Modi's Kashmir Blunder: Wider Implications For India, Pakistan and the World

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's reckless decision to unilaterally abrogate Article 370 of the Indian constitution has sent shockwaves across South Asia and the rest of the world. The immediate effect of this action is on Indian Occupied Kashmir which has lost its status as a state and stands divided into union territories directly ruled from New Delhi. It has wider implications for India's federal, secular and democratic constitutional structure. It has sent alarm bells ringing in Indian states of Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Nagaland and Mizoram. It also threatens to escalate tensions between nuclear armed rivals India and Pakistan when the Kashmiri resistance turns violent and Modi falsely blames it on "cross-border terrorism". Nuclear confrontation in South Asia could result in deaths of billions of people across Asia, Africa, Europe and America. It is time for all sane Indians and the rest of the world to wake up to the serious threats posed to peace in South Asia region and the wider world by Mr. Modi's fascist Hindutva project.

Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir:

Regardless of Article 370, the region of of Jammu and Kashmir remains a disputed territory whose status must be resolved according to the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 47 (1948) and 80 (1950). India can not unilaterally alter its status without agreement with Pakistan and the people of Jammu and Kashmir who are are parties to it.  Any unilateral action by either India or Pakistan on Kashmir also violates the Simla Agreement which requires bilateral resolution of the disputed region.

Mr. Modi's actions are not only an affront to the people of Jammu and Kashmir but also in clear violation of India's international and bilateral obligations under United Nations charter and the Simla Accord.

China, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, lays claim to Ladakh region. It has objected to India making it a union territory.

Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's Pledge

Domestic Opposition in India:

Mr. Karan Singh, a member of Indian Rajya Sabha (upper house) and the son of Kashmiri Maharaja Hari Singh who "acceded" Jammu and Kashmir to India in 1947, has said that Kashmir is "not an internal matter" of India. Mr. Singh has insisted on restoration of the dialogue process with Pakistan.

“J&K’s relationship with the rest of India is guided by Article 370 and the State Constitution that I signed into law. We must realize that from the very beginning, J&K, rightly or wrongly, has been given a special position. Now [after] that special position from the original three subjects, there have been a whole series of developments — some may call them positive developments of integration, others may say negative developments of reducing autonomy,” Mr. Singh was quoted as saying by The Hindu.

Strongest reactions to Mr. Modi's decision to annul article 370 have come from top leaders in Indian Punjab and Tamil Nadu. It has inspired fear that the central government in Delhi could take control of any state, strip it of its statehood and impose direct rule without the consent of its people.

Former union minister P. Chidambaram called Modi's action a "cardinal blunder" and a "fatal legal error"."What you are doing today sends a very wrong signal to every state of country", he added.

Tamil Nadu's DMK party leader MK Stalin took to Twitter to condemn Modi's decision. “This is a dark day in the history of Indian federalism. I urge the President of India to not precipitate the situation and not take any further steps in this regard until a democratically elected Government is formed there. The DMK stands with its Kashmiri brothers and sisters and will oppose any assault on federal structure,” he said in a series of tweets.

Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh of Indian Punjab has denounced the revocation of 370 as “totally unconstitutional”. He tweeted that “the Constitution of India had been rewritten without following any legal provisions. Such a historic decision should not have been taken and pushed through in this arbitrary manner...This will set a bad precedent as it would mean that the Centre could reorganize any state in the country by simply imposing President’s rule.”

India-Pakistan Escalation:

Most of Kashmir has been under an unprecedented and extended lock-down. People are imprisoned in their homes for several days in a row. There is no Internet, telephone or television.

Eventually when the restrictions are eased, there will be large street protests which the Indian security forces will try to quell by force. When such protests turn violent,  Mr. Modi will cry "terrorism" and falsely accuse Pakistan of being behind it. There will be a familiar replay of the events of the past with Mr. Modi escalating conflict with Pakistan across the Line of Control in Kashmir.

Such escalations pose the danger of spiraling out of control and leading to a nuclear confrontation.

The West, particularly the United States and Canada, are geographically far removed from South Asia. This distance makes many think that any nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan would not have a significant impact on life in America and Europe. Dr. Owen Brian Toon and Professor Alan Robock dispute this thinking. They believe the nuclear winter following an India-Pakistan nuclear exchange will kill crops as far as the United States and cause a global famine. Another study by Nobel Peace Prize- winning International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and Physicians for Social Responsibility reached the same conclusion.

Professors Robock and Toon have calculated that the smoke from just 100-200 Hiroshima sized atomic bombs exploding in South Asia would cover the entire globe within two weeks. This smoke would hang 30-50 miles above the surface of the earth where it never rains. This thick layer of smoke would block the sun causing farmers to lose their crops for years to come. The resulting famine would kill billions of people around the globe.

It seems that the American leadership recognizes the devastating global impact of possible India-Pakistan nuclear war.  In "Brokering Peace in Nuclear Environments U.S. Crisis Management in South Asia", Pakistani-American analyst Dr. Moeed Yusuf talks about the US efforts to prevent India-Pakistan war that could escalate into a full-scale nuclear exchange. He analyzes American diplomacy in three critical periods: Kargil conflict in 1999; the stand-off after the Indian Parliament attack in 2001 and the terrorist attack in Mumbai in 2008.

Yusuf argues that the US-Soviet Cold War deterrence model does not apply to the India-Pakistan conflict and offers his theory of "brokered bargaining". In chapters that detail the US role during three India-Pakistan crises, it is clear that the US rejected India's insistence on bilateralism in resolving India-Pakistan disputes.  The author says that "in each episode, the concern about the escalation forced the United States to engage, largely unsolicited, and use a mix of rewards (or promises of) and punishments (or threats of) with the regional rivals to achieve de-escalation--ahead of its broader regional or policy interests."

Summary:

Indian Hindu Nationalist government of Prime Minister Modi's abrogation of Article 370 is in clear violation of the Indian constitution and international rules governing resolution of disputes between countries. It has wider implications for India's federal, secular and democratic constitutional structure. It has sent alarm bells ringing in Indian states of Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Nagaland and Mizoram. It also threatens to escalate tensions between nuclear armed rivals India and Pakistan when the Kashmiri resistance turns violent and Modi falsely blames it on "cross-border terrorism". Nuclear confrontation in South Asia could result in deaths of billions of people across Asia, Africa, Europe and America. It is time for all sane Indians and the rest of the world to wake up to the serious threats posed to peace in South Asia region and the wider world by Mr. Modi's fascist Hindutva project.

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Comments

Riaz Haq said…
#India must talk with #Pakistan as #Kashmir is not an internal matter of #India, says Karan Singh, son of #Kashmir ruler Maharajah Hari Singh who signed accession document - The Hindu

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Kashmir-is-not-an-internal-matter-of-India-Karan-Singh/article14562551.ece


Son of the erstwhile king of Kashmir, Mr. Singh said the government is weakening its claim on the State by refusing to look at the international dimensions to the issue.
Senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member Karan Singh urged the government on Wednesday to abstain from stating that the political instability in Jammu and Kashmir was “an internal matter” of India.

Son of the erstwhile king of Kashmir, Mr. Singh said the government is weakening its claim on the State by refusing to look at the international dimensions to the issue as half of the state’s territory is under Pakistani and Chinese occupation.

“Today, we have barely 42,000 square miles under our control,” said Mr.Singh, while addressing the lawmakers at Rajya Sabha. “To say that we will not talk is not a mature response. When we say we do not need to talk to Pakistan, have we legitimised that [Pakistan occupied Kashmir]?”


While insisting on restoration of the dialogue process with Pakistan, Mr. Singh reminded the House that on October 27, 1947, when his father Maharaja Hari Singh, then ruler of the princely state, signed an Instrument of Accession with the Union of India, the development happened on three principles — that only Defence, Communications and Foreign Affairs would be handled by the Centre, and the rest will be under the state.

“I was in the House when the Accession was signed. However, please remember something more, my father acceded for three subjects — Defence, Communications and Foreign Affairs. He signed the same Instrument of Accession that all the other princely states signed. But all other states subsequently merged. And J&K did not merge,” said Mr. Singh.

“J&K’s relationship with the rest of India is guided by Article 370 and the State Constitution that I signed into law. We must realise that from the very beginning, J&K, rightly or wrongly, has been given a special position. Now [after] that special position from the original three subjects, there have been a whole series of developments — some may call them positive developments of integration, others may say negative developments of reducing autonomy,” he added.
Riaz Haq said…
" The Indian state has deployed many strategies to counter the 28-year-old Kashmir insurgency. One of them has been to call this insurgency everything other than what it actually is. When thousands of Kashmiris went for arms training to the part of Kashmir under Pakistani control, and lakhs rallied behind them on the streets of the Valley, New Delhi called this “cross-border terrorism”.

From about 10,000 to 15,000 militants at one point in time, militancy is now run by about 100 youths, mostly Kashmiris. But a resurgent street now complements this residual presence more strongly than ever. Currently, the state is confronted by a new wave of civilian protests coupled with a generation of youth so desperate to pick up arms that they snatch rifles from soldiers and policemen and run to the nearest forest where a small band of militants awaits them. The state and a sizeable section of the Indian media have been trying to explain away this phenomenon by obsessively referring to the so-called radicalisation of Kashmiri youth over the years."


https://scroll.in/article/836632/why-does-india-consistently-push-the-false-narrative-of-radicalisation-in-kashmir


Why does India consistently push the (false) narrative of radicalisation in Kashmir?
No theory has been more forcefully propagated than this one.

Riaz Haq said…
BBC News - #Article370: Has #India pushed #Kashmir to a point of no return? Autonomy had already been largely stripped away by a series of integrative measures imposed on the state by #India's central governments between the mid-1950s and the mid-1960s. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-49316350

Indian-administered Kashmir has been under an unprecedented lockdown since last week after India revoked Article 370, a constitutional provision granting the region special status. Sumantra Bose, professor of international and comparative politics at the London School of Economics (LSE), explains why the decision is fraught with challenges.

At the end of October, Jammu and Kashmir will cease to be a state of India.

Last week, India's parliament approved by a large majority the decision by the federal government to split the state into two union territories - Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. Union territories have much less autonomy from the federal government than states do, and are essentially subject to Delhi's direct rule.

Almost 98% of the erstwhile state's population will be in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, comprising two regions - the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley, which has about eight million people, and the Hindu-majority Jammu, which has about six million. The third region, the newly created union territory of Ladakh, is a high-altitude desert inhabited by 300,000 people, with almost equal numbers of Muslims and Buddhists.

Last week's events fulfilled a Hindu nationalist demand dating back to the early 1950s: the abrogation of Article 370.


Hindu nationalists have for seven decades vehemently denounced Article 370 as an example of "appeasement" of India's only Muslim-majority state. This objection to Article 370 was also congruent with the Hindu nationalists' ideological belief that India should be a unitary and centralised nation-state.

The "reorganisation" of Jammu and Kashmir also reflects a longstanding Hindu nationalist agenda.

In 2002 the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the core organisation of the Hindu nationalist movement, demanded the state be divided into three parts: a separate Hindu-majority Jammu state; the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley; plus union territory status for Ladakh.

Simultaneously the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), an RSS affiliate, called for the state to be divided into four parts: a separate Jammu state and Ladakh as a union territory, plus the carving out of a sizeable area, also with union territory status, in the Kashmir valley to be inhabited solely by Kashmiri Pandits, the valley's small Hindu minority who were forced to leave nearly en masse when insurgency erupted there in 1990.

Under the VHP plan, what remained of the Kashmir Valley would then be left to the Muslim majority.

The claim made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah that the autonomy enshrined by Article 370 is the cause of "separatism" in Jammu and Kashmir is disingenuous.


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Many democracies have regions with ingrained secessionist impulses: the United Kingdom in Scotland, Canada in Quebec, Spain in Catalonia.

What the BJP government has done is akin to what Serbia's Milosevic regime did in 1989 by unilaterally revoking Kosovo's autonomy and imposing a police state on Kosovo's Albanian majority.

But the BJP government's approach to Kashmir goes beyond what Milosevic intended for the Kosovo Albanians: subjugation.
The Hindu nationalist government seems to ultimately aspire to assimilate rebellious Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir into a form of Indian national identity defined by its movement's ideology.
Riaz Haq said…
Chris Wood cuts #India’s weight by 1% point. #Kashmir has proved more negative for #MSCI #Pakistan down 11% in first 2 weeks, while India declined 1.5%. Pakistan Index is up 11.2% so far this week, compared with 1.6% decline in India. https://www.bloombergquint.com/markets/jefferies-chris-wood-cuts-indias-weight-citing-jammu-kashmir-security-worries via @BloombergQuint

Jefferies’ Chris Wood cut India’s weight in portfolio by 1 percentage point on worries that the security situation will get “significantly worse” after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government removed the special constitutional status of Jammu & Kashmir. “Kashmir aggravation has added an additional negative,” Wood, global head of equity strategy at Jefferies, wrote in his weekly Greed & Fear new

Earnings estimates have continued to come down in the first quarter with Jefferies revising down the FY20 Nifty 50 earnings per share forecast by 7 percent since early July. As a result of the downgrades, the Indian market is not cheaper despite the 10 percent decline in the Nifty Index from the peak in early June, Wood said. “Investors are going to need to see evidence of a cyclical pickup to get
Riaz Haq said…
BBC News: How serious is #India's #economic crisis? The quibble among the members of the economic team of Mr #Modi and his government is not about whether India is facing an economic slowdown or not, but about how grave the current economic crisis is. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-49470466

Top Indian government officials are engaged in a vociferous public debate over the state of the country's economy.

Rajiv Kumar, the head of the government's think tank Niti Aayog, recently claimed that the current slowdown was unprecedented in 70 years of independent India and called for immediate policy interventions in specific industries.

The Chief Economic Adviser, K Subramanian, disagreed with the idea of industry-specific incentives and argued for structural reforms in land and labour markets. Members of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's economic advisory council sound inchoate, resorting to social media and opinion editorials to counter one another.

In essence, the quibble among the members of the economic team of Mr Modi and his government is not about whether India is facing an economic slowdown or not, but about how grave the current economic crisis is.

This is a remarkable reversal in stance of the same group of economists who, until a few months ago, waxed eloquent about how India was the fastest growing economy in the world, generating seven million jobs a year.

To put all this in context, it was less than just two years ago, in November 2017, that the global ratings agency Moody's upgraded India's sovereign ratings - an independent assessment of the creditworthiness of a country - for the first time in 14 years.


Justifying the upgrade, Moody's had then argued that the economy was undergoing dramatic "structural" reforms under Mr Modi.

In the two years since, Moody's has downgraded its 2019 GDP growth forecast for India thrice - from 7.5% to 7.4% to 6.8% to 6.2%.

The immediate questions that arise now are: is India's economic condition really that grim and, if yes, how did it deteriorate so rapidly?

One of India's most celebrated entrepreneurs, the founder of the largest coffee store chain, Café Coffee Day, recently killed himself, ostensibly due to unmanageable debt, slowing growth and alleged harassment by tax authorities.

The auto industry is expected to shed close to a million direct and indirect jobs due to a decline in vehicle sales. Sales growth of men's inner wear clothing, a key barometer of consumption popularised by former Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan, is negative. Consumption demand that accounts for two-thirds of India's GDP is fast losing steam.

To make matters worse, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented her first budget recently with some ominous tax proposals that threatened foreign capital flows and dented investor confidence. It sparked criticism and Ms Sitharaman was forced to roll back many of her proposals.



So, it is indeed true that India is facing a sharp economic downturn and severe loss of business confidence.

The alarm over the economic condition is not merely a reflection of a slowdown in GDP growth but also the poor quality of growth.

Private sector investment, the mainstay of sustainable growth in any economy, is at a 15-year low.

In other words, there is almost no investment in new projects by the private sector. The situation is so bad that many Indian industrialists have complained loudly about the state of the economy, the distrust of the government towards businesses and harassment by tax authorities.

But India's economic slowdown is neither sudden nor a surprise.

Behind the fawning headlines in the press over the past five years about the robustness of India's growth was a vulnerable economy, straddled with massive bad loans in the financial sector, disguised further by a macroeconomic bonanza from low global oil prices.
Riaz Haq said…
Why a top think tank official says #India’s fiscal problems are “unprecedented"? #Economy #Modi #BJP https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/08/27/india-economic-crisis-kashmir-rohingya/

“Unprecedented” Fears About the Indian Economy?

Last Friday, India’s government finally acknowledged that all was not well in the world’s seventh-largest economy. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman rolled back a tax on foreign investors and promised to speed up tax refunds to small businesses, among other announcements. Investors seemed pleased: On Monday, the key Mumbai stock market gained more than 2 percent, after recording its worst July in nearly two decades. And the markets continued to rise on Tuesday.

Broader problems. While the stock market may have received a short-term boost, Sitharaman’s announcements alone won’t fix underlying economic problems. The biggest concern—and a likely factor behind slowing consumer demand—seems to be the country’s 6.1 percent unemployment rate, the highest in 45 years. An estimated 1 million Indians enter the workforce every month, and enough jobs simply aren’t being created for them. Perhaps unsurprisingly, car sales declined by 36 percent in July. Sitharaman announced on Friday a one-off government move to replace its fleet of cars with new ones, but that will hardly encourage the auto industry to ramp up production or hire more workers. (Automakers have laid off an estimated 350,000 workers since April.) Meanwhile GDP growth has slowed, with Nomura analysts predicting a tepid 5.7 percent growth rate for the April-June quarter, expected to be announced next week.

Criticism. Thomas Isaac, the finance minister of the state of Kerala, tweeted that Sitharaman’s announcements didn’t amount to enough. “What is required is a large fiscal spending package,” he wrote. And in a rare example of a top Indian businessman criticizing New Delhi, Adi Godrej, the chairman of the Godrej conglomerate, told Business Standard last week that “the speed of decision-making is very good for example in Kashmir, but the speed of decision-making on business matters is not good.”

One problem may be that even as India’s central bank continues to cut interest rates—which are already at their lowest level in nine years—outdated state banks often avoid passing on cheaper loans to consumers. And the private sector seems too spooked by a global slowdown to make large investments. Put together, these trends led a top government think tank leader to admit last week that India’s economic situation was “unprecedented” and that “nobody is trusting anybody else” in the government and private sector.


Depleting brain trust. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has had to cope with the loss of some key lieutenants to ill health. On Saturday, Arun Jaitley, who was finance minister from 2014 to early 2019, died after years of kidney-related illnesses. Sushma Swaraj, who served as external affairs minister over the same period, also died this month after a heart attack. And Manohar Parrikar, who served as defense minister from 2014 to 2017, died from pancreatic cancer in March.

Riaz Haq said…
#India Is Shooting Itself in the Foot in #Kashmir. The costs to the country’s image overseas are higher than government boosters want to believe. #Modi #BJP https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-08-28/india-s-kashmir-crackdown-is-damaging-its-image-overseas
Riaz Haq said…
#Kashmir narrative. According to western media outlets, #pulwamaattack was #Pakistan’s doing, not part of long history of J&K resistance. Since 911 US war on #terror, #India cast separatists as “terrorists” and framed #Kashmir struggle "terrorism" https://www.cjr.org/analysis/the-kashmiri-narrative.php via @cjr

IN MID-FEBRUARY, A YOUNG MAN named Adil Ahmed Dar killed 44 Indian paramilitary officers in a suicide bombing in Kashmir’s Pulwama district. It was the deadliest attack against Indian soldiers in three decades. Dar was from a local village, but the militant group that claimed responsibility was based in Pakistan. Fears escalated of a confrontation between the two countries, both nuclear-armed. “Our neighbor will not be allowed to destabilize us,” India Prime Minister Narendra Modi said. A few days later, India retaliated by firing rockets into a remote part of Pakistan. The White House called for Pakistan to end its support of Kashmiri “terrorists.”

International news outlets, relying mainly on India and Pakistan analysts to explain Kashmir, distorted the reality on the ground. The New York Times, for one, noted that “an insurgency that was once stoked by Pakistan may have taken on a life of its own, as Kashmiris become more disenfranchised and angry at the central government in Delhi and its use of force.” According to the Times, as well as The Washington Post, the BBC, and other outlets, Kashmir is a “disputed territory”; the attack was Pakistan’s doing rather than part of a long history of regional uprisings. These reports—framed, as Kashmir stories have been for decades, in geopolitical terms, as a rivalry between India and Pakistan—failed to recognize the political struggle led by locals, who have rarely seen their home covered from their point of view. “The Kashmiri narrative doesn’t exist at all,” Feroz Rather, a Kashmiri fiction-writer, told me, “because the two states have held it hostage.”

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Soon after the Pulwama attack, several members of the Kashmir diaspora sought to change that. Hafsa Kanjwal, an assistant professor of South Asian and Kashmir history at Lafayette College, got on the phone with about a dozen friends and colleagues: How could they amplify the idea that Kashmir wasn’t just in crisis when India-Pakistan tensions were high, that Kashmir has been in a state of war with India for years? Together, they formed Stand With Kashmir, a group that aims to center the Kashmiri perspective, in part by encouraging journalists to quote more local voices. “We are trying to push that there was already an indigenous uprising,” Kanjwal told me.

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Kaul described Kashmir as a “mobilizing issue” for the Hindu Right. The hostility has been advanced by online trolls who attack anyone in the press trying to represent the voices of Kashmiris. Reporters and academics have observed that the Modi government and his party uses social-media trolls to target Kashmiris who might be seen as sympathetic to the independence movement. In 2016, Facebook accounts of several Kashmiri activists who lived outside of the region were suspended, or saw posts deleted, after Facebook received complaints that they violated community standards. Modi’s government has, in the past, requested that Twitter block hundreds of users for “objectionable content.” Since it was created earlier this month, Stand With Kashmir’s Instagram account has been suspended four times.
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Over the past few weeks, Kanjwal, Kaul, and Trisal have been accused of erasing the history of Kashmiri Hindus or of being terrorist sympathizers, because of articles they’ve written, lectures they’ve given, even for tweets they’ve liked. Kanjwal described this month as a “pivotal moment,” both for Kashmir and the world’s awareness of the situation there. Writing for The Washington Post, she called India’s move the “beginnings of a settler colonial project in Kashmir,” comparing the dynamic to that of Israel and Palestine.
Riaz Haq said…
US Congressman @RepAndyLevin on #Kashmir: #Modi’s actions speak to broader, global concern: the increased acceptance of anti-#Muslim bigotry and dangers posed by ethnonationalists like Narendra #Modi, Jair #Bolsonaro, Benjamin #Netanyahu and Donald #Trump https://link.medium.com/BxHQJbUkyZ

I first visited India in 1978, fresh out of high school. I traveled widely with my dad, who was then Assistant Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development. We visited, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Agra, in addition to the neighboring countries of Nepal and Bangladesh.
The impact on me was immediate, overwhelming, and literally life-changing. I fell in love with India. When I went to college, I became a religion major with a focus on the Buddhist philosophy of India and Tibet. I went back again and again, spending a year in Utter Pradesh during college and a summer in Karnataka and traveling around — including in Kashmir and Ladakh — during graduate school.
In a beautiful country where there is so much to experience, I was struck most of all by its religious pluralism and raucous democratic culture. Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists — different peoples living together under one democracy. Imperfect, to be sure, but still a remarkable example of overwhelmingly peaceful coexistence amidst superrich diversity.
The India of Narendra Modi is not the India I fell in love with.
Prime Minister Modi, a Hindu nationalist, earlier this month made good on a campaign promise to strip Muslim-majority Kashmir of the privileged status it has held under India’s constitution for 70 years. In revoking the contested region’s autonomy, Prime Minister Modi may have broken Indian law. He has trampled democratic norms and fundamental human rights. And he has heightened long-simmering tensions between India and Pakistan, both nuclear-armed powers.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has hinted that this could have dire consequences, warning, “if the world does not act today…(if) the developed world does not uphold its own laws, then things will go to a place that we will not be responsible for.” The threat of renewed violence between India and Pakistan is, of course, deeply troubling. And Pakistan’s human rights violations also demand attention.
But Modi’s actions speak to a broader, global concern: the increased acceptance of anti-Muslim bigotry and the dangers posed by ethnonationalists like Narendra Modi, Jair Bolsonaro, Benjamin Netanyahu and Donald Trump.
Modi’s moves with respect to Kashmir, while alarming, do not come out of left field. After all, in 2005, the Bush Administration denied Modi entry into the United States on account of his failure, as chief minister of the state of Gujarat, to intervene during a 2002 outbreak of horrific violence against Muslims. Approximately 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed. A New York Times report published that year noted that Modi “offered no consolation to the state’s Muslims and expressed satisfaction with his government’s performance. His only regret, he said, was that he did not handle the news media better.”
Modi’s record on violence against Muslims hasn’t improved with time.
Earlier this year, Human Rights Watch published a report detailing “a violent vigilante campaign against beef consumption and those deemed linked to it” in India, where many Hindus consider the cow sacred. Nearly 50 people, mostly Muslims, were killed as part of this campaign between May 2015 and December 2018. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) hasn’t helped matters; according to the report, “police often stalled prosecutions of the attackers, while several BJP politicians publicly justified the attacks.” Perpetrators are so secure in their belief that they’ll face no consequences that they post videos of beatings on social media. Sadly, their certainty has proven justified.
Riaz Haq said…
#India's #economic growth plunges to 6-year low of 5%, the weakest growth rate recorded under #Modi, who first swept to power 5 years ago promising to take India's #economy to new heights and create millions of #jobs every year. #AchheDin #BJP #Hindutva https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/30/economy/india-gdp-economy/index.html

India's economic slump risks becoming a crisis, with growth plunging to levels not seen since Prime Minister Narendra Modi was elected in 2014 on a promise to turn the country into a global powerhouse.

Gross domestic product grew by just 5% in the three months to June, according to government data released Friday. That compares with growth of 8% in the same period last year. It was also a huge drop from growth of 5.8% recorded the previous quarter.
The data mean Asia's third biggest economy is now growing at its slowest pace in over six years.
It's also the weakest growth rate recorded under Modi, who first swept to power five years ago promising to take India's economy to new heights and create millions of jobs every year.


But the downward spiral has now lasted a year, and India faces a steep road to recovery.

Several sectors of the economy have been struggling in recent months — the country's automotive industry has already shed hundreds of thousands of jobs, and consumer goods companies like Unilever (UL) are reportedly slashing prices because of slowing demand.
Since winning re-election by a landslide in May, Modi and his government have scrambled to boost the economy. A week ago, India unveiled tax breaks for startups, cheaper home and car loans, and an injection of 700 billion rupees ($9.8 billion) into state-run banks, among other measures.
A few days later, the government followed with an announcement that rules on foreign investment would be eased, opening up India's huge coal industry. It also said it would relax local sourcing regulations that have blocked companies like Apple (AAPL) and other global retailers from opening stores.
Another move came Friday just before the dire quarterly growth figures were released. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that 10 of India's state-run banks would be merged into four to boost lending to business.
No quick fix
Analysts say a lot more needs to be done.
"[The] government is taking steps to mitigate the difficulties faced by the economy but these measures will play out only in the medium term," Devendra Pant, chief economist at Fitch subsidiary India Ratings and Research, said in a statement after the figures were released. "There is no quick fix solution to the downturn which has been in the making for past few years."
Modi is getting help from the central bank, the Reserve Bank of India. It has slashed interest rates four times since the start of 2019 — bringing them to their lowest level in nine years — and earlier this week transferred excess reserves of around $25 billion to the government.
Pant said he expects "at least one more rate cut ... to boost demand."
Riaz Haq said…
#India excludes nearly 2 million people from Assam citizen list. #India has passed law that grants citizenship to people who moved to India from #Bangladesh, #Pakistan and #Afghanistan as recently as 6 years ago - as long as they are not #Muslim @AJENews https://aje.io/8e6fs

Nearly two million people have been excluded from a list of citizens in India's northeastern Assam state, raising fears they could be rendered stateless.

The list, known as the National Register of Citizens (NRC), was published on Saturday after a years-long exercise aimed at identifying legal residents in the impoverished border state.

A total of 31.1 million people were included in the final list, leaving out 1.9 million people, according to a statement from the Assam government.

"The entire process of NRC update has been meticulously carried out in an objective and transparent manner. Adequate opportunity of being heard has been given to all persons at every stage of the process. The entire process is conducted as per statutory provisions and due procedure followed at every stage," it said.

The government said it carried out the mammoth exercise to detect and deport undocumented immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh, but critics viewed the exercise as an attempt to deport millions of Muslims, who make up a third of the state's population.

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The BJP governs Assam and critics say the NRC process reflects the BJP's goal to serve only people of the Hindu faith.

In January, India's lower house passed legislation that grants citizenship to people who moved to India from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan as recently as six years ago - as long as they are not Muslims.

Critics say the BJP was planning to pass new legislation to help Hindus who have been excluded from the NRC get Indian citizenship.

Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah, Modi's right-hand-man, has called for the ejection of "termites" and said before the BJP's thumping re-election victory in May that it would "run a countrywide campaign to send back the infiltrators".

Samujjal Bhattacharya from the All Assam Students' Union, a key driver of the NRC, said the register was necessary to protect Assam's indigenous "sons of the soil".

"We are not ready to live here like second-class citizens in our own motherland," he said.
Riaz Haq said…
Dear PM #Modi, #India's #Economy Needs Strong Policies & Not Headlines. #Manufacturing from growing more than 12% in the same time last year, to stalling at 0.6% now. #Car sales have crashed to 20-year lows. #Indian Central Bank: "our economy is ‘grim.’" Every village idiot knows the way out of income slowdown is meaningful economic policy, not blocking communication lines in the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir or listing 2 million Assamese as ‘illegals’.
https://www.thequint.com/voices/opinion/indian-economy-gdp-growth-slowdown-reforms

In a stadium in New Delhi, on August 29, prime minister Narendra Modi said, "Whether it is the boardroom or Bollywood, whoever is fit touches the sky. If the body is fit, the mind is hit."

The banality, of course, is par for anybody who has lent an ear to Mr Modi for nearly a decade. But cruel reality check hit India less than 24 hours later.

In separate missives, the official statistical department released data that said India’s economy was in dire straits: growth during the (first) April-June quarter, was 5%, the lowest since 2014-15 when Modi stormed to power.

At the time, he accused the previous, Manmohan Singh-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA-II) of pouring sand in the machinery of work, wealth and aspiration. Modi promised achhe din, or better days, ahead. That has proved to be a mirage.

Manufacturing, around 16% of India’s economy has collapsed: from growing more than 12% in the same time last year, to stalling at 0.6% now. Car sales have crashed to 20-year lows. Manufacturing responds to demand from either consumption or investment.

Consumption, now around 60% of the economy, has also fallen: sales of low-cost biscuits to innerwear are down. Incomes of around 70% of Indians who depend on farm and farm-related activity grew barely 2% in Q1, compared to 5.1% in the year-ago period.

The growth of construction, which employs much of India’s vast army of ‘unorganised’ workforce has nearly halved, from 9.6% to 5.7%.

Meanwhile, on Thursday India’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), reported its own take on the economy. It says our economic scene is ‘grim.’ Stripped of jargon, this is what it says: Sometimes, economies go through happy or bad times, depending on peoples’ moods and how well the rest of the world is behaving.

Also Read : The road to $5 trillion economy with 5% growth rate?

Where Are Meaningful Economic Reforms?
This can be set right with shock reform, changes in tax or interest rates, buying and selling government debt, manipulating currency trades. Intended goal: to break out of a ‘cyclical’ downturn. Otherwise, economies can choke on bigger problems, for example a lack of functioning markets in farm produce which causes 40% of the stuff to rot, or the absence of banks in the hinterland, which forces people to borrow from moneylenders at cut-throat rates. Policy wonks classify these failures as structural hassles.

Every village idiot knows the way out of income slowdown is meaningful economic policy, not blocking communication lines in the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir or listing 2 million Assamese as ‘illegals’.

But the Modi government has reacted to the crisis with, first, blather: “The government is alive to the situation and has taken several measures on the slowdown of Indian economy. The slowdown in growth is due to endogenous and exogenous factors,” said Krishnamurthy Subramanian, our top sarkari economist.

Now, Subramanian isn’t the brightest lightbulb in the room, but his words must reflect something about the regime’s willingness to battle an economic crisis. So far, an Alfred E Neumanesque, “What, me worry?”
Riaz Haq said…
#Kashmir Is a Dress Rehearsal for #Hindu Nationalist Fantasies. The joy stems from the humiliation of Kashmir’s #Muslims for daring to be different and the thought that this is a warning signal to all of #India’s Muslims. #BJP #Modi #Hindutva #Fascism https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/08/08/kashmir-is-a-dress-rehearsal-for-hindu-nationalist-fantasies/

Activists chanted in the center of Ranchi, the capital of the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand and my parental city: “Kashmir azaad ho gaya aaj” (“Kashmir has been freed today”). The activists were celebrating the deathblow to Jammu and Kashmir’s autonomy struck by India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Aug. 5. They were not the only ones; much of the Indian public shared their vulgar joy.

It’s not the assimilation of Kashmir—whose autonomy in practice has long disappeared, diluted over the decades by military and bureaucratic means from the center—that brings this excitement. It’s not even the thought of giving the finger to India’s old archenemy, Pakistan, for daring to court U.S. President Donald Trump over Kashmir. The joy stems from the humiliation of Kashmir’s Muslims for daring to be different and the thought that this is a warning signal to all of India’s Muslims that the Hindu body politic is resurgent and unstoppable.

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The brutal swiftness of the move has shown that through the use of a narrative of national security, the BJP can break opposition parties and secure overwhelming parliamentary support, spur its grassroots workers, and keep the jingoist media on board.

The brutal swiftness of the move has shown that through the use of a narrative of national security, the BJP can break opposition parties and secure overwhelming parliamentary support, spur its grassroots workers, and keep the jingoist media on board.The widespread support for this act of constitutional vandalism shows that there is little hope of checking the BJP on other divisive domestic issues, such as the building of a grand temple to the Hindu god Ram on the site of the former Babri Mosque and taking away the existing rights of religious minorities to be governed by distinct personal laws on family matters including marriage and inheritance.
Riaz Haq said…
Arundhati Roy: "If #Indians believe it was ok for #India to militarily intervene in #EastPakistan (now #Bangladesh) in 1971, why is it not ok for #Pakistan to do the same in #Indian Occupied #Kashmir" #Modi #BJP | Upfront https://youtu.be/Bh7M3ryozb0 via @YouTube
Riaz Haq said…
#Trump's silence on #Kashmir sends a dangerous signal. #Modi and #Netanyahu willing to resort to incendiary and threatening language against the #Muslim. And both are abetted by the active support — or telling silence — of Trump. #Hindutva #BJP #India https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2019-08-29/india-kashmir-modi-trump-russia-putin-israel-netanyahu

Just when we thought we’d seen every trick in the illiberal democratic playbook, along comes a particularly unnerving new one: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to remove the long-standing autonomy of Kashmir, the northern region at the heart of India’s 70-year dispute with its western neighbor, Pakistan.

The region was awarded to India during the 1947 partition that divided the subcontinent into two new states, India and Pakistan. But according to Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, the state of Jammu and Kashmir was to be granted autonomy over most governance issues, aside from defense and foreign affairs. Article 370 was largely honored until early this month, when Indian President Ram Nath Kovind, a member of the BJP party of Modi, followed up on the prime minister’s crackdown with a series of orders revoking the state’s autonomy.

Overnight, Kashmir’s historic status was lifted, and a communications blackout was imposed. Since then, thousands of Kashmiris have been arrested by Indian federal authorities.

There is, of course, a backstory to the Indian government’s actions. Muslims constitute nearly 70% of the population of the state and, therefore, represent a constant irritant and threat to the Hindu nationalists of Modi’s BJP, who aspire to achieve ethnic purity in India. Now that Modi has consolidated power with a landslide election in 2019, he is moving rapidly and boldly toward realizing the BJP vision of a Hindu India — one that bears little relation to the vision laid out in India’s Constitution, which guarantees justice, liberty, equality and fraternity to all.

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Now, Modi has followed suit in Kashmir. While the world’s attention was fixed on a host of other vexing issues — mass shootings in America, Brexit chaos, and climate change, to mention a few — Indian troops swept in, ostensibly to ensure security and prosperity to the restive area. The world has barely uttered a peep.

Given the ineffective response, first with Crimea and now with Kashmr, it may only be a matter of time before another of the illiberal squad strikes. Netanyahu, currently immersed in a fateful election campaign, might decide, say, to annex the West Bank.

The parallels between the Israeli-Palestinian situation and that of India and Kashmir are striking. Both are byproducts of attempted partitions after British imperial rule. Both Kashmir and the West Bank contain populations deemed hostile and undesirable by the ethnic purists in their respective countries. Both Modi and Netanyahu have shown themselves to be willing to resort to incendiary and threatening language against the Muslim populations in their midst. And both are abetted by the active support — or telling silence — of Trump.

What would Trump do if Netanyahu went ahead with his periodic pledge to annex the West Bank and its nearly 3 million Palestinians? Would he and his fellow illiberals sit back and crow that this is the new way of the world?

Perhaps so, and that is why the rest of us must rise up in protest each time illiberal leaders attempt to expand their powers in illegal and undemocratic ways. We must support civil society organizations that fight for the equality of their countries’ citizens, regardless of race or ethnicity. And we must insist that democratic countries honor the noble principles enshrined in their constitutions and other founding documents, for they are the best antidote to the xenophobia, racism and discrimination of today’s illiberalism.

David N. Myers teaches Jewish history at UCLA, where he directs the Luskin Center for History and Policy. He is also president of the board of the New Israel Fund.
Riaz Haq said…
#Indian nationhood: a #masculine fantasy. In the #Hindutva imagination, while the #Kashmiri #Muslim man is the ‘Other’, Kashmiri Muslim #women are objects of fantasy. #Modi #BJP https://www.telegraphindia.com/opinion/indian-nationhood-a-masculine-fantasy/cid/1702112?ref=more-from-opinion_story-page&fbclid=IwAR0bjZXvQKqzhV0zNyim9gTpOMsvD_wZdBrbO7v-azDJ4J9CWeXJSdSIJjY

A nation is not conquered until the hearts of its women are on the ground. Only then is it done, no matter how brave its warriors nor how strong its weapons — A saying among the Cheyenne, an indigenous people in America.

Since the abrogation of Article 370, there has been much naked gloating about Kashmir’s ‘annexation’ in the rest of the nation. Even more disturbing has been the explosion of misogynistic jokes about Kashmiri women on Indian social media.

The entire discussion around Kashmir has reduced it to a political and economic issue. In doing so, what we miss is that nation states are violent masculine projects, and that they are played out on the bodies of women. In this way, they mimic the logic of colonialism, marked by patriarchy and sexual violence. This is ironic because nation states like India have been founded by defeating colonialism.

The sexual fantasies that have been unleashed around Kashmir —the top Google searches in India immediately after August 5 were ‘marry Kashmir girl’ and ‘Kashmiri girls’ — are thus not innocent. They are misogynistic. But they are also deeply tied to the political arena of nation-state building. The flurry of videos on TikTok and Facebook by men declaring that they will marry Kashmiri women — something that a Bharatiya Janata Party lawmaker openly asked his party workers to do — or buy property in Kashmir, are also linked to the larger ‘nationalistic’ goal of changing the demographics of Muslim-majority Kashmir.


Of course, the women are not humans, with voice and agency, but are reduced to the status of material property. It does not matter what Kashmiri women think about marrying all these men. This is what is reflected in the BJP lawmaker’s supreme confidence and the resounding applause with which his exhortation was met with.
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Yet, we cannot trivialize these fantasies, for the consequences of nationalism and State-building for ‘others’ who do not fit neatly into them are real and terrible. That is why the entire focus has only been on how Kashmiris have been unjustly getting special privileges at the cost of the rest of India, and not on what it means to live in the most militarized zone in the world.

Women in particular are affected, for they are subjected to not only the patriarchy of the nation state but also the patriarchy of their own community. It is important to remember here that the women of the Kashmiri villages of Kunan and Poshpora, raped allegedly by the armed forces, are yet to receive justice even after 28 years of the crime. Human right violations and extra-judicial killings have occurred under the cover of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act not only in Kashmir but also in other theatres of recalcitrance like Manipur.

Justice is also yet to be delivered in the brutal rape and fake encounter killing of Thangjam Manorama despite the order of an interim compensation by the Supreme Court. The killing had led to an unprecedented protest by Manipuri women in the nude. In 2014, a judicial panel in Manipur noted that “Crimes against women, more particularly relating to sexual harassment committed by armed forces, are now increasing in some states like ours.”

It is time to recognize that sexuality and gender power, often taking violent forms, are as much a part of nationalism and nation-state building as their political and economic aspects. In the Hindutva nationalist imagination, while the Kashmiri Muslim man is the ‘Other’, Kashmiri Muslim women become objects of fantasy.
Riaz Haq said…
Why must #Trump mediate in #Kashmir crisis and help resolve it. #Washington Times - Politics, Breaking News, US and World News by Jack Rosen, American Jewish Committee

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/sep/2/why-us-must-mediate-kashmir-under-nuclear-shadow/


You don’t have to be Jewish to know that land disputes between nations can be volatile and intractable things. Today, one such dispute finds two nuclear powers facing off, and its resolution — in which one-fifth of the world’s population hangs in the balance — is in President Trump’s power to shape.

One year before Israel was born, an autonomous region known as Kashmir came into being, a result of the end of the British Empire in India and the establishment of a neighboring Muslim-majority nation called Pakistan. And since that day in 1947, India and Pakistan have been in conflict over Kashmir, which lies between them. Two weeks ago, India announced that it would abandon Kashmir’s autonomous status and moved quickly to further militarize the region, creating a virtual blackout of information and electricity for millions of residents.

Kashmir is a delicate issue that the United States and the United Nations, as well as India and Pakistan, have worked hard to balance over the years, especially given the nuclear stakes. India’s move is thus a break with this tradition of diplomatic even-handedness and military restraint. If the lessons of Israel-Palestine teach us anything, it is that blunt, unilateral force is not a true solution but a path to conflict and war. Indeed, pressure is building upon the Indian and Pakistani leadership to take decisive action.

Given that India and Pakistan are both nuclear powers, escalation of tensions between the two countries is incredibly dangerous. Just last month, President Trump, in a meeting with new Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, offered to personally mediate the dispute.

America is now in a complicated position on the issue. We have forged trading and security alliances with both India and Pakistan over the decades. Each country has a large diaspora in the United States. While nuanced diplomacy has ensured that the United States has not faced a zero-sum game between the two, it is time the United States use its moral and strategic leverage to get both sides to the table to address the issue of Kashmir once and for all. There are humanitarian, legal and security interests in such intervention.



The first step is for the United States to convince India to return to the status-quo-ante: the Line of Control prior to the recent crackdown. That step will build confidence, calm simmering tensions, respect long-standing international agreements and create room for negotiations. Those negotiations — given the scale and gravity of the Kashmir issue — must be mediated and multilateral. Indeed, until President Trump’s offer to mediate, the dispute has festered as a bilateral standoff.

The most immediate benefit to talks will be to the the 12 million people of Kashmir, who continue to suffer. Their plight must be addressed and a number of international organizations like the United Nations and NGOs such as Amnesty International are sounding the alarm bell over human right violations — including persecution of minorities — in the region. Peace between India and Pakistan means security for them and the possibility to at last develop and grow.

It would be hard not to see the applicability of Israel-Palestine. Like Kashmir, this delicate piece of land the size of New Jersey hangs in a balance maintained by international organizations, the United States, and neighboring countries. The U.N. Partition Plan for Palestine sought to give self-determination to two groups, the Jewish people and Palestinian Arabs, in a region that had chafed under British and Ottoman rule.
Riaz Haq said…
Analysis: A moment of reckoning for Indian Americans
Varghese K. GeorgeSEPTEMBER 06, 2019 15:50 IST
UPDATED: SEPTEMBER 06, 2019 17:46 IST
SHARE ARTICLE 0PRINTA A A

Influential Hindutva voices in America have turned against Democrats, and are moving closer to the Trump camp
After Indian American engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla was killed by a white nationalist in Kansas in February 2017, it took several weeks before the new President, Donald Trump, condemned it, only obliquely still, upsetting the community. Democrat Bernie Sanders instantly came out in support of the family and the community, and said the President’s rhetoric on immigration led to the murder.

As campaign for the 2020 presidential election picks up, a dominant section of the Indian Americans linked to Hindutva politics is gunning for Mr. Sanders and aligning with the nationalist politics of Mr. Trump, for their respective positions on Kashmir. This rapidly evolving realignment will polarise the community and could alter the basis of India-U.S. ties.

Indian Americans have largely been supporters of the Democratic Party to which all five U.S. lawmakers of Indian origin also belong. Democrats have been more supportive of immigration and religious and cultural rights of the minorities. The simultaneous rise of nationalism in India and America, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mr. Trump, had put the community in a paradoxical situation, as they were largely jubilant about Hindutva in India while being at the receiving end of nationalism in their adopted land.


The Kashmir factor
Kuchibotla himself was an ardent fan of Mr. Modi’s sweeping Hindutva politics as his wife related after this murder. Not only Mr. Sanders, but Democrats such as Congressman from Silicon Valley Ro Khanna, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal and several other friends of India and Indian Americans have denounced Hindutva politics in the wake of the prolonged lockdown of Jammu and Kashmir following the unilateral end to its autonomy.

“India’s behaviour is unacceptable,” said Mr. Sanders.

Mr. Khanna, grandson of a freedom fighter and a member of the first Parliament of India, said, “It’s the duty of every American politician of Hindu faith to stand for pluralism, reject Hindutva, and speak for equal rights for Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists and Christians.”

Influential Hindutva voices in America have turned against these Democrats, and accused them of pro-Pakistan sympathies and being in the spell of anti-India, Muslim advisers. Mr. Trump does not sweat over India’s Kashmir policy barring its impact on his own plans for an American military withdrawal from Afghanistan. His tirade against immigrants, particularly the Indian techies notwithstanding, the Hindutva sections had found his bluster against Muslims appealing. Kashmir has brought them closer to Mr. Trump and their journey to his camp could be completed ahead of the 2020 Presidential election. There are many ironies in this, but this might end one central paradox of Hindutva-leaning Indian American politics that has been sympathetic to religious majoritarianism and cultural supremacism in India while demanding religious and cultural rights in America.

Political realignment
The dualism of Indian-American politics has now become unsustainable as Democratic leaders find it increasingly impossible to side with Mr. Modi as he advances the Hindutva agenda. Many of these friends of India were mislead, and had misread Mr. Modi’s politics and they interpreted his success in 2014 as a turn in Indian politics towards more neo-liberal reforms and globalism. Such an image of Mr. Modi was also projected by Indian diplomacy in America. But one American thinker, who interpreted Mr. Modi’s victory as a nativist revolt against a global elite, was none other than Stephen Bannon, the most authentic interpreter of Mr. Trump’s nationalist politics. Mr. Bannon has also been particularly a critic of the H-1B visa and Indian-American immigration. That the Indian Ambassador to the...
Riaz Haq said…
#Hindutva Group of 100 protests outside #WashingtonPost's office over its coverage of #Indian Occupied #Kashmir. Post's response: “The Post’s coverage of #India’s actions in Kashmir since the Aug. 5 crackdown has been fair, accurate and comprehensive" . https://wapo.st/2N3MPPK?tid=ss_tw

About 100 people demonstrated outside The Washington Post’s building on Saturday to protest its coverage of the recent crisis in India’s Kashmir region.

Vijay K. Sazawal, a protest organizer, said he believes The Post’s reporting has been overly sympathetic to Kashmir’s Muslim-majority community while overlooking the concerns of Hindus and other minorities who live there.

“The point The Post has consistently failed to recognize is the injustice that has been done to the minorities of Kashmir by the majority community, which is the Muslim community,” said Saza­wal, international coordinator for the Indo-American Kashmir Forum. “You don’t recognize, we have been ethnically cleansed from the Kashmir Valley in the past 20 years.”

A smaller group of counterdemonstrators gathered nearby.

“The Post’s coverage of India’s actions in Kashmir since the Aug. 5 crackdown has been fair, accurate and comprehensive — at a time when India has imposed tight restrictions on the flow of information and has severely limited access by our journalists trying to cover this important story,” Post Foreign Editor Douglas Jehl said.

Last month, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, following a path long advocated by Hindu nationalists, revoked a measure of Kashmir’s autonomy and imposed a communications blackout over the majority-Muslim region and detained thousands of people, including politicians and activists. The move, breaking with decades of history, has affected millions in the region.

Critics called the prime minister’s action unconstitutional and warned that the crackdown would backfire by stirring violent protest and separatist passions. Although India’s government has said the situation has eased in recent days, the Kashmir valley is still cut off without Internet or mobile phone service. Stores have closed in protest, and nearly all of the region’s political leadership is under arrest.
Riaz Haq said…
#PallavBagla #India Loses Contact With #Chandrayaan2 #Vikram Moon Lander During Its Descent. “This is all about national (#Hindutva) pride,’’ said Pallava Bagla, co-author of a book about #Indian space exploration and a dedicated space journalist #Modi https://nyti.ms/34qTx7H

India’s attempt to land a robotic spacecraft near the moon’s South Pole on Saturday appeared to end in failure.

The initial parts of the descent went smoothly. But less than two miles above the surface, the trajectory diverged from the planned path. The mission control room fell silent as communications from the lander were lost. A member of the staff was seen patting the back of K. Sivan, the director of India’s space program.

He later announced that the spacecraft was operating as expected until an altitude of 2.1 kilometers, or 1.3 miles. “The data is being analyzed,” he said.

The partial failure of the Chandrayaan-2 mission — an orbiter remains in operation — would delay the country’s bid to join an elite club of nations that have landed in one piece on the moon’s surface.

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An Israeli nonprofit sent a small robotic spacecraft named Beresheet to the moon, but its landing attempt in April went awry in a manner similar to Chandrayaan-2. The initial descent went as planned, but then communications were lost near the surface. It was later discovered that a command to shut off the engine was incorrectly sent.

Chandrayaan-2 launched in July, taking a long, fuel-efficient path to the moon. Earlier this week, the 3,200-pound lander, named Vikram after Vikram A. Sarabhai, the father of the Indian space program, separated from the orbiter and maneuvered toward the moon’s surface.

Fifteen minutes before the planned landing, the Vikram lander was traveling at more than 2,000 miles per hour at an altitude of about 20 miles. Four of its engines fired to quickly slow it down as it headed toward its landing site on a high, flat plain near the South Pole. Later in the landing process, it appeared that Vikram was descending too fast and then data from the spacecraft ended.

The moon is littered with the remains of spacecraft that have tried and failed to land in one piece. Two American craft, from the robotic Surveyor series that helped blaze the trail for Apollo, crashed in the 1960s. Several probes from the Soviet Luna program also collided with the moon’s surface.

Applause swept through viewing parties in Bangalore for most of the lander’s descent. At the command center, scientists rose to their feet as they tracked the mission’s progress. When communication was abruptly lost, Sathya Narayanan, 21, an educator with Astroport, a group in Bangalore that spreads awareness about astronomy, said his heart dropped.

“At this point, it is a partial failure,” he said. “We will push until the end.”

While the mission may briefly soften the muscular nationalism espoused by Mr. Modi, whose government is already facing challenges from job losses and international criticism of his recent moves in the disputed territory of Kashmir, the prime minister tried to reframe Saturday’s landing attempt as an opportunity for improvement in brief remarks after contact was lost.

Hours later and back at the space center in Bangalore, the prime minister greeted the scientists, engineers and staff of the space agency after delivering a motivational speech that was broadcast nationally in India. He stopped short of stating explicitly that the lander had failed.

“We came very close, but we will need to cover more ground in the times to come,” he said.

Later in his address, Mr. Modi added, “As important as the final result is the journey and the effort. I can proudly say that the effort was worth it and so was the journey.”

Space has become a popular topic in India.
Riaz Haq said…
#Beijing backs #Pakistan amid #Kashmir tensions. #China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi: “No matter how the situation in the region changes, China will firmly support the Pakistani side in safeguarding sovereignty, dignity and territorial integrity.” #India https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3026308/beijing-gives-pakistan-its-backing-amid-rising-kashmir

The two countries are ‘all-weather’ partners with a rock-solid relationship, Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi says
Balancing India’s influence and promoting the Beijing-funded China-Pakistan Economic Corridor are among their common interests

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi has pledged support to Pakistan and described the two countries as “all-weather” partners as Beijing moves to protect its regional interests amid tensions with India.
Wang met Pakistani army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa in the Pakistan capital Islamabad, where they had an “in-depth exchange of views on bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest”, Chinese state news agency Xinhua said on Monday.

“No matter how the situation in the region changes, China will firmly support the Pakistani side in safeguarding sovereignty, dignity and territorial integrity,” Wang, who began a four-day trip to Pakistan and Nepal on Saturday, was quoted as saying.
“[China] firmly supports the Pakistani government in achieving national stability and development and prosperity, and firmly supports Pakistan to play a more constructive role in regional and international affairs,” Wang said, referring to the two countries as “all-weather strategic partners” with “rock-solid” relations.


Wang’s comments come amid fresh tensions between Islamabad and New Delhi over Kashmir. India decided last month to strip the Jammu and Kashmir autonomous state of its special status and break it into two federally controlled territories, which China said infringed its territorial integrity.

Both India and Pakistan claim the whole of Kashmir, which was partitioned between the two after the end of British rule in 1948, and have fought wars over the territory.

China has formally backed Pakistan’s request for the United Nations Security Council to hold “closed consultations” on the revoking of the state’s autonomy.
India is also involved in the Indo-Pacific strategy led by the United States, which Beijing views as a containment strategy to hinder China’s military expansion.

Wang stressed that China and Pakistan should cooperate to secure their common economic interests.
“The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor [CPEC] is a long-term development plan for Pakistan,” Wang said. “The Pakistani military has made unremitting efforts in corridor construction, especially security.”
Riaz Haq said…
Amit Shah's #Hindi push sparks outrage among state leaders, #TamilNadu's Stalin, #Karnataka's Kumaraswamy join attack after Union Home Minister Amit Shah advocated Hindi as #India India’s national #language #HindiDiwas2019 #Modi #Hindutva https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/hindi-amit-shah-national-language-outrage-stalin-kumaraswamy-1599106-2019-09-14 via @indiatoday

HIGHLIGHTS
Opposition trains guns on Union minister Amit Shah after he says Hindi can unite the whole country
Asking Amit Shah to reconsider his appeal, Opposition says Hindi imposition could affect the unity of India
On Hindi Diwas, Amit Shah had earlier said efforts will be made to expand Hindi to different parts of India
Union Home Minister Amit Shah's call to unify India with the help of Hindi language has not gone well with the Opposition leaders who have asked the minister to "reconsider" his appeal.

Leading the charge, DMK chief MK Stalin on Saturday registered protest against "imposition of Hindi" saying comments made by the Union minister could affect the unity of India.

In response to Amit Shah's push for Hindi as India's national language, Stalin said the Union minister should reconsider his decision. "We have been continuously waging protest against imposition of Hindi. Today's remarks made by Amit Shah gave us a jolt, it will affect the unity of the country. We demand that he takes his statement back," Stalin said on Saturday.

Hitting out at the BJP, Amit Shah said India's greatest strength is this diversity that brings together diverse states but the BJP is in the midst of distorting and destroying this.

On Amit Shah's remark that India needed one landuage, Stalin said in a statement, "If the national language is the most widely spoken Hindi, then the most flying bird in India, crow, should have been the national bird of India, this was our leaders Anna's stand. From that day, DMK has worked hard to protest Tamil language."

Asking the Prime Minister to clarify his position, Stalin said, "There is an attempt to impose Hindi dividing the spirit of our country (unity in diversity). The DMK is ready to defend the integrity of the country."

JD-S chief and former Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy also joined the attack against Amit Shah over 'imposition of Hindi'. "Across the country, Hindi Diwas is being celebrated. When will PM Modi celebrate Kannada diwas, which is also an official language according to the Constitution," Kumaraswamy asked.

WHAT DID AMIT SHAH SAY

On Hindi Diwas, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said widely spoken Hindi is the language which can keep India united as he made an appeal to unify India with Hindi. He also called for Hindi to be made the primary language, saying that it is necessary to have one to represent India.

"India is a country of different languages and every language has its own importance but it is very important to have a language which should become the identity of India in the world. If one language can unite the country today, it is the widely-spoken Hindi language," Amit Shah tweeted.

In another tweet, the home minister appealed the people to increase the usage of Hindi language to realise the dreams of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. "Today, on the occasion of Hindi Day, I appeal to all the citizens of the country that we should increase the use of our mother tongue and also use the Hindi language as one language to realise the dreams of Bapu and iron man Sardar Patel. Happy Hindi Day," Amit Shah said.
Ranjit Singh said…
Shias and Ahmadis were instrumental in the creation of Pakistan. In fact Jamaat e Islami was dead against the creation of Pakistan. Today both Shias and Ahmadis are considered as kafirs in Pakistan, and for this reason these groups have opted out of Jehadi freedom movement. Ms. Carin I guess you’re unaware that these were the same Jehadis who attacked Mumbai and derived the greatest pleasure in killing Americans and Jews. They attacked places where the Westerners stayed and hung out and the biggest price was the Jewish Center where they tortured and killed a young Jewish couple. Go to YouTube and just check the so called freedom fighters sent by Pakistan. Half of Kashmir is controlled by Pakistan and today there isn’t a
single Hindu, Sikh, or Christian left there and Pakistan wants to do the same on the Indian side of Kashmir. The Indian Kashmiri Police are mostly Muslims and there do not want to harm fellow Muslims, but the Jehadis have no compulsion in killing them. To me all religions are one and should be respected and every live matters.
Riaz Haq said…
RS: "Shias and Ahmadis were instrumental in the creation of Pakistan. In fact Jamaat e Islami was dead against the creation of Pakistan. Today both Shias and Ahmadis are considered as kafirs in Pakistan, and for this reason these groups have opted out of Jehadi freedom movement. "


Yes, there are sectarian groups in Pakistan but they are a small fringe. They do not have the kind of broad support that Hindutva groups and Modi enjoy in India. Shias in Pakistan are heavily represented at all levels in politics, government, bureaucracy, judiciary, military etc etc
Carin Fischer said…
Ranjit Singh:I lived in Kashmir for ten years until 2016. My views are very different from yours. I do not consider the armed rebellion in Kashmir terrorism or Jehad. In my view Kashmiris have every right to defend themselves against the Indian military occupation. Even the UN charter provides for that. What happened in Mumbai is very different and there was not a single Kashmiri who did not condemn it. Please do not discuss Kashmir with me. Freedom from India for Kashmiris is my only cause in life. I lived in India before moving Kashmir and have very strong views about its secularism and democracy. Naya India is so much worse than Pakistan T Also the JK Police have been the biggest killers since 2008 when the fight went to the streets. Don't talk to me about them. Take care.and please do not respond.
Ranjit Singh said…
Carin you may have lived in Kashmir, but do you know how the Kashmir issue started? In late 1947 Pakistan Army with Pathan tribals invaded Kashmir. They almost captured Srinagar and murdered every non Muslims they could lay their hands on. They even raped the nuns. In 1989 your friendly Jehadis murdered and
drove out about 300,000 Hindus from Kashmir valley. Just last year they murdered a prominent Muslim journalist. Indian Army entered Kashmir after Pakistan and the Indian Army is a defensive force meaning they are there just to guard against Pakistani aggression. Granted the Kashmiri Police has no clue in dealing with stone throwers. In Kashmir if the Jehadi Militants orders a shutdown do you know why people comply? Because they will be shot dead. In Western countries how many Hindus executed a terrorist attack? Do you know how many Pakistanis were involved in these attacks in USA? I have many Muslim friends and relatives and the Pakistan Army consists mostly of my clan, the Jats and Rajputs and I served in the USA Army unlike you I am not partial to any religion. Kashmiris are very nice people, but some of them have become very intolerant and this has driven the Hindus to become intolerant. I do not wish to change your view, but I living on the Pakistani side of Kashmir where Pakistani Army has very tight control. There is no article 370 on the Pakistani side. China and Pakistan are using Kashmiri land without giving Kashmiri any compensation. Kashmiri Militants have destroyed the tourist industry and no one wants to invest in Kashmir because of threats from Militants. Anyway, thanks for replying.
Riaz Haq said…
Ranjit Singh: In 1989 your friendly Jehadis murdered and drove out about 300,000 Hindus from Kashmir valley.


your story is one sided. It ignores what happened to Muslim majority in Jammu that gave rise to Muslim response in Kashmir

Selective #Hindutva narrative of #JammuAndKashmir about #KashmiriPandits ignores that #Jammu had #Muslim majority in 1947. Within weeks, riots and mass killings and forced migration of #Muslims turned it into a #Hindu-majority area
Opinion via @htTweets https://www.hindustantimes.com/columns/we-cannot-be-selective-about-the-past-in-j-k/story-ELfaDpC6UoAfMbBNQTgIsO.html

by Karan Thapar

"“Hindus and Sikhs of the Jammu area … apparently with at least the tacit consent of state authorities, have driven many thousands of their Muslim neighbours from their homes”. Citing Mahatma Gandhi, he asserts “some two hundred thousand are … not accounted for”. Christopher Snedden, in Kashmir: The Unwritten History, estimates between 70,000 and 237,000 Muslims were killed. Arjun Appaduri and Arien Mack in India’s World believe 200,000 could have been killed and a further 500,000 displaced. Last year, the columnist Swaminathan Aiyar wrote: “In sheer scale this far exceeded the ethnic cleansing of Pandits five decades later”. So why is a horror of this scale not remembered? Habibullah, who’s written about it in My Kashmir: The Dying of the Light, suggests two reasons. First, it occurred when communal riots and brutal massacres were happening right across northern India. In that bigger outrage, this smaller tragedy seems to have been forgotten. His second reason is intriguing. Sheikh Abdullah, then the undisputed leader of the Kashmir Valley, who one would have expected to draw attention to this massacre, deliberately chose to ignore it because the Muslims of Jammu did not support his National Conference, but leaned towards Jinnah’s Muslim League. The Sheikh’s politics seems to have silenced his conscience.""
Riaz Haq said…
Protest dharnas across #Indian Punjab in #Kashmir support | India News, The Indian Express

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/protest-dharnas-across-punjab-in-kashmirs-support-5998151/

The Kashmir National Struggle and Support Committee, formed by these organisations, had announced on Saturday that it will stage dharnas wherever its members are stopped by police. Posters put up for the Sunday rally have pictures of children with eye injuries from pellet guns.

Denied permission to organise a mega rally in Mohali and protest march to Chandigarh over the situation in J&K, 13 organisations under the banner of the Bharti Kisan Union (Ugrahan) on Sunday held protest dharnas in 14 districts, blocking various highways leading to the state capital.

The organisations had held several district-level protests across the state earlier this month over the Centre’s decision to scrap Article 370 of the Constitution, which granted special status to J&K.

Punjab has witnessed several agitations against the revoking of Article 370.

The Kashmir National Struggle and Support Committee, formed by these organisations, had announced on Saturday that it will stage dharnas wherever its members are stopped by police. Posters put up for the Sunday rally have pictures of children with eye injuries from pellet guns.

Dharnas were organised at Bhucho Mandi, Rampura and Talwandi Sabo in Bathinda area blocking the Bathinda- Chandigarh highway after buses full of protestors going to Chandigarh were stopped midway. In Barnala, a dharna was organised on the Barnala-Chandigarh road near Badbar area.

Two other agitations were staged along the Moga-Barnala road near Himmatpura and the Dharamkot-Ludhiana road near Kishanpura area. In Mansa, a dharna was held on the Mansa intersection, the Barnala-Mansa state highway, in Muktsar, Faridkot, Sangrur, Ludhiana, Patiala etc. State highways were blocked from 10 am to 2 pm.

‘Don’t understand why state govt changed its stand’
“Protestors from Amritsar and Gurdaspur managed to reach till Ropar, where they were stopped and hence they staged dharna on the Ropar-Chandigarh state highway from 10 am to 2 pm. Likewise, dharnas were also held at Kurali, outskirts of Mohali, as people were stopped from entering Mohali,” Sukhdev Singh Kokri Kalan, general secretary of BKU (Ugrahan) told The Indian Express. “We were allowed to hold rallies and protest marches in Bathinda, Jalandhar, Amritsar, Gurdaspur etc. on September 10, and took out a protest march from Bathinda city as well. Hence we felt surprised at how the state government changed its stand and denied us permission for the Mohali rally for Sunday. It would have been a collective rally and a first mega attempt in support of Kashmiris who are living under severe restrictions as of now.”


(Express photo by Kamleshwar Singh)
The organisations that were part of this protest were: Bharti Kisan Union (Ugrahan), a farmer union active in Malwa Punjab, Pendu Khet Mazdoor Union, Textile Mazdoor Union, Karkhana Mazdoor Union, Punjab Students Union etc. These groups said they don’t support any political organisations and hence they should not be linked with anyone. Lachhman Singh Sewewala, president of the Pendu Khet Mazdoor Union said, “We neither take nor give support to any political party. Our grudge is that when we were not stopped for district-level dharnas which we organised in different districts of Punjab from September 3 to 10, why did the government stop us from organising a rally in Mohali? On one hand, Rahul goes to Kashmir, Capt Amarinder calls August 5 ‘Black day’, invites Kashmiri students for lunch at his residence on Eid, and on the other hand, he stopped us from organising today’s rally.”

Effigies burnt, many detained in Mohali

Vadodara university asks students to join rally against Article 370
Protestors were carrying effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh in every bus. The effigies were burnt wherever they were stopped.
Riaz Haq said…
Alison Redford, Ex Premier of #Alberta #Canada: "For too long, #Pakistan’s actions have been unreasonably characterized as aggressive. #India’s tactics have been increasingly violent...more international criticism of its conduct and occupation of #Kashmir" https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-this-not-the-same-old-india-pakistan-conflict/?utm_source=facebook.com&fbclid=IwAR2dcf66o_XWPlIHKqrvgd1UFiQaR6J0tttzasqfiDFUrOcbH1gyvdpjbp4

First, in media reports, India refers to 40 years of terrorist attacks against India by Pakistan without equal mention of terror attacks perpetrated by India on Pakistani soil, as recently as three months ago in Karachi, or India’s support for independence insurgents operating in the Northwest of Pakistan over the past 10 years.

Second, although in the past there have been allegations that Jaish-e-Mohammed has been supported by Pakistan, the organization has been banned in Pakistan since 2002 and support for its operations and training activity was withdrawn. Yet, India continues to assert this position, without providing evidence to support it.

Third, it is against the fundamental principles of international law to launch a military attack on civilian targets, which can be considered an act of war. In those circumstances, one can argue that Pakistan had the right to defend itself and that its response was both measured and reasonable.

On the Kashmiri question, Pakistan has called for United Nations mediation, but India has refused, saying that it is an internal issue, while violently suppressing a growing, and younger, local insurgent movement. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights criticized India for using excessive force in 2017. More than 500 people, including 100 civilians, have been killed in 2018.

In recent months, India’s tactics have been increasingly violent, leading to more international criticism of its conduct and occupation of Kashmir, including most recently by British parliamentarians, and two resolutions at the OIC this past weekend condemning its violent actions in Indian-occupied Kashmir. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also faces criticism domestically from Indian opposition leaders such as Rahul Gandhi, for manipulating these events to bolster Mr. Modi’s political support in an election year.

There have been times when both countries have been accused of being involved in unwarranted actions against the other and the international community is quick to ignore the complicated dynamics in the region and rely on history. Instead, each incident should be assessed on its own merits to avoid dangerous rivalries from being perpetuated. With a real nuclear risk, we cannot afford to be complacent.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan Press Attache: #India should allow #international #HumanRights observers and #media into (#Indian Occupied) #Kashmir so that the whole world can learn from its grand experiment of delivering #development at gunpoint. #Modi #Hindutva #BJP https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/23/opinion/letters/kashmir-pakistan.html

In “India Is Making Kashmir Stronger” (Op-Ed, Sept. 20), Harsh Vardhan Shringla, India’s ambassador to the United States, failed to answer the fundamental question that is bothering all right-thinking people across the globe: Why has India laid siege to Kashmir and cut off eight million Kashmiris from the rest of the world for the last seven weeks?

Instead, he resorted to using India’s familiar playbook of pointing the finger at Pakistan, and tarring the Kashmiris’ indigenous and legitimate struggle for self-determination with the brush of “terrorism.”

Rather than attacking Pakistan and Prime Minister Imran Khan, he should have explained what this “prosperity” is that India feels that it can deliver to the Kashmiris only at the pointed end of bayonets. How does India plan to foster “hope for development” through mass incarceration, torture and cowardly night raids into homes to pick up children?

India appears to be testing a model of economic development on the Kashmiri people, who want none of it, if the deserted marketplaces and more than 700 protests in Kashmir since Aug. 5 are any indication.

Perhaps India should allow international human rights observers and media into Kashmir so that the whole world can learn from its grand experiment of delivering development at gunpoint.

Abid Saeed
Washington
Riaz Haq said…
#Kashmir: Goodbye, pro-#India politics. Words like “#Gaza” and “settler #occupation” are entering the public discourse. Low-scale militancy appears to be of no use. #Pakistan is seen as being weak and unable to take on India. | Newslaundry https://www.newslaundry.com/2019/09/26/kashmir-goodbye-pro-india-politics via @newslaundry

“They have sealed our fate,” my father said as he heard news of the abrogation of Article 370. “The politics of Kashmir has ended forever, now there is only the politics of Delhi.” This was the first reaction in my home to India’s dismantling of Kashmir’s constitutional autonomy and it expressed the absolute political disempowerment of our people. My mother, an apolitical commoner, heard my father speak and remarked, “Just our bad luck.”

Both their faces were gloomy, overwhelmed by sadness as the move brought on a harsh security lockdown and communications blackout, which has now lasted over 50 days.

I, meanwhile, was trying to comprehend all that was being televised from the Parliament. It soon became clear that the sovereignty of the people of Kashmir had been stolen.

Sovereignty, after all, was what undergird Kashmir’s reluctant accession to the Indian Union. As Jammu and Kashmir’s sovereign ruler, Hari Singh, had agreed to delegate certain powers over Kashmir to Delhi, and not vice versa. So, it was India that enjoyed special status in Kashmir, not the other way round. Article 370 testified to this: the constitutional provision was temporary not because India was authorised to discard it someday, but because Jammu and Kashmir was still an undecided matter at the United Nations -- and the people of Kashmir were yet to exercise their right to permanently accede to India or Pakistan.

-----------------

Today, the average Kashmiri feels threatened, and not only because of torture, humiliation and economic breakdown. They are reluctant to come out of their homes. The armed forces are looking angrier than ever. People in mainland India are openly lusting after Kashmiri women. Some state governments are longing for their land. Corporates are eyeing their small businesses. Words like “Gaza” and “settler occupation” are entering the public discourse. Low-scale militancy appears to be of no use. Pakistan is seen as being weak and unable to take on India. The people are in a bind: India does not own them, Pakistan does not “liberate” them. Pro-India politics is dead. The Hurriyat has the sentiment, but no solution. People fear Ram Madhav’s punishment. They worry about demographic change. Men see their future in jail. Women are numbed by speeches of Indian leaders. Constitutional guarantees do not exist. The narrative of development does not appease them. The world is not interested in the human cost of the security lockdown. So, where does the common Kashmiri go from here?

I spent 40 days under the lockdown and all I saw it engender was hopelessness. And that bodes ill for Kashmir, and India.

Rameez Bhat is a political columnist from Kashmir.
Riaz Haq said…
Rapidly expanding nuclear arsenals in Pakistan and India portend regional and global catastrophe
Owen B. Toon1,*, Charles G. Bardeen2, Alan Robock3, Lili Xia3, Hans Kristensen4, Matthew McKinzie5, R. J. Peterson6,

https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/5/10/eaay5478

Abstract
Pakistan and India may have 400 to 500 nuclear weapons by 2025 with yields from tested 12- to 45-kt values to a few hundred kilotons. If India uses 100 strategic weapons to attack urban centers and Pakistan uses 150, fatalities could reach 50 to 125 million people, and nuclear-ignited fires could release 16 to 36 Tg of black carbon in smoke, depending on yield. The smoke will rise into the upper troposphere, be self-lofted into the stratosphere, and spread globally within weeks. Surface sunlight will decline by 20 to 35%, cooling the global surface by 2° to 5°C and reducing precipitation by 15 to 30%, with larger regional impacts. Recovery takes more than 10 years. Net primary productivity declines 15 to 30% on land and 5 to 15% in oceans threatening mass starvation and additional worldwide collateral fatalities.

The nuclear arsenals of Britain, France, China, Israel, India, and Pakistan are thought (1–3) to lie in the range of ~100 to 300 warheads each (Fig. 1). Although the use of these weapons by any of these countries could produce a regional, and likely global, disaster, India and Pakistan are of special concern because of a long history of military clashes including serious recent ones, lack of progress in resolving territorial issues, densely populated urban areas, and ongoing rapid expansion of their respective nuclear arsenals. Here, we examine the possible repercussions of a nuclear war between India and Pakistan circa 2025 in which cities are one class of target, either by direct or collateral targeting. These repercussions have not been investigated previously. Because of the near-term regional effects of nuclear blast, thermal radiation, and prompt nuclear radiation, we find that perhaps for the first time in human history, the fatalities in a regional war could double the yearly natural global death rate. Moreover, the environmental stresses related to climate changes caused by smoke produced from burning cities could lead to widespread starvation and ecosystem disruption far outside of the war zone itself.

Nuclear arsenals of India and Pakistan
The United States and Russia account for around 93% of the world’s estimated 13,900 nuclear weapons. Seven other nuclear-armed nations are not bound by treaties that require them to divulge information, such as the number of strategic launchers and the number of warheads deployed on missiles, allowing estimates of the numbers of nuclear warheads and yields in their arsenals, but between them, the seven nations may now hold a total of 1200 warheads. As shown in Fig. 1, India’s and Pakistan’s nuclear forces in 2019 each may contain 140 to 150 warheads, with a possible expansion to 200 to 250 warheads in each country by 2025 (1, 3–5). Britain (~215), France (~300), China (~270), and Israel (~80) have a similar number of weapons but have been maintaining relatively constant arsenals (2). Estimates of the numbers of warheads possessed by India and Pakistan are based on the capacity of delivery systems that can be observed from remote sensing, rather than on the amount of enriched uranium and plutonium fuel that the countries may have produced.
Riaz Haq said…
A #Nuclear War Between #India and #Pakistan Could Kill Twice As Many People As #WWII , Study Finds

https://www.newsweek.com/nuclear-war-india-pakistan-death-toll-ww2-1462550

The immediate effects of a nuclear war between India and Pakistan could cause up to 125 million deaths, a new study published in Science Advances has found. That's 2.5 times the fatalities of the Second World War, when an estimated 50 million people were killed as a direct consequence of military action.

The study, co-authored by researchers at Rutgers University, quantifies just how catastrophic a nuclear conflict between the two nations would be. In addition to the 100 million-plus death toll in the immediate aftermath, the study authors warn we could expect global vegetation growth to decline 20 to 35 percent as ocean productivity fell 5 to 15 percent⁠—a result that would cause mass starvation, ecosystem disruption and more deaths. It could take over a decade to fully recover from the impacts, they say.

"Nine countries have nuclear weapons, but Pakistan and India are the only ones rapidly increasing their arsenals," said Alan Robock, a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences at Rutgers University—New Brunswick.

"Because of the continuing unrest between these two nuclear-armed countries, particularly over Kashmir, it is important to understand the consequences of a nuclear war."

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Indeed, only last week in an address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan appealed for international support against India's decision to remove semi-autonomous status from its share of Kashmir last month and impose a lockdown on the majority Muslim population—stressing the threat of nuclear war.

"If a conventional war starts between the two countries, anything could happen," said Khan. "But supposing a country seven times smaller than its neighbor is faced with the choice: either you surrender, or you fight for your freedom till death, what will we do?"

"I ask myself this question and my belief is la ilaha illallah, there is no god but one, and we will fight. And when a nuclear-armed country fights to the end, it will consequence far beyond the borders."

Robock et al.'s calculations are based on a potential war scenario for 2025, when it is estimated the two countries could have 400 to 500 nuclear weapons between them. Each nuke could have an explosive power between 15 kilotons—equivalent to 15,000 tons of TNT, i.e. the same size as the "Little Boy" that fell on Hiroshima in 1945—and a few hundred kilotons, the researchers say. The largest known nuclear weapon in existence today, the Tsar Bomba, far exceeds those considered in the study with an explosive power of 50 megatons.

The researchers conclude that were India to release 100 strategic weapons in a nuclear conflict and Pakistan 150, the number of fatalities caused by the initial effects could total 50 million to 125 million people—the exact size depends on the size of the weapons used. For context, an estimated 50 million people were killed in the Second World War, although that number excludes those who died from disease and starvation. Many more would die from the mass starvation that would almost certainly follow, they add.

Riaz Haq said…
A #Nuclear War Between #India and #Pakistan Could Kill Twice As Many People As #WWII , Study Finds

https://www.newsweek.com/nuclear-war-india-pakistan-death-toll-ww2-1462550


Starvation is likely because the explosions would cause fires that could, between them, release 16 million to 35 million tons of soot into the atmosphere. This soot would absorb solar radiation and heat the air, which would then cause the smoke to rise further, blocking our sun's light so that 20 to 35 percent less would fall on the Earth. This would trigger a period of global cooling—resulting in a nuclear winter—that would see surface temperatures drop 3.6 F to 9 F to levels not seen on Earth since the last ice age. We could also see global precipitation levels plummet 15 to 30 percent, affecting some regions more than others, the study's authors conclude.

As a result, they predict 15 to 30 percent less vegetation growth and a 5 to 15 percent decline in ocean productivity worldwide.

"Such a war would threaten not only the locations where bombs might be targeted but the entire world," said Robock.

"I think we have been lucky in the 74 years since that last nuclear war that we have not had another due to mistakes, panic, misunderstanding, technical failures or hacking," Robock told Newsweek.

"If the weapons exist, they can be used. And the ongoing conflict in Kashmir has the potential to escalate."

Neither party is likely to initiate a nuclear conflict without major provocation, the study's authors wrote. However, they did warn of a new Cold War.

"India and Pakistan may be repeating the unfortunate example set by the United States and Russia during the 'Cold War' era: that is, building destructive nuclear forces far out of proportion to their role in deterrence," they write.
Riaz Haq said…
#Nagaland leader Muivah wary of #India after #Kashmir status scrapped, says #NewDelhi's abrupt decision to revoke #Article370 'unacceptable'. Wants Nagalim to include all Naga-majority parts of #Manipur, #Assam, #ArunachalPradesh #Modi #Hindutva @AJENews https://aje.io/8pxhz

'Divisions among rebel ranks'
Alex Waterman, a research fellow at the University of Leeds, said that bilateral talks have suited New Delhi's interests.

"This meant the [Naga] parties were divided and couldn't bring combined clout to the negotiating table," he told Al Jazeera referring to divisions among rebel ranks.

"It also suited the NSCN-IM, as it has needed to be able to stake the claim that its peace process is the only legitimate one to fend off rival factions and consolidate its 'government' in its areas of influence."

But now, Muivah alleges, the government has gone back on its commitment.

Despite repeated requests, government interlocutor and current Nagaland Governor RN Ravi declined to give a comment to Al Jazeera.

On the face of it, NSCN-IM demand for an integrated Nagalim goes head to head with Modi's vision of "one nation one constitution".

Soon after independence from Britain in 1947, India integrated about 500 provinces and princely states but some of them joined on the condition that they would be accorded special rights. Hence India's constitution guaranteed limited autonomy to some northeast states as well as disputed Kashmir region.

Senior journalist Bharat Bhushan says the Modi government is "keen on forging India as a unitary state".

"Our federalism is asymmetric as there are special constitutional provisions for different states. However, keen on forging India as a unitary state, the present political dispensation in Delhi seeks uniformity in dealing with all the states of the union in the same manner," he told Al Jazeera.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan PM #ImranKhan blasts #media 'double standard' over #HongKong protests. #HK "is a part of #China, but this (#Kashmir) is a disputed territory". "The story of barbarism (in Kashmir) hardly gets reported in international media,"
https://news.yahoo.com/pakistans-khan-blasts-media-double-standard-over-hong-142323183.html?soc_src=hl-viewer&soc_trk=tw via @Yahoo

Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan accused international media Friday of a "double standard", saying news outlets give more prominence to the ongoing protests in Hong Kong than to the situation in disputed Kashmir.

Khan, who returned this week from a trip to Beijing, also told a crowd of roughly 300 people at a rally in Islamabad that Hong Kong "is a part of China, but this (Kashmir) is a disputed territory".

"The story of barbarism (in Kashmir) hardly gets reported in international media," Khan said.

"So I want to put this double standard in front of the world."

Hong Kong has been battered by 18 consecutive weekends of unrest, fanned by widespread public anger over Chinese rule and the police response to protests.

While for more than two months now Indian-held Kashmir has been under a security lockdown after New Delhi scrapped the region's semi-autonomous status.

The move has angered nuclear arch-rival Pakistan, which also administers part of the territory and, like India, claims it in full.

Khan appeared to minimise the impact of the Hong Kong protests.

"As far as I know, till now only a few people have been injured, maybe two or three people have been killed due to accidents" in the strife-torn city, he said.

But in Kashmir, he said, "eight million" people were living under curfew, while "100,000" have been killed in the past three decades.

Hundreds have been wounded in the four months of clashes in Hong Kong. One death has been linked to the unrest, when a demonstrator protesting on the side of a building fell during a botched rescue attempt.

Tens of thousands of people are believed to have been killed since the Kashmir insurgency erupted in the 1980s. New Delhi puts the toll at 47,000, while rights groups hover around 70,000.

The curfew is no longer in place there, though tens of thousands of extra security forces are still in place, some restrictions on movement remain and communications are still largely blacked out.

Khan, whose government has been criticised for shrinking press freedoms in recent months, also expressed his frustration with the global community, which has historically stayed out of Kashmir.

"I regret that the world only sees that (India) is a country with one billion (people), so they can trade and make money from them, and money is more important for these countries then humans," he said.

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