PUNJAB TODAY brings you voices from some of the leading publications whose voice counts on the world stage. It is a measure of how the latest move of the Indian government led by Amit Shah and Narendra Modi is being seen internationally.
Here are some excerpts from the editorial comments in The Guardian, The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Economist. — Editor.
The Guardian Editorial
Kashmir: Danger ahead
August 6, 2019
The ... decision to split the state in two...is shocking and perilous. Several legal experts believe it unconstitutional too. Its abrupt and ruthless manner, with the house arrest of well-known politicians, imposition of a curfew and blackout of the internet and phone lines, will likely lead to protests and inflame the resentment which has underpinned an insurgency which has cost tens of thousands of lives.
...The US has been critical in defusing previous crises in the past. But it is harder to place faith in the Trump administration...
Seven decades ago, independence and partition posed Kashmir the choice between two nations. When its ruler agreed to accede to India, New Delhi guaranteed it autonomy except in matters such as foreign affairs and defence. In reality, that has been eroded over the years.... The scrapping of article 370 is in large part symbolic – but nonetheless hazardous for that. Lifting restraints on the purchase of land and permanent settlement by outsiders is almost as inflammatory: many fear a consequent demographic shift.... The consequences are likely to be grave.
The New York Times Editorial
By The NYT Editorial Board
August 5, 2019
India Tempts Fate in Kashmir, ‘The Most Dangerous Place in the World’
BY REVOKING THE SPECIAL STATUS of the mountainous territory, India is courting conflict with Pakistan.
The Indian government knows how incendiary its actions are.... There is still a good chance that the changes to the Constitution will end up before India’s Supreme Court. But the fires are already lit. The United States and China must not allow Kashmir to become a pawn in their ongoing disputes; on the contrary, the United States, China, the United Nations and other powers with influence over India and Pakistan must urgently do what they can to prevent India’s folly from escalating into a perilous and unpredictable regional crisis.
The Washington Post
This is the Modi government’s darkest moment
By Mili Mitra, Editor, Global Opinions
August 6, 2019
WHEN INDIAN PRIME MINISTER Narendra Modi’s government embraced communal and anti-Muslim rhetoric that fostered violence against minorities, many Indians refused to lay any responsibility at its doorstep.
When it passed legislation that would effectively discriminate against Muslim immigrants seeking citizenship — as millions of primarily Muslim ethnic Bengalis living in Assam faced the prospect of exclusion and deportation — many looked the other way.
And when it banned 86 percent of the country’s currency, disproportionately affecting low- and middle-income Indians and resulting in an estimated 105 deaths, many justified the move as for the greater good.
But now, as the Modi government places political leaders under house arrest, risks violence along the Pakistan border and reneges on a constitution promise without debate or deliberation, Indians can no longer afford to stay silent. The administration is making India less democratic and stable, one authoritarian step at a time.... It’s hard to overstate what this means for Kashmir, India and South Asia as a whole. The announcement could have disastrous consequences for Kashmir’s tenuous equilibrium...risks destabilizing the region, engendering violence and further alienating Kashmiris.... And while some hope that India’s Supreme Court has grounds to reverse the move, it is unclear whether the court will intervene....In the years to come.... India will move even closer to becoming a Hindu rashtra.
Mohammed Hanif in The New York Times
Hanif is a Pakistani novelist ("A Case of Exploding Mangoes,” "Our Lady of Alice Bhatti” and "Red Birds”) and a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times
August 7, 2019
MANY VICTIMS OF THE ORIGINAL Partition were women who were raped or who jumped into wells to avoid being raped. Now young Indian men seem to think another historic opportunity has opened up.
There is no dispute about the disputed territory of Kashmir, India announced this week. Your land, Kashmiris, is our land, it said…. (The) world’s conscience is distracted. The United States has already hinted that what happens in the caged paradise is India’s internal business. Also, a country that can’t secure its own Walmarts is unlikely to help restore the internet or the dignity of Kashmiris.
China, Pakistan’s oldest ally, has been training its Muslim Uighur population to dance and smile for the cameras in detention camps. Russia and Israel are India’s close allies. The first prince of the world’s Muslim community, the Saudi Mohammed bin Salman, has called Mr. Modi his brother.
I follow one bit of paradise on Twitter. Sabbah Haji is the director of the Haji Public School in Breswana village, up in the Jammu mountains. She posts about the progress of her students, and the health of her horses and dogs. On Saturday, as online connections started to disappear, she wrote, "When our internet is killed, don’t forget we’re still in here.”
The next day: "Out of the blue, one company of Army in my village today. Arrived this evening. We are at 7,500 feet up in the middle of nowhere.”
And then there was silence.
August 6, 2019
Modi’s Kashmir surprise
WITH BREATHTAKING speed, Narendra Modi’s government has acted to end the special status enjoyed by Indian-administered Kashmir. For 70 years this had given the disputed, Muslim-majority state of Jammu & Kashmir a limited degree of autonomy within India.... On August 5th a hefty package of proposed legislation was carried onto the floor of the Rajya Sabha, India’s upper house of parliament. ... By afternoon the parliament had agreed to revoke Kashmir’s status as a state and divide it into two bits...ruled formally from Delhi, indefinitely.... In one night it pulled together a putsch involving the army, paramilitary forces, the cabinet and parliament, as well as India’s nominally non-partisan president... The region is braced for strife.