• Friday 20th September 2019

Kashmir issue now at the UNGA; Arundhati Roy on India’s high drama, no spin can put a rosy picture of Kashmir

  • Published on: August 28, 2019

  • By NP Upadhyaya

    While writing this story, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan was making a special address to the nation, Monday August 26 wherein he said that Islamabad’s Kashmir policy was at a “decisive” point as he slammed India for playing what he called “its last card” and vowing to “take next step”.
    He further noted that “If the [Kashmir] conflict moves towards war then remember both nations have nuclear weapons and no one is a winner in a nuclear war. It will have global ramifications. The superpowers of the world have a huge responsibility…whether they support us or not, Pakistan will do everything possible”.
    Khan added by saying that, “with Pakistan failing to get traction for its belligerent stand on Kashmir, Prime Minister Imran Khan asked Pakistanis to not get disheartened by the silence of Islamic nations on Kashmir.
    The fact is that the Muslim countries have cheated Pakistan in a way that suited those most.
    He said that Islamic nations may be silent on Kashmir now but there will come a time when they will have to speak up, reports the India Today from Delhi dated August 26, 2019.
    PM Khan plans that he will tell the world about this, I have shared this with heads of state that I have been in contact with. I will raise this issue at the UN as well”.
    PM Khan is to address the UNGA on September 27 next month.
    He called on Pakistanis to stop work for half an hour this Friday as a mark of solidarity with Kashmiris.
    In a strong determination and in support for the poor Kashmiris PM Khan said that “We as a whole nation give this message to the 8 million Kashmiris that we are standing with them, “reports the Reuters August 26, 2019.
    However, PM Khan’s appeal to the international community came Monday as India’s Prime Minister Modi rejected third-party mediation over the disputed Himalayan territory. He was speaking on the sidelines of the G7 summit alongside Donald Trump, the president of the USA, who had previously offered to act as a go-between in the dispute. Modi though spoke like a wet cat with the media meeting the US President. But Modi assured the US that he will talk with Pakistan.
    But President Trump took a U turn.
    The United Nations has a responsibility, says PM Khan, to ensure the people of Kashmir had the right to decide their own future through a referendum, he said, but the global body was “standing with the powerful countries”.
    Perhaps the UN body is biased, it is so believed in Nepal. For weaker and small countries, the UN has only lip service, it has been noted several times in the past.
    A news from the TRT world dated August 23 or 24 states that “The Indian government’s actions have subjected New Delhi to strong condemnation from human rights groups, such as Amnesty International (AI), which called on the UN Security to intervene in defence of the people of Kashmir.
    The TRT continues to say that Kumi Naidoo, AI’s secretary-general, has stated “The actions of the Indian government have thrown ordinary people’s lives into turmoil (in Kashmir), subjecting them to unnecessary pain and distress on top of the years of human rights violations they have already endured.”
    The muted or the subdued response of the Arab world for the Kashmiris are the developments which have met with soft criticism and dismay from Muslims who have been following the Kashmir crisis since August 5 when Indian troops put the disputed territory on lockdown and scrapped a part of the law that gave Kashmir special status.
    But in sum, Pakistan has the reasons to conclude that “all that glitters is not gold”.
    Yet a popular resistance group in India-administered Kashmir on Saturday derided UAE for awarding Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the highest civilian honour, saying the act has “disappointed” Kashmiris and that it doesn’t reflect the “will of the people of UAE.”
    “It’s an embarrassment for the entire Muslim Ummah (community),” a Pakistan-administered Kashmir-based spokesperson of APHC, which functions in India-administered Kashmir told TRT World on August 24, 2019.
    Let’s now listen and read as to what this distinguished diplomat has to say on Kashmir.
    Writes William Milam August 25, 2019 in South Asia Journal in one of his fresh article titled Authoritarianism marches on in South Asia that as the hegemon of South Asia, doing what it wanted to because it could. Perhaps it acted more brutally because unlike Crimeans, many of whom surely wanted to join Russia, very few of the Mulsim majority of the Kashmir valley, wanted Kashmir to be incorporated into the Indian State. Given the history of the past 70 years when it has enjoyed “special status,” which was supposed to mean semi-autonomy, this has been the thin reed the Muslim Kashmiris have held onto as their lifeline to real autonomy, even independence. In fact, the autonomy so dearly held, began to slip away in 1954, which totally disappeared in the years since…..Autonomy was a word for many years in Kashmir, though there was little or none, and India has ruled Kashmir directly and openly, with the help of many thousands of troops, since the late 1980s.
    William Milam is the writer and is an American diplomat and Senior Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. The article appeared in the Friday Times on 23 August 2019.
    He then adds, “what else can you call India’s action vis a vis Kashmir but an annexation? It flaunted (the) democratic norms as well as international agreements.
    MR. William has served as Ambassador to Pakistan and Bangladesh.
    In the meantime, a high drama unfolded at the Srinagar airport as Opposition leaders led by Congress MP Rahul Gandhi reached the region to review the situation in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). As soon as Rahul Gandhi alighted from the flight with a dozen of Opposition leaders and dozens of media personnel, he was received by scores of police personnel inside the airport.
    Taken aback by the large media presence, the Jammu and Kashmir police roughed up reporters and camerapersons blocking their way out. Some men in colored uniform pushed the journalists in and out of the airport, leading to chaos at the arrival, so writes Mausami Sing for India today dated August 25, 2019.
    Similarly, Arundhati Roy says on Kashmir, (sic) “When it ends, as it must, the violence that will spiral out of Kashmir will inevitably spill into India. It will be used to further enflame the hostility against Indian Muslims who are already being demonized, ghettoized, pushed down the economic ladder and, with terrifying regularity, lynched”.
    Ms. Arundhati writes this in an article “The silence is the Loudest Sound” in The Caravan dated August 26, 2019. This article was first published in the New York Times. She ventilates her inner feelings and says, “Echoes of fascism in the Kashmir valley”.
    And here is Prof. Dr. Claude Rakisits, a strategic analyst interested in South Asian affairs who says that “if what Modi did was for the good of Kashmiris (then) why it is national Indian leaders are not allowed into Kashmir. No spin can put a rosy picture on what is happening in J&K as a whole”. That’s all.


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