Pakistan's Visually Impaired Young Woman Diplomat Exposes India's Lies at UNGA

Ms. Saima Saleem, Pakistan's young visually-impaired woman diplomat, is currently serving at the country’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Saima graduated from Lahore's Kinnaird College for Women. She won the Quaid-e-Azam Gold Medal for her outstanding academic performance and stood first in the Punjab Public Service Commission examination. 

Saima Saleem

She spoke earlier today at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) 2021 to exercise her country's right of reply to false accusations leveled by Indian diplomat Sneha Dubey. 

Saima Saleem rejected Dubey's claim that Jammu and Kashmir is "an integral part of India", and proceeded to describe India's brutal military occupation of the disputed territory.  She reminded delegates of multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions to this effect. 

Saleem spoke of Indian government's massive human rights violations exposed by the UN Human Rights Commission and other rights organizations. Saleem said Indian leadership is obsessed with Pakistan. 

She also shared EU Disinfo Lab's recent disclosure of the scope, scale and duration of India's massive disinformation campaign against Pakistan. 

Rejecting India's allegations of terrorism against Pakistan, Saleem said India's arguments are those of an occupier seeking to delegitimize popular resistance as "terrorism".

Here's a video of Saima Saleem's UNGA Speech today:

https://youtu.be/EtPpvbiDGT4

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Comment by Riaz Haq on September 30, 2021 at 10:07am

Unmasking Hindutva - Frontline
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SOCIAL science academics associated with American and European universities organised a three-day online conference titled “Dismantling Global Hindutva” from September 10 to 12 with the stated aim of bringing together “scholars of South Asia specialising in gender, economics, political science, caste, religion, health care, and media in order to try to understand the complex and multifaceted phenomenon of Hindutva”. The conference was co-sponsored by academic units of more than 50 universities worldwide.

As soon as the announcement pertaining to the conference was made sometime in August, the organisers and the invited speakers were threatened, trolled and intimidated on social media. Hindu groups based in the United States such as the Hindu Mandir Executives Conference, which describes itself as an initiative of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad America, the Coalition of Hindus of North America and the Hindu American Foundation pressured participating universities to withdraw their support for the event. Niraj Antani, a Republican State Senator from Ohio, condemned the conference, terming it as “Hinduphobia”. In India, the event attracted massive opposition, with several media outlets taking the lead in campaigning against it.

The speakers acknowledged the “bravery” and “fortitude” of the organisers in staying the course and proceeding with the conference. The conference had nine thematic sessions with 45 speakers (including the moderators) presenting their ideas and analyses. While the participating scholars (the majority of them were of Indian heritage) were mainly from the U.S., there were speakers from the United Kingdom, France and Germany as well. A handful of Indian activists, who were subjected to virulent online attacks, including death threats, also spoke at the conference. The organisers deserve to be congratulated because it is hard to imagine an academic event that rigorously interrogates the idea of Hindutva taking place in India with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in government at the Centre.

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Two scholars from the Feminist Critical Hindu Studies Collective, Shana Sippy and Sailaja Krishnamuti, asserted that “not all Hinduism is Hindutva but Hindutva is, in fact, Hinduism…. Hindutva is a powerful, vocal, insidious form of Hinduism.” In a powerful presentation, Sunita Viswanath, co-founder of Hindus for Human Rights, spoke about her engagement with a more casteless and inclusive form of Hinduism. Identifying herself as a practising Hindu who “loves Sita and Ram”, she decried how “Jai Shri Ram has become a murder slogan”. The geographer Brij Maharaj argued how the RSS and its ideology of Hindutva had found it difficult to pervade Indian diasporas in South Africa, Mauritius, Guyana and Fiji because of their origins as indentured labour.

In the last session, on “Islamophobia, Hindutva and White Supremacy”, the historians Anupama Rao and Anjali Arondekar and the media studies scholar Deepa Kumar shared their perspectives. Deepa Kumar commented on the shrinking academic space in Indian universities, quoting her own experience: In May 2021, her talk on Islamophobia at the Manipal Academy of Higher Education was cancelled following protests by Hindu right-wing activists. Deepa Kumar drew on her past work to show the commonality of “tactics, strategies and rhetoric” among white supremacists, Zionists and espousers of Hindutva.

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