Modi playing dangerous game, says US paper


New York

The US print and electronic media has given prominent coverage to reports about Friday’ UN Security Council meeting on the grave situation in Indian occupied Kashmir, amid continued criticism of India’’s annexation of the disputed region.
Top US newspapers continue to denounce Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s illegal action in revoking Kashmir’s special autonomous status, with Saturday’s Washington Post saying, “Modi has stoked Kashmir’s anger and stained India’s democracy.”
The newspapers also carried reports of the telephonic conversation between Prime Minister Imran Khan and US President Donald Trump on the situation in the occupied Kashmir.
Most reports on Friday’s “closed consultations” of the 15-member Council highlighted the fact that it was the first meeting on Kashmir after a space of over 50 years, while also pointing to China’s full support to Pakistan.
“Will 50 more years pass before the Council takes up again the hot topic of Kashmir?” CNN’s UN Correspondent Richard Roth posed the question in his dispatch.
“As the diplomatic arm that’s supposed to protect international peace and security, the Security Council should move quickly to get between the two nuclear-armed opponents if there is a significant flare up.”
On Friday, China’s UN Ambassador Zhang Jun summed up the Council discussions, saying the members countries voiced serious concerns over the situation.
“They are also concerned about the human rights situation there and also it’s the general view of members that parties concerned should refrain from taking any unilateral action that might further aggravate the tension there since it’s already very very dangerous situation,” Zhang said.
Speaking to reporters outside the Council chamber, Pakistan’s permanent representative to the United Nations Maleeha Lodhi said the meeting had allowed “the voice of the people of the occupied Kashmir” to be heard “in the highest diplomatic forum of the world.”
She argued that “the fact that this meeting took place, is a testimony to the fact that the Kashmir issue is an international dispute.”
Ambassador Lodhi said, “As far as my country is concerned, we stand ready for a peaceful settlement of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. I think today’s meeting nullifies India’s claim that Jammu and Kashmir is an internal matter ofIndia. Today, the whole world is discussing the occupied state and the situation there.”
After a break, India’s UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin said, “It’s entirely an internal matter for India,” adding, “We don’t need international busybodies.”
Akbaruddin also promised an eventual easing of restrictions in the Indian-occupied Kashmir, where civilians have been under strict security lockdown and a communications blackout.
He also went over to a railing in front of a UN television camera to several Pakistani reporters and shook their hands after some tough questioning, telling them that India was ready for dialogue with Pakistan.
The editorial in The Washington Post said, “Mr. Modi, leading the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, having secured a second-term election victory in May, promised to deliver a “completely transparent environment with a lot of honesty” for Kashmir, “new hopes” and “new heights” and “renewed vigor.” Given the way Mr. Modi chose to impose change, these words cannot be accepted at face value.”
After giving background of the Kashmir dispute and the region’s features and arrangements, the Post said, “Mr. Modi effectively canceled the key provision, Article 370, and dissolved the state, turning it instead into two “union territories” with less autonomy, under direct rule by New Delhi. Also canceled was a provision that barred people outside the state from buying property and displacing Muslims.”
Mr Modi is playing a dangerous game, said the Post. “His sunny vows of transparency aside, the stripping of Kashmir’s autonomy was done in darkness and in the most coercive way possible.”
The WP editorial continues, “As The Post’s Niha Masih reported from Srinagar, streets are no longer crowded with civilians but awash with India’s armed soldiers, and “instead of traffic jams at intersections, there are spools of concertina wire. People remain inside their homes with no telephone, Internet or cable TV service. No one has seen or heard from local political leaders, hundreds of whom are in detention. Of the more than 200 newspapers in the region, only five are publishing physical copies. Their websites are stuck at Aug. 5.”
But India, which just this week celebrated 73 years of independence as a boisterous, multiethnic and multiconfessional democracy? Mr. Modi might have fulfilled a dream of Hindu nationalists going back to the 1950s, but he also stained that democracy and most likely stoked anger in Kashmir that will fester long into the future.”
Mr. Modi’s promise of “new heights” might turn out to be a dark day for Kashmir and for India’s democracy. The value of any goal must be doubted if it can be achieved only by these dark, oppressive means.”
The Kashmir crisis is about a Hindu victory over Islam: Kapil Komireddi
Also in the Washington Post is an article by an Indian journalist, who said that “The Kashmir crisis isn’t about territory. It’s about a Hindu victory over Islam,” and that Prime Minister Modi “used the Muslim-majority state as a demonstration of Hindu power.”Journalist and author Kapil Komireddi described the Indian crackdown in detail and wrote: Modi’s sudden takeover in Kashmir is the fulfillment of a long ideological yearning to make a predominantly Muslim population surrender to his vision of a homogeneous Hindu nation. It is also a way of conveying to the rest of India — a union of dizzyingly diverse states — that no one is exempt from the Hindu-power paradise he wants to build on the subcontinent. Kashmir is both a warning and a template: Any state that deviates from this vision can be brought under Delhi’s thumb in the name of “unity.” He writes: Those who believe that such a day will never come — that India’s democratic institutions and minority protections will assert themselves — also never thought that someone like Modi would one day lead the country. Modi once seemed destined to disappear into history as a fanatical curio.—AFP

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