Thursday 9th July 2020
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12/08/2019 - Council chief encourages communities to come together following Kashmir protest

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A number of Luton residents came together on Friday (August 9) for a march and protest in the town centre to show solidarity with the people of Kashmir following heightened tensions in the region.

Speaking afterwards, Luton Council’s Chief Executive Robin Porter wanted to emphasise that he had been reassured that the march and protest was organised out of genuine concern for the people living in the area.

He said: “The peaceful and legitimate protest was organised first and foremost because there are a large number of residents who have friends and family in the Kashmir region who are understandably very worried about the current situation. They wanted to show solidarity with the people of Kashmir.

“With heightened tensions in the region many of our residents are upset and emotional, and wanted to express themselves. I have since heard that some people not involved in the protest were concerned with Friday’s events. I therefore want to reassure all local people that the protest was not in any way aimed at people of Indian Heritage, especially the wonderful local Indian communities in which there are over 10,000 living in our town.

“While concerns were raised by the protesters over the recent decision of the Indian government to the special status of the disputed territory, the organisers themselves were clear to us from the outset that their protest was about showing solidarity and they wanted local Indian and other communities to be reassured of this fact. 

“We are all worried about the ongoing situation in the region and hope for a peaceful resolution. Decisions of international governments do not reflect decisions in the UK however the Leader of the Council and our Mayor wrote to the Foreign Secretary on Friday requesting urgent action with the United Nations so that a peaceful and diplomatic solution can be found for the people of Kashmir and for long-term stability in the region.

“During these difficult times I urge all communities to come together to respect, value and celebrate our rich diversity which makes Luton such a wonderful and vibrant town; and continue to support the pledge of #LutonInHarmony and spread this message in our daily lives.”

The Luton in Harmony campaign encourages residents and businesses to wear the badge with pride, make friends with people from different backgrounds and life experiences and learn about their values and promote peace and harmony in our communities. For more information visit the Luton in Harmony​ website

Some of the success of the campaign was seen in the last Perceptions of Luton Survey which revealed that 86% of people believe Luton is a place where people from different backgrounds get on well together, despite some of the national and international tensions in recent years. ​
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