Publisher Patrick B. McGuigan’s introduction to The City Sentinel’s publication of Nyla Khan’s comments on recent events in her homeland of Jammu and Kashmir. My sympathies lean toward the elements in Kashmir who in good faith bought into the promise of autonomy or semi-autonomy under the Indian Constitution. Indian Prime Minister Modi and his crew are trampling on the great compromise forged in the wake of the colonial era. In doing so, they are planting seeds for rending the social fabric, and are already crushing opposition in all elements of the multi-ethnic economic powerhouse that India has become. In the long run, there is no lasting good that can come from Modi’s policies. Khan’s comments follow below:
On Thursday, February 6, Prime Minister Modi’s government moved against Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti under the draconian Public Safety Act (PSA). Both Omar and Mehbooba, former heads of government, have been in detention since August 5, 2019.
And now their detentions have been extended by another three months, without formal charges.
In the current situation, the local community in Jammu and Kashmir is unable to exercise any clout and is unable to think constructively about structural change.
With the stifling of civil liberties in J & K, politics is now an abstract notion for the young people in the state, and not a concrete method to bring about long-term reforms.
The translation of a political vision into reality requires diligence and hard work at the grass-roots level, which would produce dynamic indigenous politics. That cannot be achieved through the politics of vendetta.
You cannot achieve peace if your objective is not to make political accommodations.
The federal government of India cannot remain unmindful of the fact that the attitude of inflexibility and intransigence exacerbates conflict in the region.
The powers-that-be do not, then, give first priority to peace but to hold on to what they have got in their possession by any means.
It is because of this that it is incumbent on well-meaning and rational analysts and policy makers in India to clearly fix their objective before they deliberate upon the lack of civil liberties and local politics in J & K.
In Kashmir, rights relating to life, liberty, and freedom of expression guaranteed by the Constitution of India, embodied in the fundamental covenants and enforceable by courts of law, must be protected.
NOTE: A native of Kashmir, Dr. Nyla Ali khan is a professor at Rose State College in Midwest City and visiting professor at the University of Oklahoma in Norman.