LONDON: A Manchester private hire businessman is highlighting the issue of Indian occupied Kashmir by wrapping his vehicles with “Kashmiri Lives Matter” posters.
British-born Mohammed Rafqat owns around 100 private hire cars which operate in the Greater Manchester area, providing taxi and delivery services.
The businessman has wrapped his vehicles with slogans of Kashmiri Lives Matter; India! Stop Genocide in Kashmir; and End Indian occupation of Kashmir. Rest of the posters highlight the count of loss of human life inflicted on Kashmiris by the Indian occupation forces. These posters give the account of over 100,000 innocent Kashmiris who have lost their lives at the hands of Indian forces.
Speaking to Geo and The News, Mohammed Rafqat said he hoped that thousands of people would be able to see these posters displayed on his vehicles.
He explained: “My cars operate in Manchester and the surrounding areas and I hope that everyday thousands of people watch these cars passing by. The whole point is to show to English community and others that Kashmiri Lives Matter too.”
Rafaqat said he took the initiative after realising that awareness about the issues of Kashmir either lacked in western countries or people in the west didn’t know much about the conflict.
He said his campaign is simply focussed on the sufferings of common people. “I don’t belong to any political party. I am concerned only about the people of Kashmir. They are victims of Indian genocide and the world is looking away.”
The businessman was inspired by the recent campaign under the banner of “Black Lives Matter”. dozens of protests were held across cities in Britain including in Manchester. These protests brought together people from all shades under the same banner.
“I liked the messaging of Black Lives Matter movement. It was all about the rights of Black people and it was simple and effective. I decided to launch vehicles for the same purpose of reaching out to maximum number of people to show them there is a forgotten place called Kashmiri where India is involved in state terrorism by usurping rights of innocent people.”
Rafaqat’s vehicles have grabbed attention in busy areas of Manchester. Locals have stopped by to read the wording of posters. Outside the train station, passengers have stopped to make pictures of his vehicles to post on social media sites. Teenagers have stopped by Rafqat’s cars to make selfies.
Rafqat didn’t disclose how much he has spent to decorate his cars with “Kashmiri Lives Matter” posters but he said the money was not the issue.
He said: “I am prepared to spend as much as I can. I will do anything for my people in Kashmir. I have answered the call of my conscience. This campaign is all about humanity, the humanity of Kashmiri people which India has denied to them.”