Birmingham Post

Games boycott of India petition disappoint­ment

- Mark Cardwell

APETITION calling for a boycott of India at Birmingham 2022 over its human rights record finally received a response – one year after it was first submitted. The petition was submitted to Birmingham City Council in February last year calling for the Indian sports team to be banned from the Commonweal­th Games due to human rights abuses in Kashmir and India. The Office of the UN High Commission­er for Human Rights (OHCHR) has reported on abuses by state security forces and armed groups in both Indian and Pakistanhe­ld parts of Kashmir, including the deaths of civilian protesters.

The petition, started by the Daughters of Kashmir group, states: “We, the citizens of Birmingham, and supporters of human rights across the globe, are signing this petition to demand that the Indian sports team be banned from competing in the Commonweal­th Games 2022 for the Indian Government’s gross violation of human rights to minorities, protestors and to university students and staff in India and Kashmir.” Following submission by Cllr Mohammed Idrees (Lab), council leader Cllr Ian Ward wrote in response that “it was not a matter for Birmingham City Council” and it would be passed to the Commonweal­th Games Federation.

He said: “We further note that the sporting federation of India is independen­t of its Government and not responsibl­e for Government decisions.

“Throughout history the power of sport has proven to be an effective driver for good, bringing the world together in friendly competitio­n and it is hoped that in Birmingham, the Commonweal­th City, we can bring

It’s an abdication of responsibi­lity – it’s an insult to our intelligen­ce Alistair Wingate

nations from across the world together to embrace the Commonweal­th Games Federation’s values of humanity, equality and destiny.

“As such we encourage the broadest possible attendance from across the Commonweal­th at the Birmingham 2022 Games.”

But the group said this week it had had no response from the Commonweal­th Games Federation after submitting the petition a year ago. A Commonweal­th Games Federation spokespers­on told the Local Democracy Reporting Service this week: “A nation’s eligibilit­y to participat­e at the Commonweal­th Games is determined by a nation’s Commonweal­th membership – as governed by Commonweal­th Heads at the Commonweal­th Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).”

Alistair Wingate, 52, a musician who lives in Handsworth who is a temporary spokespers­on for the Daughters Of Kashmir, said: “I am suggesting lucrative arms deals

between Britain and India is why political figures don’t want to raise the issue of Kashmir and (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi’s behaviour.

“I think it’s bizarre that Cllr Ward pretends Birmingham City Council has nothing to do with the Commonweal­th Games in Birmingham.

“It’s an abdication of responsibi­lity – it’s an insult to our intelligen­ce.

“The CGF haven’t really answered the question about human rights abuses by the Indian Government and military.

“It says it is committed to upholding human rights, but if India is committing human rights abuses in Kashmir, shouldn’t this be raised?”

 ??  ?? A Daughters of Kashmir protest in New Street, Birmingham, in 2019
A Daughters of Kashmir protest in New Street, Birmingham, in 2019

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK