Kashmir Development Foundation (KDF) a community development charity is leading on a national campaign to celebrate ‘Kashmir History Week’ (20 – 27 October) in recognition of the Kashmiri diaspora community and their contributions to the local economy, cultural heritage and civic life in various towns and cities alongside the Black History Month celebrations in United Kingdom.
KDF is asking local Town and City Councils to facilitate in holding a civic ceremony to hoist or display the “Azad Jammu and Kashmir flag” at the City/Town Halls on 24 October 2014 to mark and celebrate “Kashmir National Day” in the Kashmir Week.
For the first the time in history two local authorities (Rochdale and Bradford) officially hoisted the flag of Azad Jammu Kashmir at their Town Hall to celebrate “Kashmir National Day” on 24th October 2012. Manchester City Council officially displayed Kashmir flag at Manchester Town Hall and Kashmir flag raising/display ceremonies were also held as part of the Kashmir week in Oldham, Luton Rotherham and Bolton in 2012-13, and a range of community events were organised by British Kashmiri community in other towns and cities across United Kingdom.
This historic initiative to mark and celebrate “Kashmir National Day” on 24th October every year in the UK and across the world was started by the Kashmir Development Foundation (KDF) - a national charity in partnership with local community groups and their elected representatives working for the empowerment of the ‘Voice’ of the Kashmiri diaspora community.
The significance of 24th October is that on this day Kashmiri people have achieved a key milestone in their long struggle for peace, social justice and fundamental freedoms. As part of their civil resistance movement to establish a democratic system of governance they rebelled against the sovereign autocratic rule of the Maharaja of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, and managed to establish an interim Azad (free) Government of the State of Jammu and Kashmir on 24th October 1947 within twenty days of the announcement of formation of a provisional peoples’ government on 4th October 1947.A number of local councils in England have satisfactory record in improving community cohesion through the recognition of the Kashmiri national and ethnic identity in their local ethnic monitoring systems and supporting the Kashmiri diaspora community. Furthermore, the local authorities in UK have a duty to demonstrate their commitment to all communities to; eliminate unlawful discrimination; advance equality as well as foster good community relations under the Equality Act 2010. The hoisting of the Kashmir flag will further evidence on these council’s commitment in advancing race equality and championing of community cohesion amongst diverse cultures and communities.
Therefore, by hoisting the Kashmir flag at the town halls or civic centres on 24th October the local democratic institutions in UK will be celebrating their commitment with the ideals of democratic governance at home and abroad, and the achievements of the Kashmiri diaspora community and their contributions to the local economy, heritage and civic life in Britain.
Kashmiri Diaspora Community in the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom has a good as well as a very complex historical relationship with the people of Jammu and Kashmir since 16 March 1846. The Kashmiri diaspora is one of the most economically active and politically engaged communities in their place of origin as well as their current place of abode – the United Kingdom. Over half a million people sharing common national identity and representing divers ethnic, religious and cultural heritage of Jammu and Kashmir are currently living and working in United Kingdom. They have very strong on-going family, cultural, political and commercial interests in their place of origin. The Kashmiri community is an equal and integral part of the civil society in each and every sphere of life across Britain. Indeed, in England, sixteen local authorities recognise Kashmiri’s national and ethnic identity in their local authorities’ ethnic monitoring systems.
Lord Mayor Bradford Cllr Khadim Husain hoisting Kashmir flag at Bradford Town Hall 24th Oct 2013
Lord Mayor Manchester Cllr Naeem Ul Hassan and Kashmiri community representatives proudly display Kashmir Flag at Manchester Town Hall 24th Oct 2013
We are actively seeking partnership with local community groups, businesses and public sector organisations to celebrate ‘Kashmir National Day’ by organising civic ceremonies to hoist Kashmir flag at Town/City halls and places of public interest in recognition of Kashmiri diaspora community and their contributions to the local economy, cultural heritage and civic life. This would help us to advance the education of the general public in the history and culture of Jammu and Kashmir.
Sardar Aftab Khan – Executive Director
Kashmir Development Foundation (KDF) Tel: 07837546440 Web: www.kdfajk.org