Thousands of protesters took out a rally in London to express solidarity with the people of Indian-occupied Kashmir, as a crippling lockdown imposed by the Indian government in the occupied region since revoking its special status entered its 30th day on Tuesday.
More than 5,000 protesters assembled at Parliament Square in the British capital and marched to the Indian High Commission to protest Kashmiris’ oppression at the hands of Indian security forces.
A number of local and Kashmiri organisations had called on activists and supporters from all over England to come to London and join the protest against the revocation of Article 370 of the Indian constitution, which granted special autonomy to occupied Kashmir.
Protesters carrying placards and waving Kashmir flags chanted slogans of “Terrorist terrorist, Modi is a terrorist!” and “Hum chheen kay lain gay — azaadi!” (We will take by force — freedom!). Some protesters also reportedly hurled eggs and tomatoes at the high commission’s building.
A heavy contingent of police was deployed at the scene to prevent any violence.
Geo News‘ reporter in London Murtaza Ali Shah said on Twitter that today’s protest drew a bigger crowd than the demonstration on August 15, when thousands had protested outside India House on what was also India’s independence day.
The Indian government had imposed a strict security lockdown and communications blackout in occupied Kashmir just before it repealed Article 370 of the constitution on August 5. Extra troops were posted in the region, which is already heavily militarised, and Kashmiri leaders and activists were arrested.
The lockdown and communications blackout is still in place a month later, despite the Indian government’s claim of having eased some restrictions.
According to The Indian Express, Indian Home Minister Amit Shah today told a delegation from Harvan in Srinagar district that mobile phone services in the region will be restored in 15-20 days.
On Monday, Jammu and Kashmir Principal Secretary Rohit Kansal had claimed that 93 per cent of restrictions had been lifted from Jammu and Ladakh and that mobile services had also been restored in all 10 districts of Jammu, the Indian publication reported.