Monday, August 19, 2019 | ePaper

Modi's move ignores the wish of the people of Kashmir

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THE Indian government stripped Kashmir of the special autonomy it has had for seven decades, raising fears of further violence in the Muslim-majority Himalayan region.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu-nationalist party BJP rushed through a presidential decree to scrap from the Constitution the Indian-ruled part of the disputed territory's special status. It also moved a bill proposing the Indian-administered part of Kashmir be divided into two regions directly ruled by New Delhi. Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir's former chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah -- who had been placed under house arrest -- were arrested.
The government said on Monday that removing Article 370 was necessary as it had led to terrorism and came in the way of curbing corruption in Jammu and Kashmir. The Article was the elephant in the room, the government said. The government said the state will prosper after axing it, social amalgamation will reduce threat to militancy, Kashmir will become one of the top tourist destinations and it will also prove to be good diplomacy to deal with Pakistan over territorial disputes.
While all of the above may be true, it is also true that such a move is reminiscent of China's moves to populate Xinjiang with Han Chinese at the expense of its native Uighurs. Such a move ultimately sparked years of violence before the harsh crackdown by the Chinese in recent years. While it remains to be seen how much of this would occur in Kashmir, it's certainly true that opening up Kashmir to outsiders could potentially see a massive influx of non-Kashmiris in the region, leading to further destabilisation.
We do not attach much importance to the dispute between Pakistan and India or the fact that matter   is still pending at the United Nations as a dispute. We condemn the fact that the people of Kashmir was not a factor to be taken into consideration. India just took over Kashmir as if the UN or international obligation does not matter. Mr Modi seems to have taken advantage of the weak US leadership under President Trump.


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