On 5 August a Presidential decree created by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi revoked the special status accorded to Indian-administered Kashmir in its constitution that had guaranteed special rights to the Muslim-majority state, including the right to its own constitution and autonomy to make laws on all matters except defence, communications and foreign affairs.
This was the most far-reaching political move on the disputed region in nearly 70 years. In the lead-up to the move, India sent thousands of additional troops to the disputed region, imposed a crippling curfew, shut down telecommunications and internet, and arrested political leaders.
On 7 September there was a demonstration outside Coventry Council House to protest at this action. Shagufta Hamid Khan, Chair of the UNA Coventry Branch, took part in the demonstration, explaining “I felt it was my moral obligation to stand in solidarity with the Kashmiris whose Human Rights & dignity are being violated inhumanly by Modi’s Indian Government. Our newly recruited Branch Treasurer Mohammed Aaqib, whose degree was based on Human Rights, joined me at the demonstration. We as human rights activists now feel this is an international issue which needs to be settled by the UN Security Council.”