Politicians in Brent have called for unity on the issue of Kashmir, as the council celebrated the independence days of India and Pakistan last week.

Cllr Krupesh Hirani, responsible for public health, culture and leisure at Brent Council, said it was important to show that all communities can work together.

He attended a flag raising ceremony at Brent Civic Centre on August 14 to recognise Pakistan’s independence and took part in a similar ceremony a day later to acknowledge India’s.

“We are proud that local leaders with heritage from all countries can come together and stand side-by-side united. In Brent we can show the way forward for the world,” he said.

London Assembly member for Harrow and Brent, Navin Shah, agreed with Cllr Hirani’s sentiments and urged people to focus on similarities rather than differences.

He said: “Unity amongst our diverse faiths and communities is something we must cherish and ensure we continue to work to make this bond even stronger.”

Protests have erupted around the world – including in London – at India’s decision to revoke Article 370, which gave the state of Jammu and Kashmir ‘special status’ and de facto political autonomy.

It means the Indian government will have full control over the state which, prime minister Narendra Modi said, will speed up integration and development.

Bob Blackman, MP for Harrow East, voiced his support for the decision and said that Kashmiri Pandits – a Hindu group native to the region – should be allowed right of return.

He said: “I strongly support the revocation of Article 370. Jammu and Kashmir have always been an integral part of India and A370 has always been anomaly: it has held the area back by starving it of investment, through the prevention of external ownership of land.”