A statement by the United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, had made it clear that the UN’s position on the Kashmir dispute continues to be governed by the UN Charter and Security Council resolutions regarding the disputed region. He also appealed to both countries to show ‘maximum restraint’ while mentioning the Shimla Agreement of 1972 between India and Pakistan, which requires the dispute to be settled by peaceful means. Guterres also expressed concern over the human rights situation in India-occupied Kashmir, where the internet and phone connections have been cut off, a curfew imposed, leading politicians put under house arrest, and several civilians reportedly martyred.
Guterres’ assertion is indeed an endorsement of arguments against the hasty abolition of Article 370 of the Constitution of India, pushed through by the far-right Narendra Modi government. Modi, for his part, continues to do his best to lie to the world and his own citizens. The Muslim-majority region has been under an unprecedented lockdown and communications blackout to prevent the oppressed populace from telling the world what the Hindutva ideologues, heading the BJP, have in store for them.
The Indian government gave itself a pat on the back on Friday for ‘relaxing the curfew’ to allow Muslims in Srinagar to go to local mosques. But even that relaxation was not citywide, and Friday congregation was barred at the historic Jama Masjid, where thousands pray every week. In keeping with his tyrannical benevolence, Modi has hinted at allowing Muslims to celebrate Eid-ul-Azha next week, claiming that his government would make “sincere efforts to ensure that the people in the region have no difficulties in celebrating Eid”.
Indian hawks have, meanwhile, been pushing for escalating the situation. But none of these greying hawks would have to go die at the border in case of war. It would be unsurprising to learn that these hawks also don’t have children who would be in the line of fire. These hawks need to get together with those encouraging asymmetric attacks on India and be put in a soundproof room, to save humanity from their insane shouts.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 10th, 2019.