BRUSSELS: A peaceful protest camp was staged Monday by the Kashmir Council-Europe (KC-EU) outside the headquarters of the European Union's foreign ministry here in the Belgian capital to commemorate the 89th Kashmir Martyrs' Day — July 13.
The 89th Kashmir Martyrs' Day is being observed in remembrance of the 22 Kashmiris martyred on July 13, 1931, when the Indian Army's Dogra Regiment targeted them 89 years ago outside the Srinagar Central Jail where freedom fighter Abdul Qadeer was arrested for inciting the public against the Dogra ruler of Kashmir.
During the camp — organised in front of the offices of the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the European Commission (EC) — the KC-EU volunteers distributed brochures detailing the atrocities against the Kashmiris, as well as the human rights violations in occupied Kashmir.
The camp's organisers also used a megaphone for their speeches about the latest situation in occupied Kashmir — a Muslim-majority region in the Himalayas that has been under a brutal siege and communications lockdown since August 5, 2019, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Indian government scrapped the valley's special status, imposed a curfew, and sent in troops under the pretence of maintaining law and order.
The camp was held at a time when the EU foreign ministers were participating in their first vis-à-vis meeting in months following the coronavirus lockdown and were physically present in the Justus Lipsius Building — or the Council of the European Union headquarters. It also came ahead of EU-India summit, an online video conference suspended earlier due to the COVID-19 disease and now scheduled for July 15.
A number of people came over to the one-day protest camp to learn more about the Kashmir issue, expressing support to the oppressed people of the valley and indignation at the blatant human rights violations.
On the occasion, KC-EU Chairperson Ali Raza Syed underlined that the camp's purpose was to spread awareness among the European peoples about the human rights violations in occupied Kashmir.
Syed added that beside the atrocities in occupied Kashmir, the Modi government was also targeting minorities, political figures, members of the civil society, human rights activists, intellectuals, and journalists.
"We will continue our struggle till peaceful resolution of Kashmir issue," he said. "The issue should be resolved according to the wishes of the people of Kashmir," he added.
The KC-EU chair also demanded the international community, especially the United Nations and the EU, to pressurise India to immediately stop the human rights violations in Kashmir and give the right of self-determination to the people of the valley.