Mixed reactions from UK expat groups to Kashmir bifurcation

Kashmiri groups in the United Kingdom were divided over the Indian government’s recent move to revoke Article 370 of the Constitution which granted special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Some termed it a "sad day" while others hailed the Presidential order as "historic".

United Kashmir Peoples National Party
United Kashmir Peoples National Party members march in protest. Photo courtesy: UKPNP

The government on Monday passed a bill in the Rajya Sabha (Upper House) of the Indian Parliament proposing the creation of two union territories, Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh from the current state.

"It is a sad day for people of Jammu & Kashmir, because our State of Jammu and Kashmir is officially decimated by the government of India," said Dr Shabir Choudhry, president of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the United Kashmir Peoples National Party, on social media.

"This decision is unwise, unjust and against established norms of democracy. This unwise decision will be opposed by all true sons of the soil, and challenged on streets, in courts and all international fora," said the UK-based Kashmiri independence activist.

However, the Indo-European Kashmir Forum (IEKF), a diaspora outfit formed to support Kashmiri Hindus, welcomed the Indian government's decision as "wonderful news", which would lead to peace and prosperity in the Valley.

"This is a historic day. We are over the moon. We have waited for this day for a long time and are overjoyed that the day has finally arrived," said Krishna Bhan, president of IEKF and Director-in-charge of Kashmiri Hindu affairs at Hindu Council UK in a statement.

The UK government was one of many countries that issued a travel advisory warning British nationals to avoid travel to Jammu & Kashmir and called on those already in the region to remain "vigilant".