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Monday, 15 January, 2001, 12:52 GMT
Row over Kashmir 'peace bus'
Double decker bus
A double decker bus will be converted for the campaign
An Indian community group has accused the Muslim peer Lord Ahmed of Rotherham of trying to incite unrest among British Asians with a plan for a Kashmir "peace bus".

The Indian Overseas Congress (IOC) is against the plan by Lord Ahmed and Kashmiri groups in Britain to publicise issues surrounding the conflict in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Lord Ahmed
Lord Ahmed: Bus plan is not anti-Indian
India and Pakistan have fought two wars over Kashmir since 1947 and more than 30,000 people have died in the 12 years since separatist groups began a campaign to oust India from the region.

IOC president Balwant Kapoor said the peace bus plan would lead to increased tension between Indians and Pakistanis in Britain.

But Lord Ahmed said the aim was simply to draw attention to human rights abuses in Kashmir and the danger of nuclear war between Pakistan and India because of the disputed territory.

"Something has got to be done to get to grips with the situation," he said.

'Propaganda bus'

Mr Kapoor said the vehicle was a "propaganda bus" and said it would create more tension between Indian and Pakistani communities in Britain.

He said anti-Indian literature would be distributed during the tours and that he had written to Home Secretary Jack Straw and asked him to ban the project from going ahead.

Lord Ahmed said his aim was to promote more peace and stability in the region rather than seeking to destabilise it.

Funds were being raised to fund the purchase of the bus, to be known as "Muzzaffarabad to Srinagar" after the two capitals of Kashmir, he said.

Lord Ahmed said he hoped the bus would be on the road by the spring.

It will initially run tours between the Pakistani and Indian High Commissions in London before embarking on a tour of areas in Britain with a large Asian population, he added.

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See also:

15 Jan 01 | South Asia
Kashmir votes amid tight security
02 Aug 00 | South Asia
Flashpoint Kashmir: Special Report
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