Archives  >  2019  >  August  >  9th

Kashmir, Addressed

1. What’s the story?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation on Thursday night, bringing up the revoking of Article 370, and assuring citizens of a peaceful and prosperous Kashmir in the future. (Note: 6 Things was unable to access reactions from ordinary Kashmiri citizens as the state has been under total military lockdown for four days and counting. According to sporadic news trickling out from the region, residents say that it looks like 1947 all over again.It is our land that matters to them, not our lives,” said some.)
 
Tell me more.
India’s unprecedented actions regarding Kashmir in the past few days have naturally drawn praise and ire in equal measures. In his speech to the nation yesterday, Modi seemed to want to reassure friend and foe alike. He promised Kashmiris free and fair elections and a peaceful Eid.

“I am giving assurance that you will get the opportunity to elect your representatives in a transparent way. Your representative will be elected by you and from among you,” Modi said in an address to the nation two days after the Parliament diluted Article 370 and bifurcated the state into two Union Territories.”



“Underlining that over 1.5 crore people of J&K were denied benefits of legislations meant for the entire country, Modi said state government employees, including police, would soon get benefits on par with employees of other Union Territories.

In different states of the country, sanitation workers come under the sanitation worker act, but workers from J&K were deprived of it. In many states, strong laws are there to stop atrocities against Dalits, but this was not the case in J&K,” the PM said.”

Since Article 370 exists no more, all Indian laws will now be applicable to the two newly minted Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.

However, there have also been criticisms of this unilateral decision by the Government. Many have pointed out that Kashmir wasn’t lagging behind on developmental indexes, even though that was one of the reasons behind the BJP Government’s decision to bifurcate the state.

Ironically enough, Britain has shown concern about the situation. “We’ve expressed some of our concerns around the situation and called for calm, but also had a clear readout of the situation from the perspective of the Indian government,” … said UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Imran Khan, was also not happy. On Thursday, he asked the Indian Government whether military power was enough to stop a freedom movement.

“The whole world is waiting to see what happens to oppressed Kashmiris in IOK when curfew is lifted. Does the BJP govt think by using greater military force against Kashmiris in IOK, it will stop the freedom movement? Chances are it will gain momentum,” Khan wrote on Twitter.”
 
So, what next?
The landmark decision has led to unexpected fallouts already. Repeal of Article 370 in Kashmir also triggered panic in the Northeastern states of Nagaland and Mizoram. Like Kashmir, these states are also bound by Articles 371-A and 371-G of the constitution, that regulates property ownership and citizenship rights in these areas of the nation.

“President of Naga Hoho Chuba Ozukum condemned the decision to repeal Article 370 and called it ‘undemocratic’. He also raised concern on the ongoing talks between Government of India and various Naga groups.

“We are worried as by withdrawing Article 370 from J&K, the government is undermining the minorities in India. I think it is very undemocratic. We have the same apprehension in Nagaland. Political negotiations are underway, but if the Government of India does the same thing in Nagaland, it is going to be detrimental.”

Eventful days are on the horizon.



2. Who else should I be looking at?

Pranab Mukherjee, that’s who. The former President was awarded the Bharat Ratna on Thursday evening. The ceremony was presided over by India’s current President, Ramnath Kovind. (Quick recap: Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian award in the Republic of India.) Mukherjee received the award due to his political contributions towards the Republic of India.

“Mukherjee’s life-long political career spanned about five decades, during which he held various key posts in the Congress as well as in the governments led by Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, P V Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh. Mukherjee emerged as the trouble-shooter for the Congress. He held several important portfolios in Congress governments. He was the minister for Commerce from 1993 to 1995, Minister of External Affairs from 1995 to 1996, Minister of Defence from 2004 to 2006 and once again the Minister of External Affairs from 2006 to 2009. He was the Minister of Finance from 2009 to 2012 and Leader of the Lower House of Parliament from 2004 to 2012 till he resigned to contest election to the office of the President.”



3. What more?

New India may be shining, but its doctors are in deep despair.

“Year after year, government hospitals resound the need to save our saviours. Violence against doctors, perpetrated by patients’ kin is commonplace in India. So much so, that a 2017 survey by the Indian Medical Association revealed at least 75 percent of doctors face violence at the workplace.

However, are these isolated incidents or is there a thread that binds them together?”



4. Anything else?

Sudha Bhardwaj, the activist-lawyer who was jailed last year in the Bhima Koregaon violence case, has been under arrest for almost a year now. Now, the Bombay High Court has at last granted her two days’ temporary bail to attend her father’s last rites.

“The Pune police last year arrested Bharadwaj and several other rights activists and lawyers, as part of the Bhima Koregaon case.



In a 7,500 page chargesheet filed in two phases, the prosecution has charged them with serious crimes like plotting to kill Prime Minister Narendra Modi and conspiring to “cause mayhem in the country”. While the allegations are apparently based on letters and documents found on the laptops of those arrested, the ‘evidence’ was not attached in the chargesheets or during bail hearings.

Though the activists have filed for bail more than a year ago and 60-odd hearings were conducted on their applications, they have been unsuccessful.”



5. Is that all?

This world is getting warmer, and we’re all going to die soon – unless we manage to radically change the pattern of our food consumption.

Currently, about 50% of the globe’s vegetated land is dedicated to agriculture — and about 30% of cropland is used to grow grain for animal feed. Given how much land it takes to grow food to feed livestock, meat production is a leading cause of deforestation.



If current trends continue, but agricultural productivity does not increase beyond 2010 levels, the WRI report concludes that most of the globe’s remaining forests would need to be cleared to feed the world.”



6. Before you leave …

Take a look at Nobel laureate Aung Saan Sun Kyi’s spectacular fall from grace.

“The government Suu Kyi is now a part of—in April 2016 she became state counselor, a role similar to prime minister, after her party won a national election—has curtailed civil liberties and press freedoms, and carried out what the United Nations high commissioner for human rights has called “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.” Others have called it a genocide. Since 2017, more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have been forced across the border to Bangladesh, into refugee camps, where disease is rampant and the children are malnourished and have almost no access to education.”



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