Govt plans to take foreign envoys to J&K

Govt plans to take foreign envoys to J&K

Amidst the protests and reactions from across the globe against the undemocratic shutdown in Jammu and Kashmir, since August 5, by the Indian State, now the BJP led central government of India is planning to take foreign diplomats to show all is well. The Indian government is trying to highlight the undertaken initiatives which are supposedly for the development of Kashmir. SAWM India member Vineeta Pandey writes about this planning which is waiting to be materialized after the situation in Kashmir becomes more ‘normal’.

New Delhi: Under pressure from the international community over restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir since August 5, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government plans to take a group of foreign diplomats to the state. The fact-checking mission is meant to show them that all is well. Highly placed sources in the government said that several diplomats have already been “sounded out” about the trip, but a final decision is awaited.

Even though the government claims that the situation in J&K is largely normal, there are still several restrictions in many parts of Jammua dn Kashmir. It is learnt that the government is waiting for the situation to become little more conducive to take the diplomats to Kashmir.

Though the world community has mostly backed India on the issue of Kashmir and the government’s decision to abrogate Article 370 to strip the state of its special status, there is growing impatience with regard to the prolonged security curbs in the state. On Monday, it’ll be 63 days since, fearing an uprising, government sent more troops to J&K, imposed curfew restricting people’s movement, put political leaders under house arrest, and cut all Internet and mobile phone services, rendering the media severely constrained and unable to report and function.

With most Kashmiri political leaders still under detention, and media unable to function to its capacity due to restrictions on movement and communication lines, the international community has expressed concerns over the human rights situation in J&K.

On Saturday, American Senator Elizabeth Warren, a presidential candidate of the Democratic Party, expressed concerns over the communication blackout and lockdown. “The US-India partnership has always been rooted in our shared democratic values. I’m concerned about recent events in Kashmir, including a continued communications blackout and other restrictions. The rights of the people of Kashmir must be respected,” she tweeted.

Ms Warren is the second US presidential candidate after Bernie Sanders to air such concerns. “When President (Donald) Trump meets with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Houston, we will hear much about the friendship between the American and Indian peoples, however, there will be a deafening silence on the human rights crisis unfolding right before our eyes — and that is unacceptable,” Mr Sanders had commented on Kashmir situation on September 22.

“We would like to see, as early as possible, lifting of restrictions there (in Kashmir). It has to be done in accordance with the security issues and other issues but there should be no violation of human rights and transgression of any provisions… The Indian government is saying that development in J&K is important. It will be a challenge and all will be watching what changes are happening there,” German ambassador to India, Walter J. Lindner, said recently.

Last month, chief of United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Michelle Bachelet, too had raised concerns over restrictions in Kashmir and the detention of political leaders. Similar concerns were also raised by the European Union (EU) as it stressed on the importance to restore the “rights and freedoms” of people in Kashmir.

The Indian government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and external affairs minister S. Jaishankar, has been constantly countering allegations of human rights violations alleged by Pakistan and trying to convince the world that the situation in J&K is largely normal, with restrictions in place only in a few areas.

The government has also said that given the terror threats and possibility of disturbances in the area from Pakistan-based groups, lifting of curbs is happening in a planned and staggered manner. The Indian government has also been highlighting the several initiatives it is undertaking for the development of J&K.

The state will officially split into two Union Territories of Ladakh and Jammu & Kashmir on October 31.

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About Vineeta Pandey

A journalist for over 25 years now, Vineeta Pandey started her career as a sports reporter from the Asian Age. She later moved on to Indian Express, The Times of India, DNA, Dainik Bhaskar, The Pioneer where she wrote on political, defense and foreign affairs issues. At present Vineeta is Editor of Print and Digital services of news agency ANI.