Sheffield Central candidates address genocide at Hustings

Representatives from the Labour Party, Green Party and the Social Equality Party met with the public to discuss the problems in Palestine and Kashmir.

Organised by the Sisters4Kashmir and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the Hustings aimed to discuss these sensitive topics on a public forum, where voters can gauge the positions of the candidates before next Thursday’s General Election.

The Liberal Democrat and Conservative candidates did not attend the forum.

Paul Blomfield, who is the standing MP in Sheffield Central and is favourite to retain his seat, said his stance on the conflict in Palestine.

He said: “We should not sell arms to Israel that could be used in the repression of the Palestinian people.”

Chris Marsden, the National Secretary of the Social Equality Party and Sheffield Central candidate, highlighted the need for political parties to speak out on the issues in Palestine and Kashmir.

He said: “Anyone who stays silent on this question, including the left wing parties and including the Labour Party, is committing a crime against the working class and they will be culpable.”

Baroness Natalie Bennett, who represented the Green Party candidate Alison Teal, spoke about her and Caroline Lucas’ intent to join the All-Party Parliamentary Groups for Palestine and Kashmir.

This was an idea that Paul Blomfield supported. He stressed the need to galvanise opinion in the international community by, “using every lever at our disposal.”

Questions from those in attendance highlighted the lack of media coverage of what is happening in both Palestine and Kashmir.

Mr Blomfield agreed with a statement from a Social Equality Party member in the audience who said there was a media blackout on these issues.

He said: “The scales of the crimes committed within Kashmir need to be covered more effectively by the international media.”

There appeared to be consensus across the three parties on needing to bring these conflicts into the forefront of public interest.