As expected, the UN Security Council held a closed-door meeting on Friday at the instance of China to take up Pakistan’s plaint against the recent changes undertaken by India. But nothing came out from it. The meeting talked out the special item without any clarity emerging on the collective position of the powerful body for it to be a diplomatic or a public opinion setback for India.
In fact, Pakistan lost face both domestically and globally by dragging the bilateral issue to the world body and getting not even a word in support to calm restive opinion back home. And what China said after the meeting was expected but most hypocritical. The Chinese envoy to the UN said he was concerned about the human rights violations in Kashmir and counseled both India and Pakistan to refrain from aggravating tensions.
Amazing that Zhang Jun should sully his tongue with human rights, considering his country’s long history to ride roughshod over them with the PLA jackboot. Why, what is happening to the Uighur Muslims, with more than a million locked away in anonymous prisons without any rights to food, water and visits to lawyers, family members and friends. It is the modern-day version of the Soviet-era Gulag.
Separating little children from their parents, forcing wives and mothers into forced labour, penalizing entire families for the alleged defiance of an individual Uighur is the Chinese version of human rights. It is another matter that Islamic nations flush with petro dollars remain tight-lipped about the Chinese barbarity, including its demolition of hundreds of mosques, forced settlement of Han Chinese in Xinxiang and the so-called re-education of millions into the Chinese dogma. In sharp contrast, India has moved only to safeguard freedoms of countless Kashmiris and those resident in Jammu and Ladakh from the Pak-inspired Islamicist jehadi terror and anarchy.
Temporary measures such as the break in telecommunications, curfews, closure of educational institutions and offices, etc. was necessary to prevent an anti-people assault by the jihadi barbarians. Besides, about forty lakh Kashmiris cannot veto 100-plus crore Indians who, disgusted by the gross abuse of Article 370 and Article 35A, finally decided to be rid of this millstone around their neck in an attempt to return Kashmir to the path of sanity. Seventy years is not too small a period for a temporary provision to have smeared the Constitution. It needed a decent burial. It received it at the hands of Parliament earlier in the month with an overwhelming majority.
Kashmir needs a breather from violence, from terror. Nay, it needs a new beginning. An isolated Pakistan will take a long time to come out of its financial and political crises. However, if it chooses to divert its limited resources and energies to step up mischief in the Valley it would forfeit whatever chance it might still have of surviving the twin challenges on economic and political fronts with home-bread terror threatening to rend the Pak society apart.
As for India, it is notable that on the day the UNSC took up the Chinese-sponsored agenda, the J and K government announced to restore normalcy in a phased manner. Landline phones were to be revived over the weekend in most parts of the Valley. Government offices, according to the Chief Secretary of the J and K administration, reported near-normal attendance.
Cellular phone links are to be restored in a phased manner since these are used by terrorist organizations to launch attacks on innocents. Even public transport was being restored area-wise, depending on threat perception. Notably, no one has been killed in Kashmir as a result of terrorist action or police response since the restrictions were first imposed on August 5. There were stray incidents of stone-pelting but these were contained without the use of excessive force.
Besides, Friday prayers were offered in more mosques by a larger number of devotees than in the previous week. Of course, this is not to suggest that everything is fine in Kashmir. It cannot be, but thus far the administration has shown excellent advance planning, tactical handling and firmness to see through peacefully the toughest time after the surprise decision to revoke Kashmir’s special status.
Of course, a carrot and stick approach needs to be embraced to ensure peace in the Valley while the insurrectionists are meted out their just deserts. No vengeance, no reprisals, but sheer firmness of will and determination to make an idyllic Valley out of Kashmir for all Indians and foreigners to come and revel in its extraordinary natural beauty and charms.
- S Sadanand