Indian Occupied Kashmir under virtual martial law, NYT says

NEW YORK, Oct 3 (APP):An influential American newspaper Friday characterized as “absurd” the claim by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that revocation of occupied Kashmir’s special status meant that the people there, have got equal rights with other Indians, pointing out that the disputed state was “essentially under martial law.”

The New York Times’ Editorial Board said that Modi’s clampdown on Kashmir would, in fact, only heighten tensions in the region and make life more miserable for Kashmiris, instead of his claim that it would resolve the conflict and bring normality and development to the troubled state.

The Times, in its editorial, also said that the United Nations cannot ignore Kashmir anymore, as it focused on Prime Minister Imran Khan’s warning that failure to resolve the crisis, could result in a war between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan.

“He (Modi) could avoid disaster by lifting the siege, relaxing movement across the border between zones of the Kashmiri region that are held by India and Pakistan, releasing political prisoners and allowing independent investigators to look into alleged human rights abuses, ” said the Times, which carried a
large photograph atop its editorial.

“Perhaps India’s Supreme Court, responding to various legal petitions, could even order him to re-institute (Kashmir’s) autonomy.”

During his recent 7-day visit to New York at the head of Pakistan delegation to the 74th session of the UN General Assembly, PM Imran Khan visited The New York Times and briefed the newspaper’s
editorial Board.

The editorial said, “Pakistan’s prime minister, Imran Khan, was a man on a mission at the United Nations, imploring members last week to persuade India to lift its siege of Kashmir, a longtime flash point between the two nations, which both have nuclear weapons.

“Failure to do so, he warned in a speech before the General Assembly on Friday, could result in war between the neighbors if Kashmiris push back against the suffocating presence of thousands of Indian troops.

“Since Narendra Modi, the Hindu nationalist prime minister of India, revoked the semi-autonomous status of the Muslim-majority state on Aug. 5, his government has imposed a curfew and detained nearly 4,000 people, including lawyers and journalists.

There have been serious allegations of torture and beatings. India cut phone and internet service,
leaving millions of people isolated The editorial also cited the prime minister’s vigorous call for the UN
to act on Kashmir.

“If the U.N. doesn’t speak about it,” PM Khan told The Times editorial board the day before his UN speech last Friday, “who is going to speak about it?

“He may need to keep looking. Resting any hopes on the United Nations seems futile, given the approach it has taken to the dispute in recent decades,” the Times said.

“At one time, the United Nations made an effort to play peacekeeper in Kashmir. The Security Council tried to mediate tensions between India and Pakistan within months of their independence and partition in 1947.

“While the United Nations still has an observer group to report on cease-fire violations in Kashmir, it has stepped back since the 1970s.

“Pressure from India — which has long resisted outside intervention in Kashmir — helped keep Kashmir off the Seccurity Council’s agenda until August, when China backed Pakistan’s request for a discussion of Mr. Modi’s power grab.

The session, held out of view of the media and public, accomplished little, though. The Council couldn’t even agree afterward on a common message.

“The United Nations’ lack of resolve is a sad sign of the dysfunction in international diplomacy as American leadership declines and divisions among world powers grow. President Trump has offered to mediate, but his warm relations with the increasingly autocratic Mr. Modi — Mr. Trump attended the Houston fan fest – hardly make him an honest broker.

“At least, in their last few crises, India and Pakistan demonstrated restraint. But it is easy to see how tit-for-tat actions can begin to escalate.

“The Security Council should make clear that it opposes Mr. Modi’s brutal tightening of India’s control on Kashmir. While Mr. Modi may think he can control this volatile conflict on his own, he almost
certainly cannot.”

READ MORE ON KASHMIR: Kashmiris endured 60th day of miseries, agonies

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