In what could be described as an open challenge to Lord Nazir Ahmed, an Indian origin member of House of Lords, Lord Rami Ranger took to Twitter and asked him whether he supported “religion over merit”. Following his tweet, Dr. Ranger talked exclusively to Republic TV and said that he supports “equal rights for all the people living in India including the people of Kashmir” implying that the special status to the region differentiated between them and the rest of the country.
Lord Ranger who was recently appointed as a member of the House of Lords- the upper house of British Parliament- said that it would be “unfair” on the part of Kashmiris to ask for more “rights over the rest” of the country. He added that in a democracy citizens should be given equal rights as that unites the country as well as the society. “If Kashmiris want rights over & above that of the rest of 1.2 Billion Indians, then they are either unfair or lack merit to live in a Secular & Democratic India,” he said.
Responding to Lord Nazir Ahmed’s calls for the “self-determination of Kashmir” Dr. Ranger said that he supported the right to self-determination but not at the cost of creating divisions and breaking countries. “In a democracy, we have the right to self-determination, but not (to) break up countries”, he replied, adding that people have the right to choose their own leaders and government for which there are democratic processes and they go through “the ballot box”.
Dr. Ranger who is also the co-chair of the Conservative Friends of India targeted those who opt to be fence-sitters or liberal on the Kashmir issue. He asserted that people should take a stand for the future of Kashmir and work on how to bring both peace and development in the region. On being asked why is he so passionate about the Kashmir issue he responded philosophically saying that the “good people must take actions” otherwise “for evil to flourish, all it takes for the good people to do nothing”.
The abrogation of a section of article 370 has left even British politics divided. Recently Labour Party – the main opposition in the UK – found itself in trouble over passing a controversial resolution on Kashmir that called for external “interference” in the region. Several senior members of the party wrote to the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn asking him to rescind the resolution.