G20 Kashmir Meeting: Modi's PR Ploy Backfires!

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's campaign to show normalcy in the Indian occupied territory of Jammu and Kashmir has backfired.  Three member countries of the G20 boycotted the tourism event in Srinagar. The rest of them sent local embassy staff to attend. The event also drew negative worldwide media coverage of the brutality of India's "settler colonialism" in the disputed territory. It elicited strong condemnation from the United Nations. Prior to the event, India’s tourism secretary, Arvind Singh had promised that the meeting will not only “showcase (Kashmir’s) potential for tourism” but also “signal globally the restoration of stability and normalcy in the region.” The Modi government failed to achieve both of these objectives.

G20 Meeting in Indian Military Occupied Kashmir 

Meeting Boycott:

China, Saudi Arabia and Turkey did not attend the G20 event in Srinagar. Rest of the G20 members sent diplomats posted in New Delhi to attend it.  It's not unusual for foreign diplomats to visit disputed territories such as Jammu and Kashmir. Last year, Donald Blome, US Ambassador to Pakistan, visited what he called "Azad Jammu and Kashmir".  The G20 Tourism Working Group meeting in Kashmir drew condemnation from China and the United Nations. 

“China firmly opposes holding any form of G20 meetings on disputed territory. We will not attend such meetings,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson  Wang Wenbin at a press briefing on May 19 in Beijing.  

Fernand de Varennes, U.N. special rapporteur on minority issues, criticized the meeting, saying that by hosting the session in Kashmir, “India is seeking to normalize what some have described as a military occupation by instrumentalizing a G20 meeting and portray an international 'seal of approval’.” 

The UN representative warned the G20 of “unwittingly providing a veneer of support to a facade of normalcy at a time when massive human rights violations, illegal and arbitrary arrests, political persecutions, restrictions and even suppression of free media and human rights defenders continue to escalate.”

Heavy Indian Security Presence at Dal Lake For G20 in Kashmir. Sour...

International Media Coverage:

The global media coverage of the G20 meeting in Kashmir has largely been negative. It has highlighted the brutal occupation of the region by the Indian military. 

A piece in The Conversation accused India of "using the G20 summit to further its settler-colonial ambitions in Kashmir".  It pointed out that the "route to Gulmarg (G20 event location)  is lined with barbed wire. Armed soldiers keep watch from fortified bunkers".   The Conversation piece offers the following advice to anyone visiting Indian Occupied Kashmir:

"Those visiting  (Indian Occupied) Kashmir must first learn about the decolonial history of the region, one that honors Kashmiri calls for self-determination and sovereignty. They must follow the principle of do no harm by not visiting tourist sites or using tour operators run by Indian authorities. They should support local Kashmiri-run businesses as much as possible. There is no simple resolution for tourism on occupied lands. Tourism amid settler-colonialism manifests in exploitation, dispossession, commodification and other injustices and inequities. The goal of ethical travel is not immediate perfection or self-exoneration. It is an invitation to think about our own actions and complicity". 

A story in "The Guardian" noted that the G20 Kashmir meeting "required a large show of security at Srinagar international airport". It added: "India’s presidency of the G20 group of leading nations has become mired in controversy after China and Saudi Arabia boycotted a meeting staged in Kashmir, the first such gathering since India unilaterally brought Kashmir under direct control in August 2019". 

Voice of America reported that the "security moved into the background to give a sense of normalcy amid reports of mass detentions" as the event drew closer. 

Modi's Blunders:

Prime Minister Modi's PR campaign has clearly backfired. His government's actions have failed to project any sense of normalcy in the disputed region. In fact, Mr. Modi's blunders have helped internationalize the issue of Kashmir on the world stage. They have drawn China further into the Kashmir dispute, particularly in the Ladakh region where the Chinese troops have taken large chunks of what India claims as its territory. 

In an Op Ed for the Deccan Herald, Indian Journalist Bharat Bhushan has accused Modi government of "overplaying its hand in organizing a G20 event in Srinagar". He has summed up the fallout from the G20 Kashmir Meeting failure as follows:

"Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s upcoming State visit to the United States makes this rebuff on J&K by the international community, especially significant. What might have been ignored by India and perhaps down-played, at least publicly by the US, in the build-up to the Modi-Biden summit, will now become an additional irritant in the bilateral relationship. Did the Modi government bait fate by overplaying its hand in organizing a G20 event in Srinagar?"

Here's India's JNU Professor speaking about illegal Indian occupation of Kashmir, Manipur and Nagaland:

https://youtu.be/KWp1E8xrY5E

https://www.youtube.com/embed/KWp1E8xrY5E"; title="YouTube video player" width="560"></iframe>" height="315" src="https://img1.blogblog.com/img/video_object.png" width="560" style="cursor: move; background-color: #b2b2b2;" /> 

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Comment by Riaz Haq on May 25, 2023 at 10:27am

#G20Kashmir: Houseboats, adorned with #G20 logo, seen behind ranks of armed #police posted around #Kashmir’s Dal Lake. #Kasmiri: “if they are so confident, then they should have opened the gates of the [G-20 center] for locals to be part of the event"
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/05/25/india-kashmir-g20-t...


SRINAGAR, India — The famous houseboats, bedecked with lights and adorned with the G-20 logo, were just visible behind the ranks of uniformed police stationed around Kashmir’s stunning Dal Lake. Every 20 feet along the waterfront was a poster advertising picturesque Kashmiri sites — with a camouflage clad soldier standing behind.

The signs for the Group of 20 intergovernmental forum that India is hosting this year proclaims the country as “The Mother of Democracy,” but this meeting for tourism took place in a heavily militarized region that has not seen elections for its legislature in almost a decade.

Having the delegates from the world’s 20 wealthiest nations meet to discuss tourism amid the majestic Himalayan beauty of India’s Kashmir showcases what India says is the return of peace and prosperity to the region. But the conversations touting a new normalcy came amid a heavy security presence and were in sharp contrast to the voices just outside the barricaded conferences premises.

“What will come from this development? We need to have peace in our hearts first,” said a shopkeeper — who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak freely about the government — in the heart of Srinagar’s old city, an area that has often witnessed violence. He said police threatened nearby shops to stay open to give a semblance of normalcy in the territory.

As he spoke, a dozen members of the federal paramilitary police, tailed by their massive windowless armored vehicle, stopped to search a group of young boys. “The delegation should come here and see this and talk to us,” the shopkeeper said. “They should talk about the Kashmir issue. Otherwise, what’s the point?”

The decision to put one of the dozens of G-20 meetings this year in Kashmir has not passed without controversy. China has boycotted the event, it has been condemned by neighboring Pakistan and the U.N. special rapporteur on minority issues, Fernand de Varennes, issued a blistering statement saying the Indian government “is seeking to normalize what some have described as a military occupation.”

Kashmir, India’s only Muslim-majority entity, has long been the country’s pride and joy with its magnificent mountain vistas. It was once a must-have shooting location for movies and a coveted honeymoon destination even while it was stuck in a continuous tug-of-war between Pakistan and India that provoked several wars.

After disputed elections in 1987, simmering dissatisfaction erupted into a violent insurgency and government crackdown that darkened Kashmir’s reputation. After coming to power, Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched “Operation All Out” — a 2017 offensive against the militants that killed hundreds and dramatically worsened relations with Pakistan.

After Modi won a second term in 2019, his government revoked the state’s special autonomous status negotiated after independence and made it a territory directly governed by New Delhi. Any dissent was stifled with harsh restrictions, including the longest internet shutdown in a democracy and locking up top political leaders, journalists and activists.

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 25, 2023 at 10:28am

G20 in Kashmir

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/05/25/india-kashmir-g20-t...


“The fact that we are holding it in Srinagar is itself an achievement of sorts,” said Jitendra Singh, a government minister who is also a parliament member from the region, in a news conference. “This is an opportunity to see with your own eyes what it is all about. The common man has moved on.”

Kashmir saw a record number of tourists last year, almost 2.6 million, while another 13,000 foreign tourists have come just this year, mostly from Southeast Asia, to see the region’s famous mountains and tulips. The government hopes that new golf courses, train lines and efforts to remove the travel advisories on Kashmir will open bring more Europeans and others.

Arun Kumar Mehta, the territory’s chief secretary, said roughly $250 million of the proposed $8 billion worth of investment projects have been completed, with money flowing from the Middle East in particular for shopping complexes.

“2022 was a historic year of development,” he said. “Life was normal for the first time in many, many years. I see such a yearning in the common people to get back to normal. Peace comes about when people have a stake in peace. And it’s very apparent that people have a stake in peace.” The territory’s lieutenant governor, Manoj Sinha, also said that the “ecosystem of terror sponsored by our neighbor has been almost dismantled.”

Since the crackdown, militant recruitment has plummeted, according to a senior security official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

But a 28-year-old who works at a shopping center in Srinagar noted that, “if they are so confident, then they should have opened the gates of the [G-20 center] for locals to be part of the event and not hold it under such a tight security cover. Only the government is celebrating.” He spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk freely.

In particular, the government has touted a new high-profile cinema multiplex in the city, marking the return of movie theaters to the region after they were targeted by militants in the 1990s and all shut down.

Khushboo Farooq, a 21-year-old who works there, said she finally found a place where she feels truly safe after it opened last year. “We need the entertainment in our lives, after what we have gone through.”

“The reality is Kashmir has already changed, and we haven’t woken up to this,” said Vikas Dhar, the theater’s owner, who hoped that the G-20 event would move Kashmir’s narrative beyond conflict. He described his theater as “an answer to the demand that people are raising.”

While people would like to go to the cinema, those types of development are not “the basic crux of what they really want,” countered Anuradha Bhasin, an editor of Kashmir Times who said that the government’s roughly half a dozen cases against her newspaper had crippled it. “They are beautifying certain areas, but the people are missing from the story. Then you have big jamborees like G-20, it kind of smacks of the indifference of the government towards the people.”

Bhasin said that while apparent signs of violence may be decreasing, without a free and vocal media it is unclear whether the militancy is growing or not.

Mehbooba Mufti, a former chief minister who was detained after the region’s semiautonomous status was revoked, said this apparent development and prosperity comes with a heavy hand.

“They are trying to use tourism as a sign of normalcy,” she said, adding that roughly 100 young men were detained before the G-20 meeting in “preventive arrests.”

“If everything is fine, why this suppression? Maybe today, it is calm. But the amount of might that is used to keep things that way, can’t be used like that all the time. And when God forbid, it bursts, it can be very big. You know Kashmir, it can happen anytime,” she said.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 2, 2023 at 4:34pm

Interview: India’s exaggerated value and the danger of S Jaishankar’s ‘new world order’ posturing


https://scroll.in/article/1049569/interview-indias-exaggerated-valu...

“the US already has other military partners like Japan and Australia, whereas India doesn’t really have anyone else that can help balance against China. Our value to the US is being partly exaggerated”


Rajesh Rajagopalan, author and professor of International Politics at JNU, says we are living in a bipolar age and it is dangerous for India to think otherwise.
Rohan Venkataramakrishnan
18 hours ago


“I think the economics of the world, the politics of the world, and the demographic of the world is making the world more multipolar.”

“The world is moving towards greater multi-polarity through steady and continuous re-balancing.”

“The Indo-Pacific is at the heart of the multipolarity and rebalancing that characterises contemporary changes.”

“The United States is moving towards greater realism both about itself and the world. It is adjusting to multipolarity and rebalancing and re-examining the balance between its domestic revival and commitments abroad.”

Those are all comments by Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar over the last few years. Indeed, Jaishankar is a big votary of the concept of multipolarity – the idea that the world is not dominated by just one power (the United States), or two (the US and China, just as it was the US and the United Soviet Socialist Republic during the Cold War), but is instead now seeing a global order with a number of powers that are somewhat equally matched in terms of economic and military capacity and influence.

Jaishankar sometimes speaks of the need for establishing a multipolar world. And sometimes his comments seems to suggest the world is already multipolar or will soon be there.



Not everyone agrees. Stephen G Brooks and William C Wohlforth, in a Foreign Affairs article in April , argued that multipolarity is a “myth”.



Brooks and Wolworth argue instead for “partial unipolarity”, in part because Chinese military power remains “regional”.

Rajesh Rajagopalan, professor of International Politics at Jawaharlal Nehru University and author of Second Strike: Arguments about Nuclear War in South Asia, thinks the answer is clearer: We are living in a bipolar age. And it is dangerous for India to think otherwise.

I spoke to Rajagopalan about multipolarity vs bipolarity, why he thinks that Jaishankar describing the world as multipolar is problematic even if it is a purely rhetorical tactic, and what he made of Ashley Tellis’ much discussed piece from earlier this month – with the controversial headline, “America’s Bad Bet on India” – which argues that the US should not expect India to side with it in a military confrontation with China, unless its own security is directly threatened.



To start off, how do you read Jaishankar and India’s articulation of a multipolar world, either as an aspiration or as a reality?

I’ll start with the reality: Of course, it is not [a multipolar world].

There are different ways of defining polarity. Academics by and large look at it as either unipolar world or a transition to a bipolar word. Some argue that the world may be bipolar in the Indo-Pacific region because of China’s power there, but not bipolar in a global systemic sense. Since this is a peaceful period – not marked by war – it’s very hard to identify the boundary between unipolar and bipolar. But my sense as an analyst is that the world is already bipolar, because the way polarity is measured is purely in terms of material capacities, and on this, clearly China has the wealth and the intention.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 11, 2023 at 12:20pm

‘Things not going well’: Six die in #India within months. The deaths have led to criticisms of Project #Cheetah, a £4.8m international scheme that involved moving 20 animals from #Africa to India’s Kuno National Park earlier this year. #Modi #BJP
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/jun/11/things-not-goin...

A controversial attempt to reintroduce cheetahs to the wild has suffered a major setback after three adults and three cubs died over the past eight months.

The deaths have led to criticisms of Project Cheetah, a £4.8m international scheme that involved moving 20 animals from Africa to India’s Kuno National Park earlier this year. Some conservationists say not enough space was reserved for the cheetahs while others complained that the project was set up too hastily.

However, project scientists insisted that several fatalities were to be expected at the start of the project, and forecast that the death toll would stabilise in the near future.

“If you are going to reintroduce an animal to the wild, you have to do it very carefully,” said Professor Sarah Durant, of the Zoological Society of London. “And it is clear that things are not going well. The programme seems rushed.”

Cheetahs are the world’s fastest land animals and can run at speeds of up to 65mph. There are five subspecies and all have suffered major drops in numbers caused by climate change, hunting by humans and habitat destruction. As a result, surviving populations of East African, South African and Northeast African cheetahs are now vulnerable, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. The other two – the Northwest African cheetah and the Asiatic cheetah – are critically endangered.

India’s own population of cheetahs – made up of the Asiatic subspecies – was wiped out last century, with the last documented native animals being shot by Maharajah Ramanuj Singh Deo in 1947. The Asian cheetah now survives only in Iran.

By contrast, there are about 6,500 African cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus), and there have been successes in restoring numbers in semi-managed wildlife reserves in South Africa. With the eradication of its own cheetahs, India launched efforts to re-establish a population using the Southern African cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus jubatus). However, these moves were blocked, initially, by the Indian supreme court, where it was argued that because it was not a native species, its introduction broke international conservation regulations.

In 2020, the court’s ruling was overturned and Project Cheetah was launched with considerable fanfare, including support from the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi. The first animals – eight cheetahs that had been relocated from Namibia – arrived at Kuno last September, and 12 more were moved from South Africa in February.

However, by late May this year, three of the Kuno cheetahs and three newborn cubs had died . Two adults succumbed to organ failure and a third was killed in a violent mating encounter. The cause of the deaths of the cubs is unclear at present. While cubs in the wild have poor survival rates owing to predation from lions and hyenas, those born in protected reserves have high survival rates.

The deaths of the three adults were not unexpected given the high stress of relocation, said Adrian Tordiffe, a veterinarian at South Africa’s University of Pretoria and a consultant for the project, in the journal Nature. “The fact that we had multiple deaths occurring in a short space of time is not unusual in the sense that it’s the high-risk period. Once things stabilise, that will plateau.”

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 21, 2023 at 7:45am

The Settler-Colonialist Alliance of India and Israel
Over the decades, the two nation’s have become closer allies in business and politics. We talked to journalist Azad Essa the origins of this international relationship.
By Deeksha Udupa



https://www.thenation.com/article/world/qa-india-israel-azad-essa/


In 1962, after a series of border conflicts over the disputed territory of Aksai Chin—which both China and India claimed, and still continue to claim, as their own—the two countries fought a one-month war. India’s troops in Namka Chu Valley were considerably weaker and the state of Israel quickly responded to India’s request for assistance. Then–Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion wrote to his Indian counterpart, Jawaharlal Nehru, emphasizing his country’s “fullest sympathy and understanding” and offering to provide weapons to Indian forces. Nehru requested that the weapons be sent in unmarked ships, aware that accepting Israeli assistance could affect India’s relations with Arab nations. Ben-Gurion declined and said, “No flag. No weapons.” Eventually, India relented and accepted arms transported in ships with the Israeli flag. And though India lost the conflict, the country was now aware that in times of need, Israel could be counted on as a potential ally.

The two countries have only grown closer since then, as their military and business interests have aligned. Just this year, for example, Indian tycoon Gautam Adani, chairman of the Adani Group, recently acquired the Israeli port of Haifa, where 50 percent of Israeli cargo is handled. Privatizing the port has been a topic of conversation since the early 2000s and was finally completed when Adani submitted his bid, which was supported by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Just days after the acquisition, however, Hindenburg Research released a report accusing the Adani Group of financial malpractice, fraudulent transactions, and share-price manipulation. Modi and Netanyahu spoke days after the release of the report, and Modi emphasized the importance of “the multifaceted India-Israel friendship.” The purchase of the port launched a new chapter of the Israel-India alliance, with some commentators referring to it as the largest deal between the two nations in the private sector.



AZAD ESSA (Author of Hostile Homelands: The New Alliance Between India and Israel): Being from South Africa and growing up towards the end of apartheid, I was enamored by the concept of international solidarity through boycotts and the very idea that people around the world were thinking about us.

And since I am of Indian origin (with the caveat that there was no India, as we now know it, when my grandparents had come to South Africa), I was told stories about how India had been instrumental in standing up to apartheid government. Later, as a graduate student, I was introduced to the story of Kashmir, and I was struck by how a country that positioned itself as anti-colonial, anti-apartheid, and a leader of the Non-Aligned Movement could also have a colonial project of its own. I subsequently went to Kashmir and was shocked by the militarization. I also traveled to Palestine and immediately felt the connections between the two.

Then Narendra Modi came to power in 2014—and when he did, the floodgates opened. Just like when Donald Trump came to power, it was as if the US had been unmasked; likewise, the Indian and Israeli relationship, too, was unmasked under Modi, and they soon became even closer strategic partners. When the Indian consul general spoke in 2019 about replicating Israeli-style settlements in Kashmir, I was convinced that this was a project I wanted to pursue. This is a book, then, about how oppressors work together.

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 17, 2023 at 6:04pm

Narendra #Modi Is Using Brutal Repression to Silence the People of #Kashmir, with the complicity of #Indian intellectuals who seek to toxify the cause of Kashmir. #India #Manipur #Islamophobia #Hindutva

https://jacobin.com/2023/07/narendra-modi-kashmir-military-repressi...

BY
SOMDEEP SEN


India-controlled Kashmir is one of the most heavily militarized zones in the world, and any public display of a persistent Kashmiri national struggle meets with swift, violent, and indiscriminate repression. This pattern of silencing extends to the field of discourse as well.

The Indian political mainstream views any reference to Kashmiri rights and aspirations, whether spoken or written, as a manifestation of “fundamentalism,” “radicalism,” or (Pakistani-inspired) “terrorism.” The hard-right, Hindu nationalist government of Narendra Modi has carried this vilification of Kashmiris to new heights.

A History of Repression
The record of the Indian state’s repressive ways in Kashmir is extensive and well documented, going back decades before Narendra Modi’s rise to power. In 1993, Human Rights Watch (HRW) published a report titled “Rape in Kashmir: A Crime of War.” It showed that the Indian security forces routinely targeted civilians in the course of their efforts to quell the Kashmiri independence struggle, with rape used as a tool of counterinsurgency.

The report concluded that the security forces were “attempting to punish and humiliate the entire community” through systematic sexual violence against women. Another HRW report published the same year documented the routine torture of Kashmiri detainees as well as harassment and assault of health workers who were providing care. According to the report’s authors, the Indian authorities even “prevented ambulance drivers from transporting injured persons to hospitals for emergency care.”

The impunity with which the Indian armed forces have operated in the Kashmir Valley receives legal sanction from the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act. This piece of legislation gives them emergency powers to maintain public order in so-called disturbed areas — all of which, civil society organizations argue, violate international human rights law.

There is ample evidence of this. Along with the acknowledged civilian death toll, there is the practice of enforced disappearances of Kashmiri men. Human rights activists estimated that between eight thousand and ten thousand people were “disappeared” between 1988 and 2007, approximately 60 percent of whom were civilians. People refer to the wives of the disappeared, who have often been missing for decades without being officially declared dead, as “half widows.”

There have also been several discoveries of unmarked mass graves in Kashmir. Eyewitnesses claim that those graves were dug under instruction from the Indian security forces, and that they contain the bodies of the missing Kashmiri men.

Blinding and Silencing
Since Modi took office, repression in Kashmir has been even more severe. Since 2010, the security forces have been using pellet guns as a supposedly “nonlethal” weapon for crowd control. In 2016 alone, they fired 1.2 million metal pellets in response to protests in the valley. The pellets left six thousand people injured, with 782 suffering eye injuries. Writing in the Guardian, journalist Mirza Waheed described it as an exercise in “mass blinding.”

A young Kashmiri student I spoke to in Mumbai describes the conditions in the state:

Stone pelting doesn’t happen that much anymore. But if anything does happen, the Indian soldiers quickly pick up anyone in sight. They will arrest you, take your paperwork, take your passport. In fact, in some cases, they will seize your property. This is normal in Kashmir.

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 17, 2023 at 6:04pm

https://jacobin.com/2023/07/narendra-modi-kashmir-military-repressi...

BY
SOMDEEP SEN


In 2019, the Indian parliament revoked Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian constitution that granted autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir. Most significantly, Article 35A had allowed the Kashmiri Legislative Assembly to “define permanent residents.” In effect, this gave it the authority to maintain the valley’s Kashmiri identity. The Indian state has engaged in a concerted effort to settle non-Kashmiris in the region and alter its demographic makeup.

Using the Jammu Kashmir Public Safety Act, a preventive detention law, the authorities have conducted raids and arbitrarily detained politicians, activists, and journalists. In 2022, pro-government journalists joined forces with the police to storm and shut down the premises of the independent Kashmir Press Club.

India has also become the world capital of internet shutdowns, accounting for 58 percent of all disruptions worldwide. Between January and February of last year, Jammu and Kashmir experienced forty-nine disruptions, including “16 back-to-back orders for three-day-long curfew-style shutdowns.”

Toxifying Kashmir
Physical and legal repression is supplemented by an effort to depict support for Kashmiri rights as toxic. Sociologist Mark Ayyash has written about the toxification of Palestinian critique, a process through which the Palestinian national struggle is “expelled from the realm of valid, rational and respectable knowledge.” There is a similar kind of toxification at work when it comes to Kashmir.

One form of toxification is the portrayal of voices in support of Kashmir as “anti-national.” In 2020, the police bookedKashmiri photojournalist Masrat Zahra under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), accusing her of engaging in “anti-national activities.” The act allows the state to suppress any activities deemed to be against the interests, integrity, and sovereignty of the state. Zahra was charged with “criminal intentions to induce the youth” through her posts on Facebook, which mostly included archives of her previously published work.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA), a specialist counterterrorism agency, also invoked the UAPA against Khurram Parvez, coordinator of the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) and chairperson of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD). Parvez was accused of a series of offenses such as “criminal conspiracy,” “conspiracy to wage war against the Government of India,” and “raising funds for terror activities.” A coalition of human rights organizations, including Amnesty International and Front Line Defenders, denounced the charges against Parvez as an attempt to “silence and intimidate human rights defenders.”

The same process of toxification applies to the written word, with articles both academic and journalistic equating the Kashmiri struggle with terrorism or Pakistan’s “proxy war.” They do not offer any substantial engagement with the call for Kashmiri rights and a national homeland.

A review by Sumit Ganguly in Foreign Policy of journalist Azad Essa’s book, Hostile Homelands: The New Alliance Between India and Israel, offers a recent example. In his account of the politics of Kashmir, Essa places the national struggle at center stage. Yet Ganguly was quick to dismiss this as “polemic” and a “one-sided account,” accusing Essa of parroting a “tired Pakistani narrative” on Kashmir.

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 17, 2023 at 6:05pm

https://jacobin.com/2023/07/narendra-modi-kashmir-military-repressi...

BY
SOMDEEP SEN


A Disappearing Act
When India recently paraded the delegates attending the G20 tourism meeting through Kashmir, it was meant to show the world that Modi’s government had brought normalcy, peace, and prosperity to the valley. But in stark contrast to this performance, the young Kashmiri students I spoke to fear the ongoing violence of the state security forces. They were worried about being “picked up” at the airport, detained by the local police during a random ID check, or simply made to disappear on the way home.

They were equally aware that the ease with which they can simply disappear reflects the way that the Indian state has worked to make the entire Kashmiri national struggle disappear. In a country that has sharply swerved toward the right under the rule of Modi, it is not surprising that Kashmiris have been targeted, along with critical journalists and political campaigners. After all, they are the only ones standing in the way of India’s full-fledged shift to authoritarianism.

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 28, 2023 at 8:39am

Noam Chomsky - Why Does the U.S. Support Israel?


https://youtu.be/lUQ_0MubbcM


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Noam Chomsky on settler colonialism


https://settlercolonialstudies.blog/2014/04/04/noam-chomsky-on-sett...

Now the settler-colonial societies are particularly interesting in this regard because you have a conflict within them. Settler-colonial societies are different than most forms of imperialism; in traditional imperialism, say the British in India, the British kind of ran the place: They sent the bureaucrats, the administrators, the officer corps, and so on, but the place was run by Indians. Settler-colonial societies are different; they eliminate the indigenous population. Read, say, George Washington, a leading figure in the settler-colonial society we live in. His view was – his words – was that we have to “extirpate” the Iroquois; they’re in our way. They were an advanced civilization; in fact, they provided some of the basis for the American constitutional system, but they were in the way, so we have to extirpate them. Thomas Jefferson, another great figure, he said, well, we have no choice but to exterminate the indigenous population, the Native Americans; the reason is they’re attacking us. Why are they attacking us? Because we’re taking everything away from them. But since we’re taking their land and resources away and they defend themselves, we have to exterminate them.

[T]he settler-colonial societies are a striking illustration of, first of all, the massive destructive power of European imperialism, which of course includes us and Australia, and so on. And also the – I don’t know if you’d call it irony, but the strange phenomenon of the most so-called “advanced,” educated, richest segments of global society trying to destroy all of us, and the so-called “backward” people, the pre-technological people, who remain on the periphery, trying to restrain the race to disaster. If some extraterrestrial observer were watching this, they’d think the species was insane. And, in fact, it is. But the insanity goes back to the basic institutional structure of RECD. That’s the way it works. It’s built into the institutions. It’s one of the reasons it’s going to be very hard to change.

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 2, 2023 at 8:06am

Under Hindu Nationalist Leaders, Sectarian Violence Flares in India

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/08/01/world/asia/india-hindu-muslim-vi...

A gunman who killed Muslim train passengers and a Hindu march that turned riotous underscore how the partisan stances of India’s top Hindu leaders have given license to chaotic elements in the country.

In the early hours of Monday, on a train bound for Mumbai, India’s commercial capital, a police officer took up his service rifle, fatally shot his superior and then killed three unarmed passengers. All three of the passengers were Muslim men, according to Indian news reports.

Audio from cellphone videos of the incident filmed inside the train is muffled, but it sounds as if the officer, Chetan Singh, says in Hindi: “If you want to live in Hindustan, you must vote for Modi and Yogi.” Using an antiquated name for part of South Asia, he appeared to be advocating support for India’s foremost Hindu politicians: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Yogi Adityanath, the leader of India’s most populous state.

The violence occurred on the same day as a march led by a Hindu nationalist organization in one of the few northern Indian districts in which Muslims are a majority. The rally, which a Hindu vigilante wanted in the murders of several Muslims had promised to join, dissolved into street fighting, which then gave way to a full-blown riot that spread toward Delhi. As shops, vehicles and a mosque were set ablaze, at least five people were killed, including the mosque’s junior imam, the police said.

These scenes — uncoordinated and unrelated, but hardly uncommon in India under Mr. Modi’s tenure — have emerged at an awkward time for the country as it prepares to host the Group of 20 summit in New Delhi in September. Mr. Modi has been promoting an economy-focused “India growth story” around the world and has received leadership accolades in Paris and Washington — a notable achievement given that in 2005 the State Department denied him a visa for nearly a decade over “severe violations of religious freedom” in the wake of massacres in his home state.

Far away from Monday’s violence, ethnic hatred has also been erupting in the northeastern state of Manipur since May. Although religious identity has played a lesser role in the fighting there, the government’s inability to keep the peace between warring groups — in part because it is not seen as an impartial party — has been just as disturbing.

Both Mr. Modi and Mr. Adityanath, and indeed the whole nationalist movement led by Mr. Modi, are widely understood to stand on the same side of any conflict that pits India’s Hindus — who make up almost 80 percent of the country’s population of 1.4 billion — against its Muslims, who make up its largest minority, at roughly 14 percent.

Mr. Adityanath speaks for “law and order” but also talks about “feeding bullets, not biryani” to Muslim troublemakers. And although Mr. Modi tends to be much subtler, on the campaign trail he has said of violent rioters that “we can identify them by their clothes” — meaning the salwar kameez favored by South Asia’s Muslims — and will punish them accordingly.

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