August 22, 2019
All eyes on Kashmir
AUGUST 22, 2019
The Modi government is visibly feeling the heat of its unilateral actions in India-held Kashmir. And Pakistan’s aggressive domestic posture, not to mention Kashmiri and Pakistani diaspora’s mammoth demonstrations in London and cities in the US, has put India on a tight leash. After receiving an unwelcome call from US President Donald Trump, who is increasingly showing interest to mediate, Modi dialed his British counterpart Boris Johnson and complained about a series of demonstrations outside the Indian high commission in London against the revocation of the special status of occupied Kashmir. On the Indian Independence Day on August 15 this year, which Pakistan declared a black day, tens of thousands of people with Pakistani and Kashmiri flags demonstrated outside the high commission. The Modi government, on the other hand, failed to mobilise supporters in favour of its actions. Now, Modi alleges that demonstrators attacked Indian women and children with bottles and eggs. The British media has yet to report of any such incident. The London police say they arrested four people for obstruction of police and possession of an offensive weapon.
It is the responsibility of every host country to protect foreign diplomatic missions. Johnosn is not new to the corridors of power, so he does not need to take a lesson on his responsibility about the protection of foreign diplomats in his country. By and large, the August 15 demonstration was large and peaceful. Instead of resorting to baseless allegations, the Indian prime minister had better review the strict restrictions imposed on the movement of the masses in Srinagar and other parts of the occupied territories. A human tragedy is in the making because of the ceaseless curfew imposed by Indian troops in held Kashmir. People are being arrested and flown out of the valley to other parts of India. Hopefully, Johnson would have used the occasion to remind the caller about his own obligations back home. This is a blatant exhibition of terrorism to confine millions of Muslims and other people to their homes.
The foreign ministry and Kashmiri and Pakistani diaspora need to keep reinforcing their efforts to inform the world about the seven-decade dispute, which makes South Asia a nuclear flashpoint. The day is not far when Kashmiris would have realised their right of self-determination. *