A leading American newspaper has denounced Indian government decision to strip Indian occupied Kashmir of its semiautonomous status and called for preventing ‘India’s folly from escalating into a perilous and unpredictable regional crisis. In an editorial, The New York Times’ Editorial Board called New Delhi’s move, which was accompanied by a huge security clampdown, as ‘dangerous and wrong,’ and said, ‘Bloodshed is all but certain, and tension with Pakistan will soar.’
Other newspapers also decried the decision, saying it could have extremely dangerous consequences for the region. ‘The United States and China must not allow Kashmir to become a pawn in their ongoing disputes; on the contrary, the United States, China, the United Nations and other powers with influence over India and Pakistan must urgently do what they can to prevent India’s folly from escalating into a perilous and unpredictable regional crisis,’ The New York Times stressed in the editorial.
The editorial said: ‘The Indian government knows how incendiary its actions are, which is why, before making the announcement on Monday, it ordered tens of thousands more troops into Kashmir, put major political figures under house arrest, ordered tourists to leave, closed schools and cut off internet services. ‘The government claimed it was acting to prevent a planned terrorist attack. But Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his governing Bharatiya Janata Party, deeply rooted in Hindu nationalist ideology, have long made no secret of their intention to revoke the articles in the Indian Constitution granting the predominantly Muslim Kashmir a special status — a move the B.J.P. sees as ‘correcting a historical blunder…’
‘The United Nations recommended holding a referendum to let Kashmiris decide their fate, but that never happened… ‘In this volatile stew, India’s latest action provoked instant vows of resistance. The Kashmiris are especially incensed by the lifting of a ban they had long imposed on the purchase of land by nonresidents, to prevent their land from being bought up by Indians. ‘There will be chaos if our identity is compromised,’ vowed Mehbooba Mufti, a former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir. In neighbouring Pakistan the sabers were quick to rattle.—APP