Wednesday, September 21, 2016

700,000 Indian Soldiers Versus 7 Million Kashmiris

The essence of Kashmir issue today is not Uri or Pathankot or similar other alleged "militant attacks"; it is India's brutal military occupation force of 700,000 heavily-armed Indian soldiers being resisted by over 7 million Kashmiris. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a liar.

Armed Forces Special Powers Act:

India rules Kashmir using Armed Forces Special Powers Act, the same law that was created and used by the British colonial power to try and crush Gandhi's Quit India movement,

After independence in 1947, the Indian government has made extensive use of the same colonial-era British law to crush legitimate demands for freedom by the peoples of Assam, Manipur, Kashmir and other regions. The Act has now been in force in Kashmir for 26 years.

While Indian government claims Kashmir as an integral part of India, it undermines its own claim by denying fundamental rights to Kashmiris, the rights that are granted by the Indian constitution to all Indian citizens.

Basic Rights Denied:

Not only is the Indian government denying the right of self-determination granted to Kashmiris by multiple UN Security Council Resolutions, New Delhi is also reneging on the commitments made by India's founder and first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru to Kashmiris and the international community.

Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's Pledge

India is deploying 700,000 troops with extraordinary powers to detain, torture, blind, injure and kill any Kashmiri citizen with impunity under Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act 1990.

Deaths and Injuries:

In the latest Kashmir uprising triggered by the July 8 murder of young Kashmiri activist Burhan Wani by Indian military,  hundreds of protesters have been killed and thousands more injured in peaceful protests.

The extensive use pellet guns by Indian soldiers has blinded hundreds of young men and women, even children, during the current wave of mass protests.

Prior to casualties this latest round of protests, there have tens of thousands of civilians killed and hundreds of thousands injured by Indian military in Kashmir. Thousands of bodies have been found in mass graves in Bandipora, Baramulla, and Kupwara districts in Kashmir, according to The Hindu.

Kashmir Mass Graves:

Dr. Angana Chatterji, a professor of cultural and social anthropology at California Centre for Integral Studies who uncovered the mass graves, reported as follows:  “Of the 2700 graves, 2,373 (87.9 percent) were unnamed. 154 graves contained two bodies each and 23 contained more than two cadavers. Within these 23 graves, the number of bodies ranged from 3 to 17."

Scholars, she said, refer to mass graves as resulting from Crimes Against Humanity, War Crimes, or Genocide. “If the intent of a mass grave is to execute death with impunity, with intent to kill more than one, and to forge an unremitting representation of death, then, to that extent, the graves in Bandipora, Baramulla, and Kupwara are part of a collective burial by India’s military and paramilitary, creating a landscape of ‘mass burial.’

Dr. Chatterji said post-death, the bodies of the victims were routinely handled by military and paramilitary personnel, including the local police. She said that the bodies were then brought to “secret graveyards” primarily by personnel of the State Police.

The International Peoples' Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice, an independent group headed by Dr. Chatterji, alleged that the violence and militarization in Kashmir, between 1989-2009, have resulted in over 70,000 deaths, including through extrajudicial or “fake encounter” executions, custodial brutality, and other means. “In the enduring conflict, 6, 67,000 military and paramilitary personnel continue to act with impunity to regulate movement, law, and order across Kashmir,” she added.

Indian University Student Protest:

Many enlightened Indians like the Jawaharlal Nehru University students see the brutality and futility of Indian military occupation of Kashmir. At protests earlier this year, many chanted slogans in favor of Azadi for Kashmiris.  "Geelani bole azaadi, Afzal bole azaadi, jo tum na doge azaadi, toh chheen ke lenge azadi! (Geelani and Afzal demanded freedom. If freedom is denied, we will snatch it!)".

New Generation in Revolt: 

During the 26 years of Kashmir under Armed Forces Special Powers Act, an entire new generation of Kashmiris has grown up. This generation, represented by tech-savvy youngsters like Burhan Wani, has seen nothing but repression and violence committed by the Indian military against their people. They are more determined than ever to defy and defeat the illegal and immoral military occupation of their land by India.


The essence of Kashmir issue today is not Uri or Pathankot or similar other alleged "militant attacks"; it is India's brutal occupation of Kashmir by 700,000 heavily-armed Indian soldiers being resisted by over 10 million Kashmiris. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a liar. 

The use of brute force by 700,000 Indian troops over the last 26 years to crush the legitimate aspirations of millions of Kashmiris is backfiring.  The more Kashmiris Indian military detains, tortures, injures, blinds and kills under Armed Forces Special Powers Act, the less sustainable is its hold on the territory.  It is only a matter of time before India is forced to withdraw its troops and agree to let Kashmiris decide their own fate.

Here's Human rights activist Ajit Sahi exposing Modi's atrocities in Kashmir at Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission. Sahi says 6 people a day being killed in extrajudicial killings.


Here's another video discussion:

Did India beat Pakistan in the 1965 war from Ikolachi on Vimeo.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

What if Modi Attacks Pakistan?

1965 India-Pakistan War

2016 Kashmir Uprising

Kashmir in Context

Arundhati Roy on Indian Military Occupation of Kashmir

JNU Anti-Modi Protests


Riaz Haq said...

#Indian defense analyst Praful Bakshi says #IAF in serious crisis, lacks capacity vs #Pakistan #China via @YouTube

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif UN Speech General Assembly | 21 September 2016 | #Kashmir #UNGA #India via @YouTube

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan will hit back: #Musharraf warns #India | SAMAA TV #Uri #Kashmir

Former President General (retd) Pervez Musharraf has warned India that Pakistan will carry out a counter strike if New Delhi resorted to any military action against Islamabad in current circumstances of tension following militant attack in Occupied Kashmir, Samaa reported.

The former military ruler, in an interview with Indian channel CNN-News18, said Pakistan Islamabad will strike at "a time and place of its choosing" if India waged war.

“The persons who are talking about military retaliation - including your DGMO, your defence minister - should understand the consequences. The DGMO should learn a lesson of military that you have to wargame it till the end.”

“If think you can strike at the time and place of your choosing, we will strike back at the time and place of our choosing. It doesn't stop at your action; what will follow should also be considered,” he said in the interview from his residence in London.

About the attack on Indian army headquarters in Uri, where 19 Indian soldiers were killed, he said there are not credible evidences to say that the attackers came from Pakistan.

“The Indian government is trying to say as if the Pakistan army and the Pakistan government is involved,” he said.

He said India is directly interfering in Balochistan that is a serious matter. He also condemned New Delhi’s decision to give political asylum to Baloch rebel leader Brahmdagh Bugti, who is currently living in Switzerland.

“I totally condemn it, he shouldn’t be given any asylum. He’s a terrorist. You call of non-state actors in Kashmir, here in Balochistan it is state actor from your side, this is your state which is acting in Balochistan, which is more serious,” Musharraf said.

Brahamdagh Bugti approached the Permanent Mission of India in Geneva for filing asylum papers on Tuesday. - Samaa

Unknown said...

the whole support to balochistan started because pakistan has been interfering in india's internal affairs since 70 years, like kashmir is a raw nerve for india so is balochistan for pak. we indians would not bother about your affairs if you don't in ours.

Riaz Haq said...

SR: "the whole support to balochistan started because pakistan has been interfering in india's internal affairs since 70 years, like kashmir is a raw nerve for india so is balochistan for pak. we indians would not bother about your affairs if you don't in ours. "

Unlike Balochistan which is recognized by the world as integral part of Pakistan, Kashmir is a disputed territory under international law. And Pakistan is a legitimate party to the dispute under UN resolutions.

As to your justification for Indian covert war in Balochistan, let me ask you this:

What started India's interference in other neighboring countries like Sri Lanka, Sikkim, Nepal, etc?

What did Sri Lanka do to India to deserve the creation of LTTE by Indian intelligence?

Or Sikkim do to India to be forcibly annexed?

Read RK Yadav's "Mission R&AW" to learn about RAW's actions against India's neighbors.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan military prepares for a possible #India attack. #F16s flights, landing on Motorway, airspace part closure

Military officials are calling it a routine exercise, but the thunderous spectacle of Pakistani fighter jets touching down on a major highway Wednesday and Thursday, with commercial flights suspended and traffic blocked for hours, has fueled public speculation that something much more ominous is afoot.

The display of military readiness, which included a late-night jet flyover Thursday above this capital city, has come amid an unusually tense showdown with India, Pakistan’s nuclear-armed rival, following a militant attack Sunday that killed 18 Indian soldiers in the disputed border region of Kashmir. The air exercise led to the closure of commercial airspace over several regions of the country and triggered a sudden drop in the nation’s stock market.

Indian officials have accused Pakistan of sending the armed attackers across the de facto border into the Indian portion of Kashmir. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, under public pressure to retaliate for Sunday’s assault, vowed that those behind the “despicable attack” would not go unpunished. So far, though, his government has taken no action.

Pakistani officials have strongly denied the charges, and its military leaders have declared that they are prepared to defend Pakistani territory from any attack by India, and also to launch a “counter-offensive” in case of an Indian strike. The two neighboring countries have been adversaries for decades and have fought four wars.

On Thursday, Indian naval officials issued a high alert for coastal areas after school children claimed to have seen four men moving “suspiciously” near a naval facility near the city of Mumbai, according to the Press Trust of India. Schools and some public buildings in the area were shut while a manhunt was conducted, and security was tightened at other coastal facilities.

In New York, meanwhile, Pakistan and Indian officials have carried on a parallel war of words at the U.N. General Assembly. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif delivered a strident speech Wednesday, denouncing what he called ongoing Indian repression against unarmed protesters in Kashmir.


Shahid Latif, a former deputy air force chief, said it was important to remind India of Pakistan’s military and nuclear strength as a deterrent to any impulsive act. He said the air force now has upgraded F-16s and JF-17 Thunder fighter planes.

“India is very frustrated and it could do something rash, such as launching surgical strikes,” he said. “Our forces are well prepared to counter any Indian attack, our air force is doing the exercises and the motorway is also being used for that.” If India attacks, he said, “our military command knows what it has to do.”

Pakistani officials said that on Wednesday and Thursday, Pakistani fighter planes landed and took off repeatedly at several points along the six-lane highway linking Islamabad with the eastern city of Lahore, near the Indian border. Highway officials said they were informed only shortly before each landing, and that they then diverted traffic to other roads.

They said the fighter jets also landed Wednesday on another six-lane motorway that connects Islamabad to the western city of Peshawar to Islamabad. They said flights from Islamabad to the northern areas of Gilgit, Chitral and Skardu were suspended and will remain so for the next several days, with local airports being used by the air force.

Riaz Haq said...

WikiLeaks: #India 'systematically torturing civilians in #Kashmir' | via @Telegraph

The US officials in Delhi were privately briefed by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in 2005 that Indian security forces were using methods including electrocution, physical beatings and sexual interference against hundreds of detainees.
In a detailed report back to Washington they recorded the view of the ICRC that India “condones torture” and that the detainees were not Islamist insurgents or Pakistani-backed militants, who were “routinely killed.” Instead, they were civilians “connected to or believed to have information about the insurgency.”
According to the cables, which will prove a major embarrassment for the Indian government, the ICRC interviewed 1,296 detainees of whom 681 said they had been tortured.
Of those, 498 claimed to have been electrocuted, 381 said they were suspended from the ceiling, and 304 cases were described as “sexual.”
A total of 294 described a procedure in which guards crushed their legs by putting a bar across their thighs and sitting on it, while 181 said their legs had been pulled apart into the splits.

In one cable US officials reported that “terrorism investigations and court cases tend to rely upon confessions, many of which are obtained under duress if not beatings, threats, or in some cases torture.”
Other leaked cables from US officials in India revealed that the Dalai Lama believed environmental problems on the Tibetan plateau should take precedence over a political solution there for the next five to 10 years.
The exiled Buddhist spiritual leader told US diplomats that issues such as polluted water from mining, deforestation and melting glaciers “cannot wait.”
US officials also suggested to Washington that India be encouraged to send Bollywood stars to Afghanistan to help pacify the country.
A cable, obtained by the WikiLeaks website, said “We understand Bollywood movies are wildly popular in Afghanistan” but the plan never materialised.”

Riaz Haq said...

Watch this fact finding mission report of Indian journalists who went to Kashmir and gave the report a few days ago

All Kashmiris of all ages and classes want Azadi from India. No Pakistan involvement in the current protest movement. No Wahabis involved.

Riaz Haq said...

Turning off Indus tap easier said than done
It is an idea that keeps returning to the table — but India probably can’t consider it without risks, including those of flooding its own cities and provoking even bigger waves of terror.

Amid the clamour for avenging the Uri attack, a non-military option being suggested — including by Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha (The Indian Express, September 22) — is the abrogation of the 56-year-old Indus Waters Treaty that defines the water-sharing arrangement for six rivers of the Indus basin that flow through both India and Pakistan. The argument is that India, being upstream, can stop the flow of waters to Pakistan and bring it to its knees.
Pakistan’s dependence on the Indus system cannot be overstated. About 65% of its geographical area, including the entire Punjab province, is part of the Indus basin. The country has the world’s largest canal irrigation system, thanks to its development of the basin, which accounts for more than 90% of its irrigated area. Its three biggest dams, and several smaller ones, are located here. These are sources for hydroelectricity, irrigation and drinking water for millions of Pakistanis. If the tap could indeed be turned off from the Indian side, Pakistan’s capitulation is expected to be swift.

In stark contrast to their dealings in other matters, India and Pakistan have managed their shared river waters quite amicably, thanks to the Indus Waters Treaty of 1960. The Treaty has survived wars and innumerable phases of frosty relations. So much so, it is cited as the global model for cooperation on the use of trans-boundary river waters. The success of the Treaty also lends weight to the theory that when it comes to water, nations tend to cooperate rather than get into a conflict.
The Treaty, which came after a decade of World Bank-brokered negotiations, classified the six rivers of the Indus system into ‘eastern’ and ‘western’ rivers. Sutlej, Beas and Ravi were eastern; Jhelum, Chenab and Indus itself were western. The categorisation was relative — the western rivers flow almost parallely to the west of the eastern ones. Indus, the largest river, originates in China, so does the Sutlej. The other four rise in India; all enter Pakistan from India.
The Treaty gave India full rights over the waters of the eastern rivers, while it had to let the western rivers flow “unrestricted” to Pakistan. India could use the waters of western rivers as well, but only in a “non-consumptive” manner. It could use it for domestic purposes, and even for irrigation and hydropower production, but only in the manner specified in the Treaty. With the eastern rivers, India could do as it pleased.
A Permanent Indus Commission was established to implement the Treaty. Each country has an Indus Commissioner, and they meet regularly — every six months these days — to exchange information and data, and to settle minor disputes. Meetings of the Indus Commissioners have never been suspended — more than 110 rounds of meetings, held alternately in India and Pakistan, have taken place so far.


Indeed, the Treaty allows India to construct storage up to 3.6 million acre feet on the western rivers. But India has developed no storage capacities; nor has it utilised the water it is entitled to for irrigation.
Sinha also argued for India’s greater engagement with Afghanistan on the development of the Kabul river that flows into Pakistan through the Indus basin. “This again can make Pakistan extremely nervous. It is in our strategic interest in any case to enhance our engagement on developmental issues with Afghanistan,” he said.
Stopping the waters of the Indus rivers, on the other hand, can be counterproductive, Sinha said. “We have water-sharing arrangements with other neighbours as well. Not honouring the Indus Treaty would make them uneasy and distrustful. And we would lose our voice if China, decides to do something similar.”

Riaz Haq said...

A Military Attack on #Pakistan Will Lead to #India's Worst Nightmare. #Kashmir #Modi … via @thewire_in

The key to peace in the region is to tackle the roots of the tension, which is the dispute over Kashmir.

Delhi’s decision, in the aftermath of the Uri attack, to ‘go on the strategic offensive’ against terrorist attacks launched with the support, if not connivance, of the Pakistan government has been noted all over the world. Few commentators had expected any other reaction. But unless it is planned meticulously with a precise definition of its objective and a careful appraisal of the alternatives for achieving it, such a shift is fraught with danger.

Indian TV has been baying for blood, but the goal of the Modi government should not be to ‘punish’ Pakistan for its sins, but to force it to give up using terrorism as a tool of foreign policy altogether. Such an effort is long overdue, but cannot be made by India alone, for the circumstances of Pakistan’s birth ensure that the entire nation will willingly commit suicide rather than bend its knee to India.

India can achieve this goal only in concert with other nations and heads of government. As the almost empty UN General Assembly hall to which Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif gave his address so eloquently showed, the time for a concerted effort to get Pakistan off this track is ripe. So the relentless, ugly, jingoistic drum-beating that is being indulged in by TV channels vying for TRP ratings, and the threats of disproportionate retaliatory strikes being voiced by RSS/BJP functionaries, is not only unnecessary, but is also likely to prove self defeating because it is arousing dormant fears in the rest of the world not only of a nuclear war in South Asia, but of the prolonged nuclear winter that will follow in its wake.

Lest this sound fanciful, we need only remember that a mere 20,000 tonnes of sulphur dioxide spewed into the stratosphere by the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines in 1990 brought down the global average temperature in 1991 by half a degree Celsius and caused a severe drought in sub-Saharan Africa. We have no precise idea what a full-scale nuclear war will release into the atmosphere, but it is also worth remembering that 650,000 years ago, during the coldest ice age of the past million years, the global average surface temperature was only five degrees below what it is today.

Riaz Haq said...

A Full-Blown Guerilla War Is Developing In #Kashmir that #Army Can Not Fight: Ex #India Justice Markandey Katju:

I think the people of India, the government of India, and the Indian army must now be told the truth: a full-blown guerilla war, still in its nascent stage , is fast developing in Kashmir, and we are being misled by our jingoistic media having anchors whom I call Don Quixote, Lord Haw Haw, and Dr. Goebbels.
The truth is most of the Kashmiri youth have been thoroughly alienated, and are intensely hostile to India.

A guerilla war, to be succesful, must have popular support. "The people are the sea, and we are the fish who swim in them." said a famous Red Army leader in the Chinese revolutionary war. Without popular support, a guerilla war cannot be long sustained, as Che Guevara realized too late in Bolivia.
But there is definitely popular support of the militants in Kashmir. We canot hide this truth. It is true that not all Kashmiri youth are trained and armed militants (at present only a very small number are). But the sympathies of most of the Kashmiri youth are with the militants, and they will therefore supply information, sanctuary, food, etc to them. The large crowd of lakhs of people in Burhan Wani's funeral has demonstrated this.
To say that all the militants have come across the border is again not correct. A large section of them, like Burhan Wani, are local people, though they are getting weapons from China and Pakistan.
The Kashmiri guerilla war, though still in its nascent stage, is bound to develop rapidly in the days to come, and I may explain why.

I have many relatives who were in the Indian army, and who were posted in Kashmir or in the North-East where there was militancy. They explained to me the psychology of our soldiers.
Suppose a patrol of 10 or 20 of our soldiers is going in some area in Kashmir, and is fired upon by some militants. If in this firing 2 or 3 of our soldiers are killed, the rest of them tend to go crazy, seeking revenge for their fallen comrades.
They may then enter a neighbouring village, thinking it harboured these militants ( and may indeed have), and shoot at innocent civilians, despite all instructions to the contrary from higher authorities.. Sometimes even their officers cannot control them.
Also, a soldier who has stayed in militancy-affected areas for long periods, as many Indian soldiers have to do, is often no longer psychologically normal, expecting death at any moment. Hence he sometimes tends to do crazy things, like firing at civilians.
The American experience in Vietnam testifies to this.

Riaz Haq said...

World cannot remain indifferent to #Kashmir issue: #NATO Commander. #India #Pakistan …

Chairman Military Committee NATO, General Peter Pavel, Thursday said the scale of counter-terrorism campaign by Pakistan was quite large with impressive results, and mentioned that the country had shown great progress against militancy in last couple of years.

According to a statement issued from the PM House here Thursday, General Peter Pavel in a meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif here at PM House, termed Pakistan an important and traditional partner of NATO.

The Chairman Military Committee NATO said by the virtue of its size, Pakistan could play an important role in the region.

“We expect a broader political framework agreement between Pakistan and NATO to unlock further mutual military cooperation,” General Pavel said.

PM Nawaz Sharif said his government had a stated policy on Afghanistan, which he expressed from the day first on assumption of his office.

“We have conveyed to the leadership of Afghanistan that the enemies of Afghanistan are the enemies of Pakistan and we have stood by our words,” he said.

The Prime Minister said even yesterday Pakistan announced an assistance of $ 500 million in addition to an earlier assistance of $ 500 million for Afghanistan to help them overcome problems and achieve stability.

“We genuinely believe that stability in Afghanistan is crucial for achieving stability in our own country and the region,” added the Prime Minister.

General Peter Pavel said his meetings with all the services Chiefs and others were highly satisfactory.

“I am highly impressed with the state of affairs, professional standards and approach of Pakistan Armed forces. I would like to acknowledge the comprehensive counter terrorism strategy which has achieved a lot and there are many lessons for NATO to learn from it,” Chairman Military Committee NATO said.

The Prime Minister said that India was creating problems and has resorted to double standards on the issue of Indian occupied Kashmir.

The Prime Minster said that India unfairly blamed Pakistan for Uri attack without investigating into the incident.

“India does not realise that the youth of IoK have re-energized the freedom struggle. We want peaceful relations with all of our neighbours. Pakistan would continue to extend moral, diplomatic and political support to the Kashmir cause.

The atrocities by the Indian forces have resulted into the loss of precious human lives and blinded hundreds through the use of brutal force,” the Prime Minister said.

The Pakistani armed forces had rendered matchless sacrifices in the war against terrorism, he said. This war is immensely backed by the entire nation, government and political leadership of our country to guarantee a peaceful homeland for our future generations, he added.

“The ongoing military operation Zarb-i-Azb is the largest military counter terrorism offensive by any single country, which has broken the backbone of terrorists,” the Prime Minister emphasized.

On the issue of eastern border, General Peter Pavel said that the world and the UN have to be consistent on principles and rules.

“I have listened to your yesterday’s speech in the Parliament where you eloquently expressed the issue of Kashmir. The Kashmir issue has to be addressed as two nuclear powers are party to it and the world cannot remain indifferent and must be concerned,” Chairman Military Committee NATO said.

Riaz Haq said...

Listen to BBC Urdu's #India occupied #Kashmir-born Aliya Nazki talk about #Indian Army's brutality against civilians …

Indian-administered Kashmir has been living through some of the worst violence for years. It is a dispute that goes back almost seventy years, and the latest trouble follows the recent killing of Burhan Wani, a 22 year old militant with a huge social media following. Mobile communications have been cut, landlines are unreliable, and contact with the local BBC reporter has been intermittent. But BBC Urdu presenter Aliya Nazki, herself from Kashmir, has been following developments closely.

Aliya talks about massive demonstrations and protest marches and extended curfews.

you get stopped and searched at checkpoints where ordinary Kashmiris are humiliated by soldiers.

Nowhere do they fire live ammunition or pellets against civilians in India.

Riaz Haq said...

#India Occupied #Kashmir Is Paralyzed by an ‘Adored’ Band of Just 200 "Militants" fighting for freedom #FreeKashmir

Relatively few in number, about 200, roughly half of them from local villages, Hizbul Mujahedeen is the larger of two militant organizations and has widespread support from a populace that has lost faith in dialogue to resolve differences with the Indian government.

“They are adored,” said Sridhar Patil, the head of the regional police in Kulgam district, where crowds have burned a courthouse and a police station. “The younger generation of Kashmir is searching for a good leader, a good role model,” he said, and it has settled, for better or worse, on these young men.

Daily life in Kashmir has come close to a standstill since July, when Indian security forces killed the 22-year-old leader of the local militancy, Burhan Muzaffar Wani, who had attracted a broad following through videos he posted on Facebook and WhatsApp. He started the trend of young, charismatic militants, dressed in military fatigues and carrying assault weapons, revealing their names and faces on social media in efforts to spread their message to a wide audience.

The killing of Mr. Wani touched off four months of violence, including bombings, shootouts and attacks by stone-pelting youths, as well as protests by tens of thousands of people.

In a lengthy interview, the young man’s father, Mohammad Muzafar Wani, said he had tried hard to influence the path of his son, a handsome youth who gelled his hair and changed his outfits twice a day, preferring Western-style T-shirts to traditional kurtas.

But in 2010, three weeks after Burhan and his older brother were beaten up by security forces, the brainy boy who got top grades at school dropped the original plan to train as a doctor and instead joined Hizbul Mujahedeen.

“He was not a small child; I couldn’t have confined him to home,” his father said. “I could have stopped him for a day or two, but not all days.”

The Kashmir police have counted 2,400 clashes since July. Schools remain closed, more than 30 of them burned, and public transportation is almost entirely shut down. The state’s education minister was holed up in his home for days after receiving a threat.

Seventy-six people have been killed in the violence, the police in Kashmir say, while local activists put the toll at closer to 100. At least a thousand protesters have been struck in the eyes by pellets fired by police officers, and some have been blinded.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan can’t be faulted for #Kashmir unrest: Ex CM Omar Abdullah. #India #Modi

With tensions simmering between the two rival states, former chief minister for Indian Occupied Kashmir Omar Abdullah on Saturday said that the unrest in Kashmir cannot be blamed on Pakistan but was a result of mistakes made by New Delhi for not engaging with the people.

“Do not be under this false impression that the fire you see in Kashmir has been ignited by Pakistan. It is a result of our mistakes,” Press Trust of India quoted Omar as saying at a National Conference in Baramulla.

Kashmir unrest: OIC calls for immediate halt to Indian atrocities

“To blame Pakistan alone for the political situation or the current unrest in the valley is a distortion of the truth,” he said adding that the people of the Indian Occupied Kashmir had sentiments against the Indian government even when there was no external interference,.

These sentiments, he stated, were a result of the ‘historic blunders and broken promises by successive dispensations’ in New Delhi.

“This political sentiment forms the basis of the state’s special status that has since been eroded by extra-constitutional machinations,” Omar said.

The former chief minister stressed that the current situation was because of the incumbent Indian government’s refusal to even acknowledge that a problem existed in Kashmir.

The statement comes at a time when Pakistan’s Advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz is in Amritsar for the Heart of Asia Conference.

Iran willing to mediate on Kashmir

Two days before the conference was due to start, Indian external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup categorically ruled out any possibility of talks between Indian officials and Sartaj on the sidelines of the conference.

Earlier, Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit on Wednesday had stated that Islamabad was ready for a bilateral dialogue with Delhi at the Heart of Asia summit.

Riaz Haq said...

People in #Kashmir have lost their fear of #India as they demand separation: report

SENIOR BJP leader and former Indian foreign minister Yashwant Sinha is among those who prepared the report.
AS India turns its focus to a clutch of make-or-break state polls starting next month and while the world lives in suspense over the arriving Trump presidency in the United States, the trauma of the people in Jammu and Kashmir festers on.

A report from October and December visits to Jammu and Kashmir made available to Dawn on Saturday involves important individuals from different institutions and political parties, including the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. The group was facilitated by Rajmohan Gandhi’s Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation and has specifically hinted at what lies ahead if New Delhi doesn’t curb its callousness in Kashmir Valley. Young Kashmiris have lost their fear of Indian forces, and they are ever more eager to die resisting routine high-handedness than submit to a life of discrimination and humiliation, it points out.

The report supports resumption of dialogue between New Delhi and Kashmiris, including the All Parties Hurriyat Conference. It suggests without stating it directly that talks between India and Pakistan, though part of a political solution, are predicated on “several other issues”. This appears to point to terrorism that India cites for stalling talks with Pakistan.

In its own way, as far as humanitarian gestures go, the report by the five-member group spells out a few stark facts even if it falls short of offering a clear path to a political solution, possibly as it would imply criticism of the Modi government’s current stance towards Pakistan.

In its description of the mood in the Valley, there is palpable transparency and some of the report’s observations about the humiliating lives the Kashmiris lead are invaluable as an eyewitness account.

The report was prepared by former foreign minister Yashwant Sinha, former chairman of the National Minorities Commission, an old Kashmir hand Wajahat Habibullah, retired Air Vice Marshal Kapil Kak who happens to be a Kashmiri Pandit, Bharat Bhushan (journalist) and Sushobha Barve, executive programme director of the Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation.

Its basic findings are that Kashmiris believe that there is a “crisis of acknowledgement” of the Kashmir problem with the Indian state. They feel that India refuses to recognise that Kashmir is a political problem and, therefore, requires a political solution.

Almost every Kashmiri the group met said that there was a need for a one-time political settlement and that unless the basic political issue was resolved, death and destruction would continue to visit the Valley with increasing frequency.

“Kashmiris claim that they have lost faith in India because India has failed them,” the report says. “Now the trust deficit is widening. Some Kashmiris believe that the Indian state looks at Kashmir only within the framework of national security.”

People interviewed all harked back to the Vajpayee proposal of resolving the Kashmir issue “within the ambit of humanity” as something that had offered a ray of hope. However, they do not believe that the present dispensation in New Delhi is interested in that approach.

Listing “the most important findings” from visiting the militancy-affected rural areas of Kashmir, the report speaks of anger against India.

“The anger in the rural areas is palpably greater than in Srinagar and raw. A persistent sense of discrimination against the Kashmiris pervades the minds of vocal sections of the population.”

Riaz Haq said...

#Indian soldier kills four senior officers over 'leave row'

A paramilitary soldier from one of India's elite security units shot dead four of his senior officers on Thursday in an apparent row over leave, police said.

The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) soldier fired indiscriminately at the officers at the barracks in Aurangabad district in eastern India's Bihar state before trying to flee.

"Three died on the spot while one injured officer succumbed to his injuries at a hospital," Satya Prakash, Aurangabad police chief, told AFP.

"He shot 32 rounds before he was overpowered by his colleagues and is suspected to be suffering from some mental illness."

Prakash said the dispute appeared to be over leave.

All the victims were unarmed and were off-duty when the incident took place at a thermal power plant where they were stationed.

The CISF guards the country's most vital civil and government installations including airports, atomic plants and government buildings.

India's security forces have historically had a high incidence of suicides and killings linked to long hours, poor working conditions and inadequate time off.

In 2014, a soldier killed five colleagues before shooting himself in Indian-administered Kashmir after a superior denied him leave.

Riaz Haq said...

#Indian Soldier Yadav on Insufficient Amount & Poor Quality Food. #India #Modi #Kashmir via @YouTube

Tej Bahadur Yadav serving with India's 29th battalion of Seema Suraksha Bal (BSF) in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir says,: “From morning to evening we work, standing in all weather conditions. No matter the rain, no matter the snow, in all conditions we do our duty, but neither the media nor any minister pay heed to our problems. This dal just has turmeric and salt, but no taste. There are times when we are forced to sleep off empty stomach. We get one paratha for breakfast in the morning and we have to eat it just with tea. We have been getting this same food for 10 days continuously. Can a BSF jawan do 10 hours of duty after eating such food?"

Riaz Haq said...

#Maoists support call for #Kashmir’s independence, condemn 'state #terrorism' #by India … via @IndiaTVNews

e CPI (Maoist), officially designated as a terrorist organisation, has once again challenged India’s unity and integrity by supporting the demand for Kashmir’s secession from the country.

According to a report in ‘The Week’, the CPI (Maoist), in its central committee meeting held at Dandakaryna in December last year, adopted a resolution to support the call for independence given by the Kashmiri separatists and Pakistan-based terror groups.

CPI (Maoist), founded on September 21, 2004, after the merger of the Communist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist), People’s War (People's War Group), and the Maoist Communist Centre of India (MCCI), is designated as a terrorist organisation in India under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

“Let us declare to the people of Kashmir, ‘you are not alone’. Oppose the Indian occupation in Kashmir and also oppose the state terrorism by the Indian armed forces. We support the struggle of the Kashmiri nation for Azadi!” the statement issued by the party said.

The report further says that the CPI(Maoists) statement also asked India to stop war mongering and aggression against Pakistan.

“We demand to stop the war mongering, chauvinism and aggression against Pakistan by Indian forces and by Hindutva fascists to further their expansionism. We also demand to stop threatening and intimidating Pakistani artists and their citizens living in India,” the statement added.

The CPI(Maoists) also condemned the Narendra Modi government for carrying out ‘surgical strikes’ inside Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

“Babu Hatao, Fauji Bachao”: Trifling With The Fauj And National Security
in India — by S G Vombatkere — December 31, 2016

The reason for disquiet is that government appears not to understand that Lt Gen Rawat is not superior in merit to his two seniors whom he has superceded, and if his experience in counter-insurgency is the criterion for his selection, it glosses over the fact that the army is deployed in counter-insurgency only because of the decades-long failure of the bureaucracy-police in its primary role of internal security. If however deep selection was a political decision, this could seriously compromise the army (the military, in general) remaining as India’s last bastion of secular practice, and encourage sycophancy among officers to the permanent detriment of military professionalism.

Riaz Haq said...

#India occupied #Kashmir civilians aiding militants fighting #Indian soldiers, say Indian Army Chief

India Army losing more soldiers than earlier years as peoples' resistance grows stronger after Burhan Wani's murder.

In the last three days, as many as six soldiers have been killed in three separate encounters in Handwara, Bandipore and Kulgam in Jammu and Kashmir. Worryingly, there were reports of these terrorists getting cover from civilians, who attacked armymen while these encounters were underway. Prime Minister and the Army Chief led tributes to the soldiers today but the Army Chief also talked tough saying it was local support to terrorists that was leading to these higher casualties. He also had a warning that local boys will be treated as "overground workers of terrorists" if they obstruct operations. On The Buck Stops Here, we debate: civilians 'helping' militants - is this the new challenge for the Army and the government?

Riaz Haq said...

Farooq Abdullah: Wake up #India, talk to #Pakistan or lose #Kashmir … via @indiatoday

National Conference chief and former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Dr Farooq Abdullah today said the violence and loss of lives during the Srinagar bypoll "are a tragedy and a failure of the government of the day."

National Conference chief and former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Dr Farooq Abdullah, who is contesting the state by-elections from Srinagar, said that the violence and loss of lives during the bypolls in the state "are a tragedy and a failure of the government of the day. They could not provide security to the people, and further, it is the present dispensation which the people reject."
"Why am I playing with fire? Is that not true? Are the stonepelters fighting for MP-ship or MLA-ship or some ministerial post? Wake up, before it is too late," said Abdullah, demanding that the youth deserved to be heard.
Here are some excerpts from the explosive interview.

Rajdeep Sardesai: You said - Kashmiri youth are picking up guns for the freedom of Kashmir, and not for becoming legislators. As a senior statesman, shouldn't you be bridging the gap, but almost endorsing azadi and Kashmir is lost to India?
Farooq Abdullah: Sometime ago, a Parliamentary delegation came to Kashmir under the leadership of the home minister. The delegation was told that we will talk to the youth, and all the stakeholders. Have they done so, in a single step, in the last two years? Why do you blame me?"

Q: Because you want votes, you are stirring the pot..?
A: Wake up, wake up. The situation is quite bad, and don't tell me Pakistan is not a party to this problem. Whether you like it or not, you have to talk to Pakistan. If you want to beat the threat of the terrorists, then you better start talking now.
Q: With what end result? All the talking, and yet terrorists are sent across border, and violence continues?
A: Let us start mending our fences, and start controlling present problem. Let's not burn, let's talk to the youth, Hurriyat, other leaders and come to a solution.
Q: How are talks are going to be different this time?
A: You have 8 people dead, and God knows how many injured. How long will you keep on doing this? You think it's all law and order? Or, you think by development you can change the mind of people?"
Q: Your critics will say that this is theatrics. When you are in power you speak differently, and now you seem to be catering to separatist sentiment?
A: You are losing Kashmir. You better wake up, and start thinking on not a military solution, but a political way. And come down from your high horses...I am seeing a very bad situation. The youth is on boil. Which I have not seen before.
The situation remains tense in the Kashmir valley a day after violence and a historic low voter turnout, at 7 per cent, marred bypolls in Srinagar.
The Election Commission has postponed the bypolls in Anantnag Parliamentary constituency to May 25, 2016.
The decision came after Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti's brother Tasaduq Hussain Mufti, who is contesting a Parliamentary bypoll in Anantnag, appealed to the Election Commission to postpone his election.
On Sunday, 8 civilians were killed and school set on fire in Shopian, in incidences of poll violence in Kashmir.

Riaz Haq said...

Cruelty and Cowardice of #India's military in Occupied #Kashmir -

APRIL 21, 2017
Members of India’s armed forces reached a new low in the long history of alleged human rights abuses in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir when they beat and then tied a 24-year-old shawl weaver named Farooq Ahmad Dar to the front of a jeep on April 9, using him as a human shield against stone-throwing crowds. As the jeep drove through villages, Mr. Dar said, “I saw people breaking into tears on seeing my state.”

The incident, which came to light when a video spread on social media, provides a gauge of an insurgency that has waxed and waned over nearly three decades in Kashmir, an area also claimed by Pakistan, which supports the rebels. Unrest surged last July after Burhan Muzaffar Wani, a charismatic, 22-year-old separatist militant, was killed by Indian security forces. The police responded by firing on protesters with pellet guns, killing scores and injuring thousands, many of whom were blinded by pellets lodged in their eyes.

The abuse of Mr. Dar occurred the day Kashmiris voted to fill a seat in the local Srinagar assembly. Following a call by separatists to boycott the election, only 7 percent of local Kashmiri voters turned out to vote, a low not seen in 27 years. Eight people were killed amid reports of widespread violence. A new vote was held on April 13, but only 2 percent of voters showed up. Mr. Dar, who says he never supported the separatists, complained: “I voted, and this is what I got in return. Do you think it will help India in Kashmir? No. It will give Kashmiris another reason to hate India.”

India’s army chief, Gen. Bipin Rawat, has vowed action against those responsible for tying Mr. Dar to the jeep. But he has also thundered against Kashmir’s stone-throwing youth and separatist militants, saying in February: “They may survive today, but we will get them tomorrow. Our relentless operations will continue.”

Such posturing will only doom Kashmir to a deadly spiral, where more brutal military tactics will feed more despair and more militancy. In January, a team of concerned citizens presented a report to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government. Citing strong feelings of discrimination and a “complete lack of faith” by Kashmiris in government promises, it pleaded for improved human rights and a multiparty dialogue aimed at a durable political solution.

Mr. Modi’s government would do well to follow the recommendations of the report, before Indian democracy loses its credibility and Kashmiris are robbed of a chance to dream, along with the rest of India, of a peaceful, prosperous future.

Riaz Haq said...

As India's most restive region stares down the abyss of what a commentator calls another "hot summer of violence", the doom-laden headline has returned with a vengeance: Is India losing Kashmir?

Last summer was one of the bloodiest in the Muslim-dominated valley in recent years. Following the killing of influential militant Burhan Wani by Indian forces last July, more than 100 civilians lost their lives in clashes during a four-month-long security lockdown in the valley.

It's not looking very promising this summer.

This month's parliamentary election in Srinagar was scarred by violence and a record-low turnout of voters. To add fuel to the fire, graphic social videos surfaced claiming to show abuses by security forces and young people who oppose Indian rule. A full-blown protest by students has now erupted on the streets; and, in a rare sight, even schoolgirls are throwing stones and hitting police vehicles.

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who leads an awkward ruling coalition with the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), rushed to Delhi on Monday to urge the federal government to "announce a dialogue and show reconciliatory gestures".

Omarr Khan said...

The fact of the matter is that at the time of partition the criteria used to devide the rest of the country was not applied in the region of Kashmir, at that time as well as the present time the overwhelming percentage of the Kashmiris happen to be Muslims, a crime of aggression was committed against the Kashmiris by awarding their land to be part of India rather then Pakistan, Nehru actually admitted to that fact by offering to hold a plebiscite in the occupied Kashmir and yet the present day hindutva leaders in the Indian government lie and tell the world Kashmir is an integral part of India.
I feel this conflict will only get resolved when Pakistan and the Kashmiris internationalise it and bring in global powers to help resolve this issue to its fair and just conclusion, China as well as Turkey, the United Nations and the new government in America are all keen to help, Pakistan has welcomed their offers of help, India unfortunately has not.

Riaz Haq said...

#Indian barbarity from Gill to Kalluri #Sikhs #Muslims #Adivasi #Kashmir #Gujarat #Chhattisgarh … via @georgiastraight

by Gurpreet Singh

Thousands of innocent Muslims were slaughtered by mobs led by BJP activists. This came after a train carrying Hindu pilgrims caught fire and burned, leaving more than 50 passengers dead. The Modi government promptly blamed the incident on Muslim fundamentalists and dubbed it a terrorist attack.

The BJP not only accused Pakistan of aiding and abetting the crime, but also charged suspects with terrorism-related crimes. However, those involved in well-organized violence against Muslims were spared being charged under antiterror law.

When I asked Gill why those who killed Muslims were never charged for terrorism, he said that the antiterror law didn’t apply to them.

Gill was glorified and became a celebrity for ending Sikh extremism and his admirers continue seeing him as a man who resolutely fought against terrorism. But they won’t ever dare to question why he did not take on terrorism perpetuated by Hindu groups using similar techniques that were frequently applied to deal with Sikh separatists.


Ever since Narendra Modi became prime minister in 2014, there has been a huge increase in cases of violence and terror by Hindu fanatics. Neither Gill nor his supporters who were so perturbed by terrorism in Punjab raised a question over the Hindu militancy back then, nor they have raised it ever since the menace has spread across India under Modi. So much so, this government is also trying to give back-door amnesty to Hindu extremists charged and arrested for bombings.

The extra-judicial measures widely used against Sikh militants to deliver quick justice were not even considered to deal with them.

While the mainstream media is too busy paying tributes to Gill, a senior police officer in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh, Inspector General S.R.P Kalluri, is being patronized on similar lines. He is posted in a state that is under the influence of Maoist insurgents.

Chhattisgarh is one of several states with a sizable number of indigenous communities. Their traditional lands sit over natural resources and that’s why they continue to face eviction by the extraction industry with the backing of the Indian establishment. Due to the structural violence against them, many are forced to join Maoist movement.

Much like the Sikhs, who merely form two percent of the Indian population, the tribals, with only eight percent of the population, can easily be bothered by the government and security agencies to assure the Hindu majority of peace and prosperity.

In the meantime, Muslims continue to face persecution every day. Islamophobia in the western society has made it easier for Modi and Indian forces to target them. Apart from nonstate actors who often threaten and assault Muslims for eating beef, which is considered blasphemous by orthodox Hindus, the police are in the habit of seeing them as potential terrorists. Particularly in Muslim-dominated Kashmir where a fight for self-determination has been going on for years and whee the army and its vigilantes openly attack people in the name of national unity and integrity.

The connection between KPS and Kalluri suggests that India has become a majoritarian democracy where the interest of the Hindus is safeguarded all the time to ensure electoral victory. Though officially India is a secular democracy, it has repeatedly shown signs of being a Hindu state inclined toward keeping minorities under its boots. This is so that 80 percent of the population that believes in Hinduism (read Hindu nationalism) can be swayed by the ruling classes in the name of nationalism.

A true democracy is inclusive and considerate of all, including those on the margins, and not just the majority.

Riaz Haq said...

#Modi's #India Is Sponsoring and Weaponizing its #Hindu Spiritual Tourists in #Kashmir

very July, thousands of buses, trucks, cars, mules, and palanquin bearers crawl up 12, 768 treacherous feet of mountainous terrain to reach the Amarnath cave, where a smooth ice stalagmite dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva reaches up from the cave floor. The devotees heading for this linga (a Hindu term for venerated, somewhat phallic objects) are making one of the most dangerous pilgrimages in India — not just because of the height and harsh weather, but because the cave is slap-bang in the middle of the divided, and violent, border state of Jammu and Kashmir.

But the Indian state has been encouraging, protecting, and controlling the flow of funds to these dangerous journeys. Kashmir has its fair share of traditional yatra (pilgrimage) sites. But India’s current Hindu nationalist government is now backing efforts to turn it into an Indian Jerusalem, mixing religious and national sentiment to turn the disputed territory into sacred ground that can never be surrendered.

A busload of pilgrims on July 10 were the latest victims. Like most devotees, they traveled as part of an army-shielded convoy. The 200,000 yatris (pilgrims) who head to the cave every year are protected by 700,000 soldiers stationed in the province — 40,000 of them mobilized to protect this route alone. But a flat tire left them isolated and vulnerable. Four militants, allegedly from the Pakistan-based jihadi group Lashkar-e-Taiba, shot up the bus, killing seven people.

The attack on the Hindu pilgrims created a huge uproar in India, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeting that he was “pained beyond words [by] the dastardly attack on peaceful Amarnath Yatris.” But the killings should have been no surprise. Indian intelligence organizations have gone on record saying they had information of an impending attack, and threats against pilgrims are made every year. This was the first successful attack since 2000, however, when 89 pilgrims were killed.

A dangerous pattern is emerging. New Delhi provides state patronage to religious pilgrimages in Kashmir, indirectly encouraging the Hindu claim over Kashmiri land. The organization of these pilgrimages sidelines the elected government of Jammu and Kashmir and emphasizes the jurisdiction of the national government over the state.And the pilgrimages in Kashmir are increasingly linked to rigid ideas of Indian nationalism. And the pilgrimages in Kashmir are increasingly linked to rigid ideas of Indian nationalism.

The roots of this lie in Kashmir’s torn status. In colonial times, it was a princely state, with a Muslim-majority population. When the subcontinent was divided between India and Pakistan in 1947, Kashmir (now the state of Jammu and Kashmir) was ceded to India — but under certain conditions and with much of the populace clamoring to join Pakistan.

The U.N. recognizes Kashmir as disputed territory between India and Pakistan, and many Kashmiris seek independence or union with Pakistan. But Hindu nationalists, increasingly vocal and powerful throughout India, insist that it’s an integral part of the country — and the fundamentalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) now controls both the national and the Jammu and Kashmir state government.

School textbooks already drill the notion of Kashmir as India’s northernmost territory into children’s heads, a viewpoint reinforced by angry TV pundits. The money being poured into pilgrimages reinforces this, mixing the national and the sacred to powerful effect. “Once you create sacred places in the valley, these lands cannot be easily alienated from mainland India,” said Peer GN Suhail, the director of the Centre for Research and Development Policy (CRDP) in Srinagar.

Riaz Haq said...

#American Sanctions on #Kashmiri militants #Hizbul Mujahideen unjustified: #Pakistan. #India #Kashmir #Terrorism

Pakistan's Foreign Ministry on Thursday said Islamabad was disappointed over what it termed the unjustified imposition of sanctions by the United States on Kashmiri militant group Hizbul Mujahideen.

The U.S. took the action on Wednesday against the largest of the anti-Indian Kashmiri militant organizations fighting in the Himalayan territory, which is divided between Pakistan and India.

The U.S. Treasury Department said it was freezing the assets of the Pakistan-based group, and prohibiting Americans from having dealings with it.

The State Department said the group had claimed responsibility for several attacks, including one in 2014 in Jammu and Kashmir that left 17 people injured.

The move against Hizbul Mujahideen comes after last month's U.S. designation of militant commander Syed Salahuddin as a terrorist - a label he has denounced.

"We are disappointed," Pakistan's Foreign Ministry spokesman Nafees Zakaria said at a media briefing in Islamabad.

"The designation of individuals or groups supporting the Kashmiri right to self-determination as terrorists was completely unjustified," he said.

Zakaria said it was India which should be held to account for what he said was its brutal use of force and human rights violations in Kashmir.

The countries have fought three wars, two of them over the Muslim-majority Kashmir region, since they gained independence in 1947 from British colonial rule.

Delhi accuses Islamabad of fuelling an insurgency, a charge Pakistan denies, saying it only extends diplomatic and moral support to the Kashmiri's independence movement.

In his Independence Day speech on Tuesday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was conciliatory towards Muslims in Kashmir, where violent protests against Indian rule have erupted over the past year. He said neither abuses nor bullets would be enough to pacify the region and that the Kashmiris needed to be embraced instead.

Riaz Haq said...

Kashmir talks: reality & myth
Riaz Mohammad KhanSeptember 11, 2017

KASHMIR is so deeply emotive that perceptions often mix reality with myth. This is true of discussions over the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions, the Tashkent Declaration, the Simla Accords, the Lahore Summit Declaration and, most of all, of bilateral efforts to address the dispute.

On YouTube, I saw Prof Christine Fair snap at a Pakistani questioner who referred to the UNSC resolutions on Kashmir. She averred that Pakistan violated the UNSC Resolution 47 (1948) calling for a plebiscite by refusing to withdraw “tribesmen” from the territory of the state. This is a half-truth. Pakistan had expressed reservations to the resolution which led to the formation of the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan and finally to Resolution 98 (1952) allowing Pakistan to deploy up to 6,000 troops and India up to 18,000. Pakistan accepted the resolution, but India rejected it invoking change of circumstances because of reports of an incipient Pakistan-US defence treaty.

Half-truths and political spin thus cloud agreements and talks on Kashmir. Politics was played around Tashkent and Simla. A text on Kashmir, similar to that of the Simla Accords, adopted at Lahore was projected as a pathway to a settlement. The 2005-06 backchannel negotiations drew criticism that Pakistan had abandoned its principled position. The fact is that Pakistan’s position, based on the UNSC resolutions and the Simla Accords, will remain intact until Pakistan accepts a new international legality affecting Kashmir. Neither the backchannel nor the earlier inconclusive talks changed this position. This aside, the plebiscite as conceived in the 1948 UNSC resolution is as academic today as is India’s claim based on the controversial accession document.

The first variant on the 1948 resolution came in the 1950 Owen Dixon plan for region-wise plebiscites, which was recognition of the demographic and communal realities in Kashmir. Later, Ayub Khan tried to persuade Nehru to accept a territorial adjustment; he had the Valley in mind. The Bhutto-Swaran Singh talks were not about the plebiscite. The Valley is the heart of the dispute. It represents 55 per cent of the India-held Kashmir population, where the Kashmiri people have refused to acquiesce to and have constantly agitated for freeing themselves of Indian occupation. This is the only pressure that India faces pushing it to look for a settlement. The latest youth uprising across the Valley lends fresh urgency to our moral response in support of Kashmiri rights and self-determination.

Moral principles alone provide justification for Pakistan’s position on Kashmir. Discussions sometimes meander into security considerations or the need to protect water sources, that Kashmir has tied down over half million Indian troops; and that Pakistan must remove an existential threat by securing control of rivers which pass through Kashmir. These are false arguments. Kashmiri sacrifices and suffering must not be viewed through the prism of our security; it will knock out the moral basis of our position, suggesting that we are not interested in a just political settlement. The argument negates the fact that nuclear deterrence is an equaliser which will not be altered even if India doubles its military strength. As for rivers, maps show that the upper reaches of the Indus and the Chenab lie in Ladakh and Jammu respectively, the two non-Muslim majority regions which are unlikely to accede to Pakistan under any scenario.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a link to UNSC Resolution 80 (1952) regarding demilitarization of Kashmir:

Calls upon the Governments of India and Pakistan to make immediate arrangements, without
prejudice to their rights or claims and with due regard to the requirements of law and order, to
prepare and execute within a period of five months from the date of this resolution a programme of
demilitarisation on the basis of the principles of paragraph 2 of General McNaughton proposal or of
such modifications of those principles as may be mutually agreed

It refers to paragraph 2 of General McNaughton's proposal which says as follows:


2. There should be an agreed programme of progressive demilitarisation, the basic principle of which
should be the reduction of armed forces on either side of the Cease-Fire Line by withdrawal,
disbandment and disarmament in such stages as not to cause fear at any point of time to the people
on either side of the Cease-Fire Line. The aim should be to reduce the armed personnel in the State
of Jammu and Kashmir on both side of the Cease-Fire Line to the minimum compatible with the
maintenance of security and of local law and order, and to a level sufficiently low and with the forces
so disposed that they will not constitute a restriction on the free expression of opinion for the
purposes of the plebiscite.

The program me of demilitarisation should include the withdrawal from the State of Jammu and
Kashmir of the regular forces of Pakistan; and the withdrawal of the regular forces of India not
required for purposes of security or for the maintenance of local law and order on the Indian side of
the Cease-Fire Line; also the reduction, by disbanding and disarming, of local forces, including on
the one side the Armed Forces and Militia of the State of Kashmir and on the other, the Azad

The "Northern Area" (including Gilgit-Baltistan region through which CPEC asses) should also be included in the above programme of demilitarisation, and its administration should, subject to United Nations supervision, be continued by the existing local
authorities (Pakistani authorities).

Riaz Haq said...

From "The United Nations Security Council and War" by Vaughn Lowe:

"(After passing UNSC Resolution 80 of March 14, 1950, calling for progressive demilitarization based on reduction of forces on either side of the CFL) UN Representative Frank P. Graham proposed a twelve point demilitarization plan on 4 September 1952. However, there was disagreement over the specific number of forces to remain on each side of CFL (Ceasefire Line) at the end of the period of demilitarization--between 3,000 and 6,000 on the Pakistan side and 12,000-18,000 on the Indian side. The subsequent proposals on demilitarization by Swedish diplomat Gunnar Jarring also came to naught. At the same time, India began to harden its position on the UN-supervised plebiscite which it had committed to following the withdrawal of Pakistani forces from the Pakistani side of the CFL "

Riaz Haq said...

Most citizens support military rule in the world's largest democracy
A majority of Indians support military rule, according to a new Pew Research Center survey
Citizens want a stronger hand on the country's long-standing problems of corruption and economic inequality, experts explained

India, the world's largest democracy, is showing an appetite for military rule — a potential indicator that the country's nationalist politics are evolving.

A majority of Indians, 53 percent, support military rule, according to a Pew Research Center survey released last week. India is one of only four countries that has a majority in favor of a military government, the American think tank said. Vietnam, Indonesia, and South Africa are the other three.

At least 55 percent of Indians also back a governing system "in which a strong leader can make decisions without interference from parliament or the courts," the survey added, noting that support for autocratic rule is higher in India than in any other nation surveyed.

Since its first election in 1952 following the end of British colonial rule, the South Asian nation has become a multiparty government with a parliamentary system and a commitment to free elections. But like many democracies around the world, its citizens are increasingly leaning toward a leader with authoritarian tendencies.

From President Donald Trump to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, the revival of the strongman leader has been a defining trend of global politics in recent years. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who remains immensely popular at home, is no different with his hard-line stance on corruption and security.

Supporters of Modi's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and urban dwellers "are significantly more likely" to support military rule than backers of the opposition Congress party and rural residents, the Pew Research Center survey showed.

Given India's high levels of corruption, there's a perception that recent tough measures such as demonetization have made sense, so the public now wants a stronger hand on hot-button issues such as economic inequality as well as law and order, explained Tony Nash, founder and CEO of data analytics firm Complete Intelligence.

Riaz Haq said...

Meghnad Desai: A country of many nations, will #India break up? #Hindu #Hindi #Beef #Dalit #Muslim #Naga #Tamil Quartz

Excerpts of Baron Meghnad Deai's book "The Raisina Model"

India has avoided equal treatment of unequal units. Representation in the Rajya Sabha is proportional to population size. If anything, it is the smaller states that may complain about being marginalised, though so far none has. The larger states thus dominate both Houses of Parliament. It would be difficult for small states to object, much less initiate reform. In future, small states could unite to present their case for better treatment. Except for Punjab and Nagaland, there has been no attempt to challenge the status quo.

The issue, however, is that India has still not fashioned a narrative about its nationhood which can satisfy all. The two rival narratives—secular and Hindu nation—are both centred in the Hindi belt extending to Gujarat and Maharashtra at the most. This area comprises 51% of the total population and around 45% of the Muslims in India. It is obviously a large part of India and is contiguous. Of course, ideas of secularism and Hindu nationhood capture the imagination in other parts of India too, but even so, there is a lot of India outside this.

In the agitation to establish Hindi as the sole national language in 1965, India came close to a rupture between the north and the south. It was the Chinese debacle which united the country. But the idea of the south seceding was openly discussed. The north-east is a region which has long felt alienated from what it calls the “mainland.” It has never been woven into the national narrative, just as the south has been ignored. Privileging the Hindu-Muslim divide has left the numerous other minorities and linguistic nations outside the idea of the Indian nation. The current agitation about beef eating and gau raksha is in the Hindi belt just an excuse for attacking Muslims blatantly. As most slaughterhouses in UP are Muslim-owned, owners and employees of these places are prime targets.

But that apart, the idea that beef eating is anathema to Hindus across India is just wrong. Hindus, with the exception of Brahmins, have been known to eat meat, even beef. South Indian Hindus, for example, eat beef. The lower castes and Dalits openly do. Then we come to the tribal people. They have no reason to be deprived of their food sources because some upper caste Hindus in Awadh feel strongly about beef eating.

Across India, Hindus and non-Hindus eat beef. No one has the right to impose a uniform eating culture on others. Just because the BJP has won a large vote in UP, it does not license vigilante attacks on beef eaters. There will be other elections and Indian voters are known for expressing their displeasure through the ballot. The democratic process has bound the different regions and nations together because everyone has a hand in the election of governments.

The idea that India has just two “nations,” Hindu and Muslim, is far too simple.

There are many nations. Across the Dandakaranya are tribes whose names are unknown even to most Indians.

The recent incident at a Delhi club where a woman wearing a north-eastern dress was denied entry as someone in the management decided she was “improperly dressed” tells all. This relative isolation of the peripheral, low-density areas of India is a worry. It has not taken an agitational form as yet. But the integration of the tribal people in India as bona fide citizens has yet to be achieved. The categories of Hindu or Muslim may not apply to them. They may have their own religion, some form of animism or worship of the land. They could be Christians. There are, after all, a number of Christian sects in India as Christianity has been practised in India since the first century ce, before Islam was even preached. The many tribal languages have yet to gain recognition.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan having a free ride in #Kashmir since 2016 due to New #Delhi's follies: Ex #RAW Chief A S Dulat. #India … via @economictimes

The former spymaster stated that whatever is happening in Valley after 2016, is an aberration and gun was neither the solution in 1990 nor it is the solution in 2018.

“The story of Pakistan is over in Kashmir. What has happened post 2016 is again an invitation to Pakistan, because of which they are having free extra ride here.

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Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan Scores a Rare Diplomatic Victory on #Kashmir. The #oicinmog2018 condemning ‘#Indian #terrorism ’ in Kashmir is a diplomatic triumph for Pakistan. #Modi #Muslims #Islamophobia #Hindutva @Diplomat_APAC

On Monday, the General Secretariat of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) issued a condemnation for the “wicked terrorist act by Indian forces in Indian-occupied Kashmir” after seven civilians were killed in Pulwama district on Saturday.

The OIC condemnation came after Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi wrote to the secretary general, with the United Nations secretary general and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights also being approached.

While the OIC has called out Indian state brutalities in the past, the severity of the language in its latest statement is unprecedented, with the group categorically dubbing the Indian armed forces’ action “terrorism.”

Over the years, the OIC has largely expressed “deep concern” and “disappointment” and requested “restraint” in Indian-administered Kashmir. Even when violence escalated in summar 2016 following militant commander Burhan Wani’s killing in Kashmir, the then-OIC Secretary General Iyad Ameen Madani could only “express sorrow.”

Therefore, the language of the OIC’s condemnation this week is a clear diplomatic triumph for Pakistan, which has seen its narrative on Kashmir being increasingly ignored around the world, including Muslim states.

This was perfectly epitomized at the U.S. President Donald Trump-led Arab Islamic American summit in Riyadh last year. Trump, speaking amid representatives of the Muslim world, not only snubbed Pakistan, but actually called out Kashmiri separatist militancy as “terrorism.”

Probably the greatest demonstration of Muslim states’ indifference toward Kashmir is Saudi Arabia signing defense and counterterror pacts with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, under whose watch there has been an increase in anti-Muslim violence across India.

Pakistan’s diplomatic isolation, and the decreasing number of takers of its position in Kashmir, means that Islamabad has been increasingly hyphenating Kashmir and Palestine in a bid to gather more support around the world. Yet the Palestinian leadership has failed to back Pakistan’s Kashmir stance, and Israel maintains “there is no difference between Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hamas.” Islamabad has largely been devoid of diplomatic backing.

Hence, at a time while Islamist militancy is being universally shunned as terrorism, for the OIC to describe Indian state action as such provides legitimacy to Islamabad’s Islamist narrative – even if the backing has come from a group that represents Muslim states.

Pakistan will be looking to cash in on the diplomatic brownie points that it has won against India. Even so, Pakistan’s leaders are clearly not giving any thought to how Islamabad’s Islamist narrative on Kashmir has been detrimental for Pakistan itself.

The mullah-military stranglehold over the country has brewed jihadism in Pakistan for decades, with the military establishment’s desire to channelize militant Islamist groups toward India and Afghanistan having resulted in a boomeranging of terror on the state itself.

While tens of thousands of lost their lives owing to the jihadist maneuvers of the groups that got out of the Pakistan Army’s control, it has been mainstreaming the outfits so as to keep a check on the civilian leadership.

Hence, upholding the Islamist narrative continues to fuel jihadism in Kashmir, while sustaining the multipurpose “strategic assets,” whose militants are deployed for cross-border assignments while their political wings clip civilian authority.


Riaz Haq said...

Use of force is #NewDelhi’s state policy, says former Indian foreign minister @YashwantSinha . we have made mistakes after mistakes as far as our policy on #Indian Occupied #Kashmir is concerned”. #Modi #BJP

Former Indian Foreign Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Yashwant Sinha has said that Government of India has been suppressing the freedom struggle of the people of Indian Occupied Kashmir by the use of brute force.

According to Kashmir Media Service, Yashwant Sinha in an interview with a Delhi-based news portal said that he got this impression after visiting Indian Occupied Kashmir twice during which he had discussions with a senior government official on the situation of the territory.

“I was told there is a doctrine state – Machiavelli, Chankaya, Metternich. Everybody has a doctrine of state. So we have a doctrine of state also, and that doctrine is use force to quell any rebellion,” he said without naming the official he met. “So they are using force,” he added.
Sinha added, “All the visits I made, I have travelled around. I was not confined to one place. I told you how the Nepalese hate India. But the hatred in the minds of the people of the valley is far stronger than that in Nepal.”

The former minister also said that the Government of India had “ruined its relationship with the people of Indian Occupied Kashmir, especially the valley”.
“After the official told me that use of force is a state policy I stood up and told him Nameste,” Sinha said.

In solidarity: ‘India cannot suppress Kashmiris through force’

He decried that “we have made mistakes after mistakes as far as our policy on Indian Occupied Kashmir is concerned”.

He said the current Indian government only believes in using force “to solve problems, not consensus, nor democracy, nor Insaniyat but sheer use of brutal force to kill as many as you can”.

“What happened in Pulwama recently?” he asked, adding, “Do you think that it adds to the glory of the Indian state in the minds of the people of Kashmir.”

“We are losing Indian Occupied Kashmir”, he said.

“We have lost . .….We hold on to Indian Occupied Kashmir only by the fact that we have our armed forces there,” he added .

Riaz Haq said...

Stats on destruction of lives and property in #India Occupied #Kashmir

Killings: 94,479
Custodial killings: 7,048
Disappearances: 10,125
Gang rapes: 10,283
Civilans blinded: 188
Kids orphaned: 20,085
Women widowed: 20,005
Buildings destroyed: 106,071

Riaz Haq said...

Making of militants in #India Occupied #Kashmir. Growing number of locally-born #Kashmiris are picking up arms. 400 locals have been recruited by militants since 2016, double the number in the previous 6 years, according to #Indian officials #Pulwama #Modi

Outside the narrow lane that leads to the Malik family home in Kulgam in southern Kashmir, children walk to school past shuttered shopfronts and walls spray-painted with the word “azadi”, the local word for “freedom”. The graveyard at the end of the lane has an area for militants, who are remembered as “martyrs”.

Dar’s family claims he’d been radicalized in 2016 after being beaten up by Indian troops on his way back from school for pelting stones at them.

“Since then, he wanted to join the militants,” said his father Ghulam Hassan Dar, a farmer.

India’s home and foreign ministries did not respond to requests for comment on this story.

In news conferences since the suicide bombing, Lt. Gen. K.J.S. Dhillon, India’s top military commander in Kashmir, has dismissed allegations of harassment and rights abuses by Indian troops as “propaganda”. He said the recent crackdown by security forces has resulted in the killing of the masterminds of the attack, and militant recruitment has dipped in recent months.

Syed Ata Hasnain, a retired army general who has served in Kashmir for over 20 years, said the rise in homegrown fighters does not surprise him.

“Those who were born in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the conflict started, have now come of age,” he said. “This is a generation that has only seen the jackboot. The alienation of this generation is higher than the alienation of the previous generation.”

A 17th century Mughal emperor called Kashmir “paradise on earth”. But violence has ebbed and flowed in the valley since the subcontinent was divided into predominantly Hindu India and Islamic Pakistan after independence from Britain in 1947.

The question of Kashmir, India’s only Muslim-majority state, was never resolved, and it has been the catalyst for two wars and several violent clashes between the countries.

Tensions have risen after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in New Delhi in 2014. Modi promised a tougher approach to Pakistan and gave security forces the license to retaliate forcefully against the insurgency.

Around that time, many young Kashmiris started rallying around Burhan Wani, who had left home at the age of 15 to join the insurgency. Wani had a large following on social media, where he appeared in videos dressed in military fatigues and armed with an assault rifle, calling for an uprising against Indian rule.

He and his brother were beaten by security forces when they were teenagers, his family told local media. Wani was 22 when he was killed by security forces in 2016 and thousands attended his funeral despite restrictions on the movement of people and traffic.

The United Nations said in a report last year that in trying to quell mass protests in Kashmir since 2016, Indian security forces used excessive force that led to between 130 and 145 killings, according to civil society estimates.

Thousands were injured, including around 700 who sustained eye injuries from the use of pellet guns by security forces, it said. Thousands of people had simply disappeared since the insurgency began, it said.

The Indian government has rejected the report as false. Indian forces have long been accused of rights abuses and torture in custody in Kashmir, but officials routinely deny the charges.

Riaz Haq said...

This could become a self fulfilling prophesy if #Modi’s brutal oppression of #Kashmiris continues: #Kashmiris are preparing to take their jihad to pan-#India level and hit major #Indian cities in a big way

Inside Kashmir, there is a growing cohort of recruits willing to sacrifice their lives in fidayeen operations—something few were willing to do a generation earlier. Perhaps more important, the new-generation jihadists are seeking new fields for battle—their imaginations fired not by Kashmiri religious nationalism, but the global jihadist project.

For more than a year now, Al-Qaeda has been seeking means to transform the unwinnable war of attrition against Indian forces in Kashmir, by instead inflicting pain on the country’s cities.

The grenades tossed into the Maqsudan police station could prove to be the first shots fired by this new generation of little Osama Bin Ladens.

Little Bin Laden

Last week, one of the men behind the Punjab grenade attack, Abdul Hameed Lone, took charge of Kashmir’s fledgling Al-Qaeda unit—and of its project to transform the region’s conflict into a pan-India terror campaign. Born in 1990, to lower-middle class parents, Lone (also identified as Abdul Hameed Lelhari) grew up in the village of Lelhar, on the banks of the Jhelum, in the heart of southern Kashmir’s apple-growing country. His journey helps understand the generation of jihadists who have emerged from the debris of two decades of incessant conflict.

Lone completed his early school education from the Evergreen Public School, one of the private educational institutions that had sprung up across the region as public education collapsed amidst the conflict. In grade 5, though, straitened circumstances forced them to move him to a free, government school. Then, three years later, he dropped out of education altogether. He worked as a labourer, a cook, and then a mason.

Lone, family sources say, began exhibiting an interest in religion around this time. He turned to the Jama’at Ahl-e-Hadith—a neo-fundamentalist movement that was brought to Kashmir in 1925 by Sayyed Hussain Shah Batku, a Delhi seminary student who preached against the region’s Hinduism-inspired syncretic religious practices, such as worship at the shrines of saints, the veneration of relics, and the recitation of litanies before namaz prayers.

Early on, the Ahl-e-Hadith came under attack in Kashmir, from peasant clerics who charged Batku with being an apostate, and even the dajjal, or devil incarnate. Its message, though, resonated with an emerging, literate class. Though small, the historian Chitralekha Zutshi has pointed out, the “influence of the Ahl-e-Hadith on the conflicts over Kashmiri identities cannot be overemphasised”.


Even if Pakistan is compelled to shut down jihadist operations on its soil, though, Lone’s story shows the problem won’t end there: India faces a generation which believes sacrificing their lives will open the doors to utopia.

In the absence of genuine political outreach to stall the youth rage in Kashmir, the government’s post-Balakot gains could prove illusory. For each terrorist eliminated, Lone’s story shows, there are several others lining up to die for the jihad—and willing to kill for it.

Riaz Haq said...

Long Undeclared #Emergency in #India. Draconian Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act grants security forces broad powers to arrest, shoot to #kill, occupy or #destroy property without fear of legal challenge in #Kashmir and northeastern states. via @nybooks

Speaking on November 25, 1949, just as India became a democratic republic, B.R. Ambedkar, the chief architect of the Indian constitution, exhorted his countrymen to maintain “democracy not merely in form, but also in fact.” Ambedkar, born in a low, formerly untouchable Hindu caste (Dalits), had ensured a progressive character to the constitution. It promulgated universal adult franchise in an overwhelmingly illiterate population; conferred citizenship without reference to race, caste, religion, or creed; proclaimed secularism in a deeply religious country; and upheld equality in a society marked by entrenched inequalities. The constitution made Indian democracy seem another milestone on humankind’s journey to freedom and dignity.

Ambedkar, however—as Gyan Prakash writes in Emergency Chronicles, his acute analysis of the sudden collapse of democracy in India in the mid-1970s—was “convinced that Indian society lacked democratic values.” India’s new ruling elite “had not broken from the hold of the privileged landed classes and upper castes.” Inheriting power from the country’s departing British rulers in 1947, they presided over a “passive” revolution from above rather than a radical socioeconomic transformation from below. This is why Ambedkar felt that in a society riven by caste and class, where neither equality nor fraternity was established as a principle, “political democracy” urgently needed to be supplemented by broad social transformations—the end, for instance, of cruel discrimination against low-caste Hindus.

A socialist by conviction, Ambedkar had plenty of reason to be worried in 1949 about some dangerous “contradictions” in his project of emancipation. As he explained:

In politics we will have equality and in social and economic life we will have inequality. In politics we will be recognising the principle of one man one vote and one vote one value. In our social and economic life, we shall, by reason of our social and economic structure, continue to deny the principle of one man one value. How long shall we continue to live this life of contradictions? How long shall we continue to deny equality in our social and economic life? If we continue to deny it for long, we will do so only by putting our political democracy in peril. We must remove this contradiction at the earliest possible moment or else those who suffer from inequality will blow up the structure of political democracy.

The calamitous explosion Ambedkar feared finally occurred in India in 2014, with the election of Narendra Modi, a Hindu supremacist, as India’s prime minister, ending decades of government by political parties that at least paid lip service to secularism. Modi is a lifelong member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a far-right organization founded by upper-caste Hindus and inspired by European fascists, which was briefly banned in India in 1948 after one of its former members assassinated Mohandas “Mahatma” Gandhi for allegedly pampering Muslims and preventing the creation of a proud Hindu nation. Modi, accused of complicity in a pogrom in 2002 that killed hundreds of Muslims and displaced tens of thousands, was barred for almost a decade from travel to the US, the UK, and other parts of the European Union.

Riaz Haq said...

#UnitedStates is “closely following...We are concerned about reports of detentions (in #Indian Occupied #Kashmir) and urge respect for individual rights and discussion with those in affected communities..” #India #Pakistan #Article370revoked


The removal of Kashmir’s special status comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, performed well in recent elections in May. Some raised concerns that curtailing Kashmir’s autonomy could lead to a demographic transformation of the Muslim-majority region and inflame tensions between Hindus and Muslims throughout the country.

What has the reaction been?
Opposition politicians in India have decried the move as an attack on Indian democracy, and analysts have described it as unprecedented.

Political leaders in Kashmir, meanwhile, called the special status revocation “illegal and unconstitutional.” Mehbooba Mufti, a former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir state, warned that it would render India an “occupational force” in the area and called this the “darkest day in Indian democracy.”

Mehbooba Mufti

· 18h

Today marks the darkest day in Indian democracy. Decision of J&K leadership to reject 2 nation theory in 1947 & align with India has backfired. Unilateral decision of GOI to scrap Article 370 is illegal & unconstitutional which will make India an occupational force in J&K.

Mehbooba Mufti


It will have catastrophic consequences for the subcontinent. GOIs intentions are clear. They want the territory of J&K by terrorising it’s people. India has failed Kashmir in keeping its promises.

3,639 people are talking about this

The Pakistani government has condemned the decision as an infringement on a United Nations resolution on the question of Kashmir’s sovereignty. In a statement, Pakistan’s foreign ministry described Kashmir as an “internationally recognized disputed territory” and said it would back its residents “right to self-determination.”

The ministry added that it would “exercise all possible options to counter the illegal steps” India had taken. The Pakistani government has indicated it hopes to involve the U.S. government as an arbitrator in the dispute, Reuters reported. Pakistan’s prime minister, Imran Khan, had already discussed the possibility of President Trump mediating between India and Pakistan in talks over Kashmir when Khan visited the White House last month. India rejected this offer againlast week.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement Monday that the United States is “closely following” the situation in Kashmir, though she noted that the Indian government described these measures as “strictly an internal matter.”

“We are concerned about reports of detentions and urge respect for individual rights and discussion with those in affected communities,” she said. “We call on all parties to maintain peace and stability along the Line of Control.”

Monday’s order could be challenged in court as a violation of India’s constitution, since it effectively overturned a constitutional provision “through executive whim,” Suhrith Parthasarathy, an expert on constitutional law, said.

Imran Khan


I condemn India's attack across LOC on innocent civilians & it's use of cluster munitions in violation of int humanitarian law and it's own commitments under the 1983 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. UNSC must take note of this international threat to peace & security.

3:34 AM - Aug 4, 2019
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Riaz Haq said...

"Kashmir is not the property of India or Pakistan. It belongs to the Kashmiri people. When Kashmir acceded to India, we made it clear to the Leaders of he Kashmir people that we would ultimately abide by the verdict of their plebiscite. If they tell us to walk out, I would have no hesitation in quitting Kashmir....We have taken the issue to the United Nations and given our word of honor for a peaceful solution. As a great nation, we can not go back on it. We have left the question of final solution to the people of Kashmir and we are determined to abide by their decision." Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru quoted in Amrit Bazar Patrika, Calcutta, January 2, 1952.

Riaz Haq said...

Nehru on Kashmir:

1. In his telegram to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, the Indian Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru said, “I should like to make it clear that the question of aiding Kashmir in this emergency is not designed in any way to influence the state to accede to India. Our view which we have repeatedly made public is that the question of accession in any disputed territory or state must be decided in accordance with wishes of people and we adhere to this view.” (Telegram 402 Primin-2227 dated 27th October, 1947 to PM of Pakistan repeating telegram addressed to PM of UK).

2. In other telegram to the PM of Pakistan, Pandit Nehru said, “Kashmir's accession to India was accepted by us at the request of the Maharaja's government and the most numerously representative popular organization in the state which is predominantly Muslim. Even then it was accepted on condition that as soon as law and order had been restored, the people of Kashmir would decide the question of accession. It is open to them to accede to either Dominion then.” (Telegram No. 255 dated 31 October, 1947).

Accession issue
3. In his broadcast to the nation over All India Radio on 2nd November, 1947, Pandit Nehru said, “We are anxious not to finalise anything in a moment of crisis and without the fullest opportunity to be given to the people of Kashmir to have their say. It is for them ultimately to decide ------ And let me make it clear that it has been our policy that where there is a dispute about the accession of a state to either Dominion, the accession must be made by the people of that state. It is in accordance with this policy that we have added a proviso to the Instrument of Accession of Kashmir.”

4. In another broadcast to the nation on 3rd November, 1947, Pandit Nehru said, “We have declared that the fate of Kashmir is ultimately to be decided by the people. That pledge we have given not only to the people of Kashmir and to the world. We will not and cannot back out of it.”

5. In his letter No. 368 Primin dated 21 November, 1947 addressed to the PM of Pakistan, Pandit Nehru said, “I have repeatedly stated that as soon as peace and order have been established, Kashmir should decide of accession by Plebiscite or referendum under international auspices such as those of United Nations.”

U.N. supervision
6.In his statement in the Indian Constituent Assembly on 25th November, 1947, Pandit Nehru said, “In order to establish our bona fide, we have suggested that when the people are given the chance to decide their future, this should be done under the supervision of an impartial tribunal such as the United Nations Organisation. The issue in Kashmir is whether violence and naked force should decide the future or the will of the people.”

7.In his statement in the Indian Constituent Assembly on 5th March, 1948, Pandit Nehru said, “Even at the moment of accession, we went out of our way to make a unilateral declaration that we would abide by the will of the people of Kashmir as declared in a plebiscite or referendum. We insisted further that the Government of Kashmir must immediately become a popular government. We have adhered to that position throughout and we are prepared to have a Plebiscite with every protection of fair voting and to abide by the decision of the people of Kashmir.”

Riaz Haq said...

#India seeks to falsely portray sense of calm in locked-down #Kashmir. India leads the world in the number of #internet shutdowns, citing the British colonial-era Indian Telegraph Act of 1885. #Modi #BJP #ModiKillingKashmiris - ABC News - via @ABC

Just before midnight on the eve of the biggest political change in Indian-administered Kashmir in decades, authorities shut down internet access, mobile and landline phones and cable TV in the disputed region home to 12.5 million people.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist-led government presented an order in Parliament on Aug. 5 revoking the autonomy of India's only Muslim-majority state. The following day, lawmakers passed a bill to split the state, Jammu and Kashmir, into two federal territories.

Government officials have filled the communications void by asserting the changes have widespread acceptance in Kashmir, across India and internationally — a portrayal that hasn't stood up to scrutiny.

By circulating photos and videos with rousing Kashmiri folk music but no voices — evoking 20th century wartime newsreels — India's foreign ministry asserts life is returning to normal. Independent news reports suggest otherwise.

Kashmir has been disputed territory since 1947, when India and Pakistan won independence from British rule. Each claimed Kashmir and they have fought two of their three wars over it, with each now administering part of it.

The nuclear rivals approached war again in February, when a suicide bombing in Indian-administered Kashmir killed 40 paramilitary soldiers. India responded by bombing an alleged terrorist training camp in Pakistan.

The response was meant to signal Modi's hard-line stance on Kashmir, where soldiers are authorized to shoot civilian demonstrators with marbles and pellets, blinding some people.

The Indian government has also regularly cracked down on communications, especially in the Himalayan region where most people oppose Indian rule and want independence or a merger with Pakistan.

India leads the world in the number of internet shutdowns, according to the U.S. nonprofit Freedom House, and communication blackouts in Kashmir under Modi have become commonplace. Of the 340 total internet shutdowns in India since 2014, more than half were centered there, including 55 this year, according to the New Delhi-based Software Freedom Legal Center.

The government usually cuts internet service ahead of expected uprisings, citing the British colonial-era Indian Telegraph Act of 1885 "in the interest of public safety and for maintaining public order," according to the center's executive director, Sundar Krishnan.

The shutdowns have a compounding effect, disrupting business and education and demoralizing people.

"It's obstructing the free flow of information but it's also bringing many elements of a modern society to a grinding halt," Krishnan said.

As New Delhi deployed tens of thousands of additional troops early this month to reinforce its control in Kashmir — already one of the world's most militarized regions — India's foreign ministry escorted foreign journalists, including a reporter with The Associated Press, to a Hindu pilgrimage site elsewhere in the region. Officials billed it as an opportunity for journalists to see a side of Kashmir beyond the protests and clashes.

Days later, the government evacuated the pilgrims, and the communications curtain in Kashmir came down. Since then, no foreign journalists have been permitted entry to Kashmir.

On Aug. 7, with an indefinite curfew and a ban on public assembly imposed, a news video showed a chaotic protest with the sound of shots fired.

On Twitter, Jammu and Kashmir police slammed the video as "completely fabricated and incorrect," a description repeated by India's home and foreign ministries.

"The situation is calm, people are cooperative, and restrictions are being relaxed to ease the situation," the police tweeted.

Riaz Haq said...

#Kashmir #HumanRights film "No Fathers in Kashmir" divides #UK’s #Indian and #Pakistani communities. The film is about #British-#Kashmiri teenage girl whose father is killed after being taken away by #Indian soldiers for interrogation. #Modi #Article370

Ahvin Kumar, director of No Fathers in Kashmir, says it shows the plight of families and people in Britain must not ignore their suffering

A controversial film highlighting “disappearances” in Kashmir that premieres in Britain this week has led to fears of heightened tension between the country’s Indian and Pakistani communities.

No Fathers in Kashmir tells the story of a British-Kashmiri teenage girl who travels to the Indian Himalayan state to search for her father, only to discover that he “disappeared” and was then killed after being taken away by Indian soldiers for interrogation.

The film is set against the backdrop of the continuing turmoil in Indian-administered Kashmir and vividly addresses the contentious issue of human rights violations that are alleged to have been committed by security forces as they battle to suppress a popular insurgency that has raged for the past 30 years.

According to human rights campaigners, an estimated 8,000 people have “disappeared” during this time.

The film, partly funded by a group of British Kashmiris, opens in Bradford followed by screenings in London and other cities where there is a substantial South Asian population.

Last year, Kashmir exploded into renewed turmoil after the Indian government revoked its special status and placed it in lockdown. Known as Article 370, the move stripped away the autonomy Kashmir had been granted in exchange for joining the Indian union after independence in 1947. Another part of the state remained within Pakistan. Both countries claim it as their own.

The move prompted anger in Britain and protests outside the Indian High Commission, which resulted in violence, vandalism and several arrests. Demonstrations were also held in other cities, including Birmingham and Manchester.

Of the 1.1 million British Pakistanis, more than one million originate from the part of Kashmir governed by Pakistan. While there are no official figures for the number of Indian Kashmiris in Britain, the overall British Indian community numbers almost 1.4 million people, and support for India’s position is strong among some sections of that community.

Sabir Gull, a senior member of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, which was founded in Birmingham in 1977 and campaigns for the state’s independence, said: “We don’t want this film to create more problems but there’s no getting away from the fact that it definitely could – but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be shown.

“Kashmir is a sensitive matter for both British Indian and Pakistani communities. Drawing attention to human rights violations through film or any other medium is giving the oppressed a voice. Disappearances and the other crimes that have been committed against the Kashmiri people will not go away if we bury our heads in the sand. At the end of the day, we are all British but we can’t ignore what’s going on.”

Kuldeep Shekhawat, head of the UK branch of the Overseas Friends of the BJP, which supports India’s governing party and aims to increase its popularity among British Indians, said: “This film does not serve any purpose. It will just inflame hostility and tension. Things were difficult enough last year between the two communities but have calmed down a lot since then. If Kashmir is an issue then it is between India and Pakistan. We are all British here, so why should we be getting so obsessed with Kashmir?

Riaz Haq said...

#India’s nationalist TV anchors are silent on Davinder Singh. From Arnab Goswami to Sudhir Chaudhary, all are concerned more about ‘dreaded’ student protesters than a police officer being caught with militants allegedly planning #terror attack in #Kashmir.

In one of the most sensational stories to have come out of Kashmir in recent times, a police officer was arrested on Saturday along with two Hizbul Mujahideen militants, one of whom is wanted for killing migrant workers.

Davinder Singh is a deputy superintendent of the Jammu and Kashmir police. He has served as a counterinsurgency specialist for nearly two decades and has been awarded a gallantry medal. Preliminary investigations suggest Singh was acting as a “carrier” for the militants and that he did it for money.

What makes this matter especially serious is a letter that Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru had written to his lawyer Sushil Kumar from Tihar Jail in 2004. In it, Guru claimed it was Singh who had introduced him to one of the men who later attacked Parliament. Singh had asked him to arrange for a car and a place to stay for the attacker, Guru alleged. Singh later admitted to torturing Guru.

Cut to 2020, and Singh is caught with two militants who were allegedly on their way to carry out a terror attack on Republic Day in Delhi. Normally, a story of this import would be picked up by leading TV news channels on primetime, especially our nationalist news anchors.

One could go so far as to imagine that it would be used to denounce the ongoing protests by students and other Indians against the citizenship law. You would expect your favourite nationalist news anchor to go ballistic, screaming something like: “TERRORISTS CAUGHT on their way to attack India. What DOES Kanhaiya Kumar HAVE TO SAY NOW?!?! Does he SUPPORT THEM??”

Oddly, there was no such clownery on TV over the past two days. Instead, our nationalist anchors completely ignored the story.

On Times Now, Arnab Goswami’s prodigal disciple, Navika Kumar, and Arnab-lite Rahul Shivshankar (RSS), kept busy talking about the “distressing” Jamia protests, which have apparently taken a radical Islamic turn.

Riaz Haq said...

'Asian Age' Kills Karan Thapar Column After Mention of '1947 Violence Against Jammu Muslims'
Shortly after his article questioning PM Modi's call for a 'partition horrors remembrance day' was published, the journalist said an editor called him to say the "owners have decided to put the column 'on hold'.

Mentioning the mass violence which took place against Muslims of Jammu during Partition has cost senior journalist Karan Thapar his fortnightly column in the Asian Age, in what appears to be the latest incident of capitulation on the part of an Indian media house to the majoritarian whims of the Narendra Modi government.

Thapar told The Wire that soon after his column “As I See It” was published on August 20, 2021, the national daily’s managing editor Kaushik Mitter informed him that the owners of the newspaper had instructed him to put his column “on hold”. He also said that Mitter explicitly told him that the owners of the daily feared a backlash for the last three paragraphs of the column in which he wrote of the violence against Muslims of Jammu during Partition – a well-documented chapter of history that eventually led to the mass displacement of the community from the region.

Thapar, a television journalist of many decades standing who now does a regular show for The Wire called ‘The Interview’, had been writing ‘As I See It’ in the Asian Age for the past 10 months at the newspaper’s invitation. In this time, he has been writing critically on the policies of the Narendra Modi-led government, including its Hindu-majoritarian social and political agenda.

In what has become his last column, he argued that Modi’s recent announcement to remember August 14 – also Pakistan’s Independence Day – as ‘Partition Horrors Remembrance Day’ was specifically intended to whip up anti-Muslim sentiment in India, while the fact remained that “Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims suffered equally” on both sides of the border.

While citing examples of Armistice Day in Britain, Holocaust Day in Israel, Anzac Day in Australia and New Zealand, and even Thanksgiving Day in America, which are intended to bring people together against past mistakes, Thapar expressed the view that the prime minister’s move served the purpose of polarising people of India on religious lines.

In an effort to establish that all communities bore the brunt of xenophobic violence during the Partition, he reminded his readers of the large number Muslims who were killed or displaced from Jammu in the sectarian violence of 1947.

“At the time, Jammu was a Muslim-majority city. Yet literally in weeks communal riots, mass killings and forced migration turned it into a Hindu-majority one. Both contemporary accounts and those of historians put the numbers killed or expelled in hundreds of thousands,” Thapar wrote in his column headlined ‘Horrors of 1947 Partition: A selective remembrance?’

He went on to cite multiple sources that documented the anti-Muslim violence in Jammu, including reports from The Spectator that quoted none other than Mahatma Gandhi, reports in The Statesman, and articles by eminent scholars Arjun Appadurai and Arien Mack, and former chief information commissioner of India, Wajahat Habibullah.

Quoting from these sources, he estimated that anywhere between two to five lakhs Muslims were killed, and many more displaced in Jammu, in violence allegedly perpetrated by Hindus and Sikhs with tacit support from the state authorities. Thapar goes on to say that columnist Swaminathan Aiyar in a 2018 column for the Times of India claimed that the massacre of Jammu’s Muslims “far exceeded the ethnic cleansing of Pandits five decades later” in terms of scale.

Thapar then finished his article with a question: “Now that Mr. Modi wants to remember the horrors of partition, is this one of them?”

Riaz Haq said...

Prashant Bhushan
Chair of the Jury of Goa Film Festival says that the Jury felt that Kashmir Files was a vulgar propaganda film, inappropriate for the film festival

Riaz Haq said...

Video: Indian Film Festival IFFI Jury Head Calls 'Kashmir Files' "Vulgar"
Calling it "propaganda" and a "vulgar movie", Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid, who headed the IFFI jury, said "all of them" were "disturbed and shocked" to see the film screened at the festival.

New Delhi: The jury of 53rd International Film Festival in Goa has slammed the controversial movie "The Kashmir Files", which revolves around the killings and exodus of Kashmiri Pandits in 1990 from Kashmir Valley. Calling it "propaganda" and a "vulgar movie", Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid, who headed the IFFI jury, said "all of them" were "disturbed and shocked" to see the film screened at the festival.
"It seemed to us like a propagandist movie inappropriate for an artistic, competitive section of such a prestigious film festival. I feel totally comfortable to share openly these feelings here with you on stage. Since the spirit of having a festival is to accept also a critical discussion which is essential for art and for life," Mr Lapid said in his address.

The Anupam Kher, Mithun Chakraborty and Pallavi Joshi starrer, directed by Vivek Agnihotri, was featured in the "Panorama" section of the festival last week.

The film has been praised by the BJP and has been declared tax-free in most BJP-ruled states and was a box office hit. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah have praised on the movie.

Many, however, have criticised the content, calling it a one-sided portrayal of the events that is sometimes factually incorrect and claiming the movie has a "propagandist tone".

In May, Singapore banned the movie, citing concerns over its "potential to cause enmity between different communities".

"The film will be refused classification for its provocative and one-sided portrayal of Muslims and the depictions of Hindus being persecuted in the ongoing conflict in Kashmir," read a statement from the Singapore government, reported news agency Press Trust of India.

Mr Agnihotri has alleged an "international political campaign" against him and his film by foreign media.

He claimed this was the reason his press conference was cancelled by the Foreign Correspondents Club and the Press Club of India in May.

Riaz Haq said...

The Kashmir Files: Israeli director sparks outrage in India over ‘vulgar movie’ remarks
Nadav Lapid, chair of the International film festival India, spoke out against work that critics say is anti-Muslim propaganda

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the film festival, Lapid said he and other jury members had been “shocked and disturbed” that the film had been given a platform. The Kashmir Files, said Lapid, was “a propaganda, vulgar movie, inappropriate for an artistic competitive section of such a prestigious film festival”.
Lapid, who has taken an anti-establishment stance against rightwing elements in his home of Israel, is not alone in expressing concern over The Kashmir Files. Cinemagoers have started anti-Muslim chants at screenings and it has been accused of stirring up communal violence. In May, Singapore banned the film over its “potential to cause enmity between different communities”.

Vivek Agnihotri, the film’s director, said on Monday that “terror supporters and genocide deniers can never silence me”.

He added: “I challenge all the intellectuals in this world and this great film-maker from Israel to find one frame, one dialogue or an event in The Kashmir Files that is not true.”

A row has erupted in India after an Israeli director described a controversial film about Kashmir as propaganda and a “vulgar movie”, prompting the Israeli ambassador to issue an apology.

Nadav Lapid, who was chair of this year’s panel of the international film festival of India (IFFI), spoke out against the inclusion of The Kashmir Files at the event.

The film, released in March to popular box office success, is largely set in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when attacks and threats by militants led to most Kashmiri Hindus fleeing from the region, where the majority of the population are Muslim.

Many film critics, Kashmiri Muslims and others, have described it as propaganda that inflames hatred against Muslims and distorts events to suit an anti-Muslim agenda.

However, the film has received a ringing endorsement from the highest levels of the Indian government, ruled by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party (BJP), who have also been accused of pursuing an anti-Muslim agenda. The prime minister, Narendra Modi, has praised the film, congratulating its makers for having “the guts to portray the truth” and it was the second highest-grossing film in India this year.


Lapid said his comments were made in the spirit of “critical discussion, which is essential for art and life”, adding he was sure they could be accepted graciously by the festival and audience as such. But his critique caused outrage.

Amit Malviya, a senior BJP leader, compared his remarks to denial of the Holocaust. “For the longest time, people even denied the Holocaust and called Schindler’s List propaganda, just like some are doing to Kashmir Files,” he said.

In Goa, where the festival took place, a complaint was filed to police against Lapid, accusing him of “instigating enmity between groups”.

Fellow jurors at the film festival, which is sponsored by the Indian government, quickly distanced themselves from his comments, stating that they reflected his opinion and not that of the panel. Film-maker Sudipto Sen, who was on the panel, said: “We don’t indulge in any kind of political comments on any film.”

Some of the harshest criticism came from Israel’s ambassador to India, Naor Gilon, who told Lapid he should be “ashamed” of his comments and that it was “insensitive and presumptuous” to speak on a subject that has political and religious ramifications in India. Gilon said he “unequivocally condemned” the statements.

Riaz Haq said...

Opinion | Why Is Israel Groveling to India's Toxic Hindu Nationalists?
When an Israeli filmmaker called out a Modi-backed movie for being propaganda, the Indian premier's trolls and loyalists exploded. But why did Israel's ambassador to India join in the outrage?

By Swati Chaturvedi

India on Tuesday woke up to unprecedented apology, and a cry for mercy, from Naor Gilon, Israel's ambassador to India, Sri Lanka and Bhutan. Gilon slammed a a fellow Israeli, filmmaker Nadav Lapid, in a series of tweets, and offered a groveling apology to India. The ambassador's criticism reeked of both disdain – and fear.

“You go back to Israel thinking you are bold and 'made a statement,'" he wrote. "We the representatives of Israel would stay here. You should see the DM boxes following your “bravery” and what implications it may have on the team under my responsibility.”

So who exactly had breached Israel's state of the art firewall to cause its envoy to renounce diplomatic rectitude and diplomatic language, to criticize a distinguished Israeli in public so crudely? Gilon was castigating Lapid, who'd just served as chairperson of the jury at the International Film Festival of India, a venture jointly organized by the government of Goa (a state run by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party) and the government of India, run by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.

Lapid had made the cardinal error of speaking out against the Hindu nationalist narrative enforced by the Modi government and parroted by an obedient network of cultural events and figures.

Speaking on behalf of the jury, Lapid had ripped apart the controversial film "Kashmir Files," directed by Vivek Agnihotri, a firm Modi favorite, and called it out as “vulgar propaganda which was inappropriate for an artistic, competitive section of such a prestigious film festival.” Gilon said he spoke for the entire jury who were “disturbed and shocked to see the film screened at the festival.”

Gilon added that he felt totally comfortable to share these feelings, since the "spirit of having a festival" is also to accept a critical discussion "which is essential for art and for life.”

'The Kashmir Files,' which was publicly endorsed by Modi and given unusual tax free status in most Indian states, revolves around the killings and exodus of Kashmiri Hindus from India’s only Muslim majority state in 1990.

As Lapid dissed the film from the podium, Anurag Thakur, the Modi-appointed minister with the portfolio of Information and Broadcasting, sat stone-faced in the front row of the audience. Earlier, Thakur (who prides himself on his athleticism) had been lauded publicly by the ambassador as he horsed around and jumped off a festival bus with Avi Issacharoff and Lior Raz, directors of the Israeli hit series Fauda. Gilon tweeted that minister Thakur looked one of the team and should probably consider joining the series.

By the way, the Fauda creators are this month celebrating the launch of an official Indian remake, Tanaav, which follows a group of Indian intelligence agents tracking down a Kashmiri terrorist organization.

From horsing around to cringe-making performative apologies, Ambassador Gilon ran the gamut in scant hours.

My sources tell me that huge diplomatic pressure was applied by India to Israel. It was conveyed to Israel that India considered the criticism of the film an “unfriendly act.”

Under Modi and his Hindu nationalist government, India has been extremely prickly about international comments and criticism. The Foreign Office issues long bureaucratic rebuttals to editorial comments made in the foreign media, and pushes back hard against domestic dissent, from deploying the Israeli weapons-grade spyware Pegasus to target journalists (including myself) and activists seeking to defend India’s failing democracy.

Riaz Haq said...

By Swati Chaturvedi

But forcing the Israeli ambassador to eat public crow on social media is a dubious first even for the Modi government. The unleashing of the infamous Modi troll army – run by the BJP's Information and Technology unit – on the Israeli ambassador and his embassy's staff is equally unprecedented. Clearly the volume of threats and fears for their security made Gilon go public. The Israeli embassy is one of the best-guarded in New Delhi.

Recalling that he is the son of a Holocaust survivor, Gilon mentioned he was extremely hurt to see that some of the more unhinged reactions in India waved Holocaust denial as a riposte to Lapid's comments. There has been a surge of comments in this vein: that if 'The Kashmir Files' [a movie] is propaganda, then so too is the Holocaust [historical fact] propaganda. "I unequivocally condemn such statements. There is no justification," he wrote. But then he offered a quiet way out: "It does show the sensitivity of the Kashmir issue here."

Holocaust denial has not been the only toxic language employed by Modi loyalists. The head of the BJP's youth wing called Lapid "a Hindu-hating bigot who whitewashes ethnic cleansing. Not less than a Nazi enabler."

Gilon framed his riposte as a direct address to his “Indian brothers and sisters to understand,” and he thus wrote in English, not Hebrew. His message to Lapid was as overpowering and blunt as the capital letters he used: "YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED."

The ambassador treated his audience to more obsequiousness, such as claiming Indians treat guests as “gods,” and denied Lapid's claim that he and Thakur had said on stage that “there is similarity between India and Israel because we fight a similar enemy and reside in a bad neighborhood.” This is a familiar BJP trope about Israel and is used to attack the 200 million Muslims who live in India.

The actual tragedy of Kashmir's Hindu minority has been politically manipulated for years. They are still unable to go back to the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley and still face targeted killings. The real anguish of the Pandits is used by Modi's BJP for electoral gains.

At the same time, the BJP is now using the world of the arts to push its justification for the effective annexation of the state of Jammu & Kashmir, whose semi-autonomous status was abruptly rescinded in 2019. 'The Kashmir Files' is an extremely successful example of this kind of propaganda.

'The Kashmir Files' is a transparent vehicle for weaponizing hate against India’s 200 million strong Muslims. And it is precisely following the script of India's increasingly autocratic premier, Modi, was wants Muslims to be second class citizens in India while Hindus, who form 80 percent of the population, enjoy special privileges.

Agnihotri, a failed filmmaker, struck gold with 'The Kashmir Files.' It is no accident that he is one of the most vocal defenders of the Modi government on social media. For Modi, who is so ideologically embedded in the movie's message and so personally involved in its inflated success, any criticism of the film is both an attack on him and an attack on India itself.

Modi has escalated this conflation of the state and himself, a theme that begun when he governed the state of Gujarat decades ago. He wraps himself in the Tricolour (India's flag) and his critics are hounded, demonized as "anti-national," and even jailed.

Modi's army, known for its vicious incitement if not outright violence, has lost the basic critical faculty to separate criticism of a movie about India from criticism of India itself. Israel's ambassador is, therefore, not being paranoid when he says that Lapid's cogent criticism of the movie threatens the well-being of his staff.