Kashmir campaigner happy his video highlighted Kashmir issue

London, July 06, 2021 (PPI-OT): A British Kashmiri campaigner whose video went viral, talking to the newly-elected Labour MP Kim Leadbeater on the issue of Kashmir, has said he’s glad that through his videos millions in Britain were able to know that the issue of Kashmir matters to nearly 1.5 million British Kashmiris and Pakistanis.

It was during the last week’s intense by-election campaign in Batley and Spen when a video went viral showing Shakeel Afsar, a Birmingham activist, involved in a heated exchange with the Labour candidate Kim Leadbeater, seeking her views on the situation in Kashmir, why Labour leader Keir Starmer let down Kashmiris and why the Kashmiri origin voters will protest by not voting for Starmer.

Speaking to this correspondent, Shakeel Afsar rejected the media allegation that he had heckled or harassed the Labour candidate, but said: “I was emphatic about the issue of Kashmir but I didn’t intimidate or harass. I have nothing to do with George Galloway’s campaign. I travelled from Birmingham to Batley only to question Kim about Labour’s U-turn on Kashmir. The Labour candidate had no answers on the Labour’s position on the Kashmir issue. Everything was filmed. “I would never bully anyone, especially a woman but when you’re acting as a representative you must face hard questions. I remained civil in my words. I agree my voice was raised only because I was being blocked by others physically and by shouting over me as seen in the video after Kim’s short reply.”

Afsar said he had always supported the Labour party but quit it after Keir Starmer said that the issue of Kashmiri is a bilateral issue and not an international issue, which is a slap “across the face of us Kashmiris who supported the Labour Party unequivocally”. The Labour has been taking the votes of Pakistanis and Kashmiris for granted and that should not happen anymore. “We owe it to the people of Kashmir. We will not allow Labour or any other party to treat us the way it has treated us for the sake of Indian lobby.”

After the video went viral, Shakeel Afsar was condemned on Twitter by the Labour leader Keir Starmer who said that the politics of fear and division was unacceptable. The British Kashmiri said: “Starmer has condemned me on Twitter with a half cut video that does not show the truth. He abandoned his MPs who were ashamed when the Labour took a U-turn on the Kashmir issue to pander to Narendra Modi supporters so it means nothing.” Afsar says he intends to make Birmingham the new epicentre of the Kashmiri freedom movement making sure “we keep pushing the British establishment to implement the right to self-determination and to immediately impose strict sanctions on India over the human rights violations it has committed”.

For more information, contact:
Kashmir Media Service
Phone: +92-51-4435548, +92-51-4435549
Fax: +92-51-4861736
Email: info@kmsnews.org
Website: www.kmsnews.org

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