Aljazeera TV and the Guardian UK have today outlined the difficulties that Kashmir faces. Having suffered severe flooding, the response of the emergency services have been unco-ordinated, disorganised and difficult. Even though the Indian army has been trying its best to rescue individuals, it is clear from the recent reports that India is struggling to manage this disaster properly. With 460 people officially dead and a million displaced, the mortality is set to rise if the Indian government does not address the issue that help is required from different organisations like the United Nations. The United Nations has been ready to assist. The Times of India reported their stance here.
“UNITED NATIONS: The UN system stands ready to help governments in India and Pakistan in their efforts to provide relief and assistance to the hundreds impacted by the severe floods in Kashmir, a spokesperson for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Monday.”
“He, however, added that he is not aware whether the UN agencies in India have received any official request from the government for help in relief and rescue operations”
Aljazeera TV went onto confirm as follows :-
“Pakistan and India have offered help to each other, but so far they are not collaborating in the relief effort. The Asian countries have not accepted the UN’s offer to help in the rescue and relief efforts”
Local people, aid workers and medical staff in Indian administered parts of Kashmir have called the relief effort ” inadequate and chaotic”. This is not the first time the Indian government has compromised on lives and placed the Kashmiri people in danger. In a New York Times article of 2005, it was clear India’s pride has always been its downfall. The paper wrote
“The government has announced that it needs no international aid to recover from the Oct. 8 earthquake that leveled villages in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir, killed an estimated 1,300 people there and displaced roughly 30,000 families”
“India also refused international aid in the immediate aftermath of the tsunami, though it later allowed United Nations and private agencies to help. Three years ago, it rebuffed development aid from a number of foreign donors, saying it was no longer necessary. In short, India has been anxious to portray itself as a giver, rather than a receiver. “What we can manage on our own, we do,” said Hamid Ansari, a retired Indian diplomat. “There’s a certain sense of self-confidence that we can manage it and, let me say, a desire to signal that you are capable of managing things on your own.”
The new Prime Minister at the helm of India now stands criticised by the public for not allowing humanitarian aid in this crisis. India’s arrogance and most notably its religious differences with Kashmir may well be costing lives. It is notable that there has been a long time religious conflict between Hindu and Muslims. Given the ruling political party is broadly Hindu, we question why they would not ensure all possible assistance and humanitarian aid for those whose lives are in danger. For the new Indian Prime Minister, the current state of play in Kashmir demonstrates that he is currently lacking in insight as to the emergency measures he needs to implement to ensure maximum support for the people of Kashmir. He should address the fact that in a conflict zone, the Indian army is not supported by the people of Kashmir. It is therefore a better alternative that neutral humanitarian organisations are allowed to conduct rescue efforts. India is currently seen to put its pride before people’s lives. That is certainly not the most advantageous position for a new government.
India must change its stance and now allow the United Nations and other humanitarian aid to assist the people of Kashmir. If it does not do so, the forthcoming death toll will be a stain on the current government’s rule. All rescue efforts are best done as a team effort with the United Nations expertise. This will ensure maximum survival rates in a disaster situation.
The Kashmiri people deserve the best standard of disaster management. Everyone will agree on that concept.
It is therefore time to put people before religion and lives before politics/pride.
Written by Dr Rita Pal.
Declared conflict. Have campaigned and written in support of the Narendra Modi prior to election.
To support UN Aid to Kashmir, sign petition 1 and petition 2. With thanks.