Birmingham City Council withdraws permission for Burhan Anniversary Rally after Indian protest.
Birmingham City Council has withdrawn permission for a rally marking the death of a Kashmir ‘martyr’ after protests from the Indian government – whose forces had shot him dead.
Burhan Wani, 22, was killed in the disputed region one year ago this weekend, when he was commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen separatist group.
His death in the Indian-controlled Northern Kashmir sparked violent protests, leaving dozens more dead.
Wani had been a leader of Hizbul Mujahideen, a Kashmir separatist group which has reportedly been classed as a terrorist organisation by the European Union, the US and India.
Birmingham City Council initially gave permission for the memorial rally, named in Wani’s honour, to be held in Victoria Square on Saturday.
Posters circulated on social media advertising the event carried a picture of the late commander and said: “We will take back what is ours forcefully. We will not rest until Kashmir is free from Kuffars and hoist the flag of Islamic Ummah.”
But the council has now withdrawn its backing and cancelled the gathering after concerns were raised about the posters and after the Indian government made an official objection to the UK.
A Birmingham Council spokesman said: “We took a booking for a peaceful rally highlighting the human rights abuse in Kashmir. However, we are now aware of concerns raised about the promotional leaflet and, having assessed the material, have not given permission for the use of Victoria Square.”
Reports in India said Deputy High Commissioner of India to the UK, Dinesh Patnaik lodged a formal complaint to the Foreign Office. He had said: “Allowing anti-India elements to flourish here in the name of democracy will not do.”
Organisers of the proposed rally were unavailable for comment.
A Kashmir rally took place in Birmingham last August (see video at top). Around 60 demonstrators protested outside Birmingham’s Indian Embassy.