Pakistan PM says world inaction on Kashmir like appeasing Hitler

Pakistani Christian shout slogans in support of Kashmiris at a rally in the connection of the country Independence Day in Quetta on August 11, 2019, after the Indian government stripped Jammu and Kashmir of its autonomy. (AFP)
Updated 11 August 2019

Pakistan PM says world inaction on Kashmir like appeasing Hitler

  • Kashmir has been under virtual lockdown since shortly before the move
  • Huge numbers of troops are patrolling the streets of major centers

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan asked Sunday if the international community was just standing by as Indian Hindu nationalism spread into Muslim-majority Kashmir, saying it was the same as appeasing Hitler.
His outrage on Twitter came as tensions simmered between the two countries over the divided Himalayan region after New Delhi last week rescinded years of autonomy enjoyed by the Indian-ruled part and gave full control to the central government.
Kashmir has been under virtual lockdown since shortly before the move, with a curfew across the region, and phone and Internet lines cut — ostensibly to prevent unrest.
Huge numbers of troops are patrolling the streets of major centers, and security forces used tear gas Friday to break up a demonstration against the government’s move by about 8,000 people.
Tensions also remain fraught in the mountainous Ladakh region, where a local activist told AFP dozens of protesters took part in rallies on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with at least 10 people injured by security forces using tear gas and sticks.
State police chief Dilbagh Singh said late Saturday that “not a single incident of violence was reported from anywhere” in Kashmir, although this conflicted with independent sources.
Kashmir has been split between India and Pakistan since their independence in 1947.
They have fought two wars over the former kingdom, while an insurgency against New Delhi’s rule in Indian-administered Kashmir has claimed tens of thousands of lives in the past three decades.
Khan tweeted Sunday that the “ideology of Hindu Supremacy, like the Nazi Aryan Supremacy, will not stop” in Kashmir.
Describing the move as “the Hindu Supremacists version of Hitler’s Lebensraum,” he said it would lead to “the suppression of Muslims in India & eventually lead to targeting of Pakistan.”
“Attempt is to change demography of Kashmir through ethnic cleansing,” he tweeted. “Question is: Will the world watch & appease as they did Hitler at Munich?“
He referred specifically to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ultra Hindu nationalist volunteer movement considered the parent of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Khan also telephoned Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday “as part of his outreach to world leaders on the Kashmir situation,” a statement issued by his office said.
“Muslims of Kashmir must be able to use their legal rights and interests to be able to live in peace,” Rouhani was quoted as saying.
Officials said Khan would visit the Pakistan controlled part of Kashmir this week to show solidarity.
Residents in Indian controlled Kashmir, meanwhile, said they were struggling to celebrate the major Muslim festival of Eid Al-Adha because of the security crackdown.
A mother who gave her named as Razia said she tried to explain to her daughter that she would not be able to buy her clothes to mark the occasion, as her husband fretted about feeding the family.
“What sort of Eid is this?” asked the 45-year-old in Srinagar.
“We are not even allowed to move outside. My husband is a daily wage laborer but hasn’t made any money for the last eight days.”
A sheep trader at a Srinagar market, who gave his name as Maqbool, said the number of people buying sacrificial animals for the holiday was sharply lower and he had gone from “huge profits” to a “big loss” this year.
Indian premier Modi insisted last week the decision to strip Kashmir of its autonomy was necessary for its economic development, and also to stop “terrorism.”
He said with Kashmir now fully part of the Indian union, the region would enjoy more jobs and less corruption and red tape, adding that key infrastructure projects would be expedited.
Previously, under its constitutional autonomy, Kashmiris enjoyed special privileges such as the sole right to own land or take government jobs and university scholarships.
Islamabad has been infuriated by New Delhi’s moves and has expelled the Indian ambassador, halted what little bilateral trade exists and suspended cross-border transport services.


World’s biggest literature festival kicks off in Jaipur

Updated 15 min 49 sec ago

World’s biggest literature festival kicks off in Jaipur

  • Economist and Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee will attend the event

JAIPUR: The 13th edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) started on Thursday.

 Known as the “greatest literary show on earth,” the five-day event brings to one venue more than 500 speakers of 15 Indian and 35 foreign languages, and over 30 nationalities.

 Among the festival’s participants are Nobel laureates and Pulitzer Prize winners.

 The event has been expanding, with over 400,000 people attending it last year and even more expected to show up this time.  The growing crowd has made the medieval Diggi Palace, which hosts it, look small, and organizers are planning to shift the event to a bigger venue next year.

 Scottish historian and writer William Dalrymple, one of the organizers, said: “The first time we came to the Diggi Palace in 2007, 16 people turned up for the session of which 10 were Japanese tourists who walked out after 10 minutes, as they had come to the wrong place. Things have improved a little since then. We are now formally the largest literature festival in the world.”

 Dalrymple, who has extensively written on medieval India and South Asia, has played a pivotal role in promoting the festival.

 The other two organizers are its director, Sanjoy K. Roy, and writer Namita Gokhale, who along with Dalrymple made the JLF become one of the most sought-after events in India.

 “Why has the literary festival taken off in this country in this extraordinary way? It goes back to the tradition of spoken literature, the celebration of literature orally through the spoken word has deep roots in this country,” Dalrymple said.

 “So the idea that a literary festival is a foreign import is something that can’t be maintained. We’ve tapped into something very deep here. Literature is alive and is loved in India,” he said.

 Inaugurating the festival’s 13th edition, celebrated British mathematician Marcus du Sautoy said: “Every number has its own particular character in the story of mathematics. For me it is 13; 13 is a prime number, an indivisible number, and the JLF is certainly a festival in its prime.”

 The festival this year is taking place amid a raging debate about India’s new citizenship legislation and mass agitation on the issue of preserving the secular fabric of the nation.

 Reflecting on the prevailing mood in the country, Roy, in his opening remarks, said: “We are now faced with a situation where we see a spread of the narrative of hatred. Literature is the one thing that can push back against it and so can be the arts. All of us have a responsibility to do so and this is not the time to be silent anymore.”

 Gokhale said: “Ever since its inception 13 years ago, we at the Jaipur Literary Festival have tried to give a voice to our plural and multilingual culture. We live in a nation which is defined by its diversity, and it is our effort to present a range of perspectives, opinions, and points of view, which together build up a cross-section of current thinking.”

 She added: “We seek mutual respect and understanding in our panels — it is important to us that these often conflicting ideas are respectfully presented and heard. We also resist predictable and self-important all-male panels, and try to ensure that the vital voices of women resonate through all aspects of our programming.”

 One of the attractions of the event this year is the presence of Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee, who won the prize in economics last year.

 There are also panel discussions on Kashmir, the Indian constitution and history.

 The prevailing political situation in South Asia is also reflected by the absence of Pakistani. Before, popular Pakistani authors would attend the JLF, but delays in visa issuance and a hostile domestic environment forced the organizers to “desist from extending invitations.”