Special status for occupied Kashmir 'fed terrorism', Modi says in TV address

Published August 8, 2019
People in occupied Kashmir watch Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi address the Indian nation in a televised speech, in an electronics store in Jammu. — AP
People in occupied Kashmir watch Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi address the Indian nation in a televised speech, in an electronics store in Jammu. — AP

Indian-occupied Kashmir was stripped of its autonomy to free it from “terrorism and separatism”, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday.

In his first comments on the constitutional bombshell carried out while Kashmir was under a military lockdown, Modi insisted that his government had made a “historic decision”. He did not bring up the clampdown in the region in his speech.

Read more: PM wonders if intl community will find the moral courage to prevent 'genocide' in occupied Kashmir

The Hindu nationalist BJP government rushed through a presidential decree on Monday to ditch the Muslim-majority region's constitutionally-guaranteed status. The Indian parliament also passed a law splitting the state into two territories.

The move was opposed by some of the opposition and has been questioned by Indian journalists and international organisations.

Internet and telephone connections in Kashmir have been cut since Monday and a curfew imposed as the authorities feared trouble when the decision was announced.

The move was slammed by Pakistan, with the government deciding to expel India's ambassador and suspend all bilateral trade. The parliament also passed a resolution condemning New Delhi's actions while Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed the fear of India committing genocide and ethnic cleansing in occupied Kashmir.

Modi in his speech alleged that Pakistan encouraged "terrorism and separatism" in occupied Kashmir.

“Friends, I have full belief that we will be able to free Jammu and Kashmir from terrorism and separatism under this system,” he said.

“I have full faith that the people of Jammu and Kashmir, after defeating separatism, will move forward with new hopes and aspirations.”

He said the special status has “not given anything other than terrorism, separatism, nepotism and big corruption”.

Modi said he respected opposition politicians and prominent Kashmiris who have opposed the government's strong-arm tactics.

“We are working to answer their points but I request them to act to keep India's interests and help Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh,” he said.

“I want to assure my Jammu and Kashmir colleagues that slowly things will become normal and their problems will reduce.”

The contentious move comes just days before the Muslim festival of Eidul Azha, and Modi said Kashmiris would not face difficulties celebrating the festival.

BJP govt strips Kashmiris of special autonomy

On Monday, India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party stripped Kashmiris of the special autonomy they had for seven decades through a rushed presidential order. An indefinite curfew — that today entered its fourth day — was imposed in occupied Kashmir and elected leaders were put under house arrest.

By repealing Article 370 of the constitution, people from the rest of India will now have the right to acquire property in occupied Kashmir and settle there permanently. Kashmiris as well as critics of India’s Hindu nationalist-led government see the move as an attempt to dilute the demographics of Muslim-majority Kashmir with Hindu settlers.

Furthermore, Indian Home Minister Amit Shah, who is also president of the BJP, moved a bill to bifurcate the state into two union territories — one, Jammu and Kashmir, which will have a legislature, and the other, Ladakh — to be directly ruled by New Delhi. The bill was passed.

Pakistan had strongly condemned the move and vowed to "exercise all possible options to counter the illegal steps" taken by India. A joint parliamentary session was summoned by President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran constituted a high-power committee to devise future strategy with regards to occupied Kashmir.

Opinion

Sub judice rule
18 Sep 2021

Sub judice rule

It is time this objection, sub judice, is laid to rest.
The Black Caps folly
Updated 18 Sep 2021

The Black Caps folly

There is so much wrong — and worrying — about the entire sorry episode of New Zealand backing out of Pakistan tour.
CT NAP revisited
Updated 18 Sep 2021

CT NAP revisited

A policy of appeasement towards extremists has undermined the state’s writ.
Pathways for reform
Updated 17 Sep 2021

Pathways for reform

Even now the government has said they are listening, but they have not said how they are listening.

Editorial

Blinken’s remarks
Updated 18 Sep 2021

Blinken’s remarks

The US establishment cannot scapegoat Pakistan for two decades of bad policy in Afghanistan.
18 Sep 2021

Worrying survey

THE findings of the Labour Force Survey 2018-19 indicate that some important headline trends have already taken or...
18 Sep 2021

Special needs

THE fact that only 3,653 children with special needs, out of some 300,000 in Sindh, are registered with the...
TTP amnesty?
Updated 17 Sep 2021

TTP amnesty?

An amnesty should be for some individuals, not the entire outfit.
17 Sep 2021

Media regulation

THE needless controversy over media regulation may finally be heading for a resolution. In a meeting with ...
17 Sep 2021

Refusing audit

THE continuous resistance put up by several public-sector organisations to submitting their accounts for audit by ...