Kashmir: India an inherently autocratic Country!

Kashmir: India an inherently autocratic Country!N. P Upadhyaya, Kathmandu: Nepali Congress lawmaker Pradip Giri while making a statement on Kashmir in the Nepali Parliament recently, hinted that if India so desired, can make “Nepal as the second Sikkim”. While making this announcement (perhaps on behalf of the Indian regime?), Pradip Giri unknowingly said “After Sikkim…India has gulped Kashmir”. He has used the word “KHAYO” whose literal meaning is …… “Gulped”.

In saying so Nepali Congress parliamentarian Pradip Giri admitted that Kashmir had been “consumed” by the Indian establishment. Now nothing remains to add.

But yet some “highly” intelligent Nepali media men, my own colleagues, have in an oblique manner begun writing that Kashmir aggression was not an issue that should be of some cause of concern to others since it was an internal matter of India. They hinted that Nepal must not exhibit any concern or whatsoever.

However, my contention has been that “it is not India’s internal matter but instead it is a “disputed territory” awaiting the promised UN plebiscite for self-determination plus pending twelve UN resolutions which has made the Kashmir imbroglio as a “bilateral dispute” in between India and Pakistan.

The fresh UNSC closed door meet this month too talked on the same line. Host of world leaders have urged India and Pakistan to take up the issue bilaterally.

President Trump just the other day in France talked with PM Modi on Kashmir which forced Modi to tell the international media that “we are ready to talk with Pakistan at the bilateral level”.

So we think the Indian occupied Kashmir issue is not an internal issue but a matter that is awaiting a final solution through the execution of the promises made to the people by Pundit Nehru and the United nations on several occasions over these seven decades.

As of why we are interested on Kashmir issue is that, firstly peace in Kashmir is directly linked to the prevalence of peace and stability in the South Asian region and Nepal is a country which falls in this vast landmass. This is our primary concern.

Secondly, Nepal being the Chair of the SAARC regional body, as a sensible and peace loving Nepali we have the right to ask both India and Pakistan to resolve the issue as per the resolutions of the UN and also abiding by the Shimla agreement.

Writes veteran journalist Anil Giri for the Kathmandu Post that “Amid escalating tension between India and Pakistan over New Delhi’s move on Jammu and Kashmir, both countries have confirmed their participation of SAARC Council of Ministers at foreign ministers’ level to be held in New York. In September both India and Pakistan will come face to face at the United nations general Assembly. The meet has been arranged by the current Chair of the SAARC. It could be a good start . 

Is the SAARC still alive? Perhaps yes.

Nepal has made it known that “bilateral” talks should continue for resolving the Kashmir issue for the regional stability.

We shall write against the Indian annexation simply because if India has the right to poke its nose on Nepal’s exclusive Terai/Madhesh issue (as it poked in the recent past if my friends recall) then why not I should be allowed the right to talk and debate on an issue that the world has taken as one which remains a “disputed territory”.

Why my intimate colleagues were silent when their own country’s Madhesh/Terai was made the target by the Indian management some three years back?
No spin can put a rosy picture on what is happening in J&K as a whole, my own media colleagues should keep this in mind. The dispute remains. Let’s agree to disagree.

If India can intervene in Nepali affairs then why not a sensible Nepali media man be not allowed to talk on a disputed territory which has been all along these seven decades a potential flash point.

Nepal has reasons to get scared with the continued Kashmir conflict.

Mind it, what if India or Pakistan pushed to the wall and one of the two press the nuclear button? In such a scenario, shall Nepal remain safe? Or even the world?

Early this week, the Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan while making a special address to the nation, Monday August 26 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”.

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. To some extent Iran came to the forefront in favor of Pakistanis or say for the Kashmiri people.

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.

He says, “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.

This will be PM Khan’s first speech at the UN which will give him an opportunity to talk his brain and mind on the Kashmir issue that has evolved of late.

He called on Pakistanis to stop work for half an hour on Friday as a mark of solidarity with Kashmiris. And the whole of Pakistan came to a standstill this Friday.

Pakistanis brought the nation to a standstill at midday Friday as they gathered for “Kashmir hour” to show their solidarity with the disputed region, after India stripped the state of Jammu and Kashmir of its autonomy and reclassified it as a union territory earlier this month, writes Jennifer Hauser and Bianca Britton, for the CNN August 30, 2019.

Pakistan’s prime minister has once again promised to raise the issue of rights violations allegedly perpetrated by India in the disputed region of Kashmir at the UN this September, as tens of thousands held protests across the country expressing solidarity with the Kashmiris.

“The whole world should have stood with Kashmir,” Prime Minister Khan said at a rally of thousands outside his office in the capital Islamabad on Friday August 30.

He lamented that the world powers and the UN Body too were conspicuously silent on Kashmir.

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 defense of the people of Kashmir.

But in sum, Pakistan has the reasons to conclude that “all that glitters is not gold”. The Muslim countries’ unity is just a farce as has been seen in the issue pertaining to the plight of the Kashmiri people.

Where is the much talked Muslim Renaissance?

In the meanwhile, writes for the Hindu daily (India) Sriram Lakshman from Washington dated August 30, 2019, about the short comment issued by US leader Ilhan Omar of the Democratic Party on the issue of Kashmir.

She says, “I am excited to see so many members joining us in calling attention to what is happening in Kashmir. Please continue to call your members and ask them to speak up. We expect openness from India”.

Ilhan Omar is a democrat elected from Minnesota State who tweeted referring to a comment from Ted Lieu, a California democrat in the US House of Representatives.

The number of lawmakers commenting on Kashmir could possibly increase when the Congress, which is in recess, reconvenes in September, so believes Sriram Lakshman.

Remarkably, in an Op-ed in the New York Times on Friday August 30, 2019, the Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that “If the world does nothing to stop the Indian assault on Kashmir and its people, there will be consequences for the whole world as two nuclear armed states get ever closer to a direct military confrontation”.

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”.

For the Road: Security forces in Indian-administered Kashmir have been accused of carrying out beatings and torture in the wake of the government’s decision to strip the region of its autonomy.
Shamir Hasmi of the BBC August 29, 2019, heard from several villagers who said they were beaten with sticks and cables, and given electric shocks.

Residents in several villages showed me injuries. But the BBC was not able to verify the allegations with officials.

The Indian army has called them “baseless and unsubstantiated”.

Voice of America Video: Protesters, Police Clash in Kashmir After Prayers, Friday 8/30/2019

In the meanwhile, the United States on Thursday said that it was “very concerned” about reports of detentions and restrictions imposed in Indian occupied Kashmir.

Speaking to the media, US State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said, “The US is watching the situation in Jammu and Kashmir closely. We continue to call for calm and restraint, including on rhetoric”, writes Suhasini Haidar for the Hindu Daily August 30, 2019.

Ortagus said the US encouraged solving issues between Pakistan and India through dialogue, adding that “they [US] were concerned about the forced detention and curfew.”
Pointedly notes widely acclaimed strategist ‘Michael Kugleman’ in one of his old article titled “India’s sudden Kashmir move could backfire badly” dated August 5, 2019, had hinted that, (sic)

“India may be world’s biggest democracy, but the way Article 370 is being repealed in inherently autocratic –dictated from a distant center with no input from the people most affected”. His article has been published in the Foreign Policy magazine.

Mr. Kugelman is the Deputy Director at Asia Program and a South Asia senior associate at the Wilson center based in Washington D. C. senior that’s all.


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