Director of Editorial Policy at the BBC
We have received many complaints over the last 24 hours from British Muslims regarding the use of the phrase 'Islamic terrorists' by your news reporters in connection with the struggle for Kashmiri independence.
We believe this phrase it totally inappropriate and adds nothing to the story and even distorts what is a long-standing struggle by the Kashmiri people to gain control of their own destiny.
We have noticed that your news reports are also failing to adequately report the background to this conflict. It is crucial that viewers and listeners are made aware that Kashmir is a Muslim-majority area which should have become part of Pakistan but did not because of the Hindu Maharajah who opted for union with India. This has caused immense misery for both countries but especially for the people of Kashmir.
Your recent news reports have not adequately mentioned that the Indian army is widely detested by the people of Kashmir and is regarded as an occupation force. The Indian army has been severely criticized for not allowing free access to the media in occupied Kashmir and has been blamed for many widespread human rights abuses against Kashmiri civilians.
The only way to resolve this issue is to allow the people of Kashmir a referendum on their future, not by military conflict.
Please could we meet to discuss this issue urgently as it is causing much distress to people who have strong family ties to Kashmir.
Mr Inayat Bunglawala
The Muslim Council of Britain
Response from Stephen Whittle
Thanks for your note. I have discussed this with the various output editors. It is not our policy to describe Kasmiri separatists in this way and that has been made clear. It was an isolated incident and will not be repeated.