbench Business Committee.

The British foreign office, however, has remained silent on the debate as yet.