Teacher hosts SolidariTea party for Kashmir

Claire Bidwell with the campaign's co-founder Jawad Qayyum from Azad Kashmir

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A primary school teacher from Mull is hosting an online SolidariTea Party this weekend to raise awareness of the plight of millions of Kashmiris under siege.

The event is on Saturday and will mark the 300th day since a security and communications lockdown was imposed in India Government-occupied Kashmir.

It was a chance purchase of rugs from a Kashmiri salesman in Mumbai last July that started Claire Bidwell’s mission.

The teacher decided to make a difference after the salesman, who she stayed in touch with by text,  told her he could not contact his elderly parents back in occupied Kashmir because of  the Indian Government’s ‘clampdown and communication blockade’

To call  for a peaceful solution and raise awareness,  Ms Bidwell co-founded the Let Kashmir Decide campaign with Kashmiri activist Jawad Qayyum.

It began on social media with just a Facebook page and is now spreading across the globe.

‘I found it hard to fathom how people could be treated so abysmally in this day and age and felt compelled to act to make a difference,’ said Ms Bidwell.

A social media search for more information about the situation in Kashmir led to her meeting more and more  people  directly affected by the crisis.

Compelled to act,  Ms Bidwell is busy campaigning up and down the the UK and also overseas meeting with many other pro-Kashmir activists.

There are nearly 3,000 members across the campaign’s social media groups and Youtube now.

The campaign also has a liaison officer, a media manager, five continental
representatives and more than 30 country representatives who are voluntarily raising awareness in their own countries.

Recently over 12 cross party MPs met online for a Kashmir conference to discuss the severity of the Kashmir situation.

Campaigners are hoping for a twitter storm #letkashmirdecide at midday UK time on Saturday with the online tea party  being streamed by Jammu Kashmir TV for people to  hear  discussions, speeches and music as well as latest reports of current issues and possible solutions to the crisis.

To find out more go to www.letkashmirdecide or  go to facebook.com/JammuKashmirTV/