On Saturday (01 September) a large rally was held outside City Hall to express solidarity with those in Kashmir. This follows heightening tensions after the revocation of Article 370 by the Indian Government and reports of a lockdown with Kashmiri leaders being placed under house arrest.
The event was organised by the Sisters of Kashmir, a newly formed group who seek to provide a voice to Sheffield’s female Kashmiri community
Speakers at the event included the Sisters of Kashmir’s founder Councillor Zahira Naz, a Labour councillor for Darnall ward, and a host of speakers including Gill Furniss MP, Paul Blomfield MP and Councillor Abdul Quyyum.
Members from Sisters of Kashmir also spoke, including Nighat Basharat, who commented after wards: “It was a real privilege to stand alongside so many protestors in calling for peace in Kashmir and for India and Pakistan to work together. The situation can’t continue as it is and I hope that events like this can put pressure on the UK government to work with the international community to help build lasting peace”.
“Sisters of Kashmiri are a great group, and I find it empowering that it is being led by women”.
Councillor Zahira Naz is now seeing what more Sheffield City Council may be able to do and has set-up a Cross Party Working Group on Kashmir.
“I want to find out if there is anything further that we can be doing as a city to help the situation in Kashmiri, and all of those affected by it, including many in Sheffield.
“I hope that councillors can add pressure on the UK Government to ensure that freedom of speech and expression is raised in its representations on Kashmir with India and Pakistan”
“I will continue to work in the city’s communities to campaign for issues that affect Kashmir, but I also want to see what work can be in Town Hall and through the council”
“We all want to see a lasting and peaceful political solution focused on protecting human rights and the democratic voice of the those in Kashmiri. I hope there is some part, however small, that Sheffield can help with this.”