Nobel laureate Amartya Sen slams decision to revoke occupied Kashmir's special status

Published August 20, 2019
Indian economist and Nobel laureate Amartya Sen says India ""lost the reputation" of being the world's first non-Western country to adopt a democratic system. — Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons
Indian economist and Nobel laureate Amartya Sen says India ""lost the reputation" of being the world's first non-Western country to adopt a democratic system. — Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Indian economist and Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has slammed the Narendra Modi-led government's decision to revoke occupied Kashmir's special status, saying that India had "lost the reputation" of being the world's first non-Western country to adopt a democratic system.

“As an Indian, I am not proud of the fact that India, after having done so much to achieve a democratic norm in the world, where India was the first non-Western country to go for democracy, that we lose that reputation on the grounds of action that have been taken,” he said in an interview with NDTV on Monday night.

On Aug 5, the Indian government repealed Article 370 of the constitution that granted occupied Kashmir special status and prevented non-Kashmiris to buy property or start business in the region. A strict curfew and communications blackout is still in place in the region while international news agencies have been reporting protests held by residents.

Explainer: What India's change to occupied Kashmir's status means

Sen said that the decision to allow non-Kashmiris to buy property in the region should have been left for the Kashmiri residents because "it is their land".

"That is something for the Kashmiris to determine [...] If that is the will that the Kashmiris have on democratic grounds, we can accept it."

"This is something in which Kashmiris have a legitimate point of view because it is their land," he added.

He also criticised the imposition of a lockdown — that has been in place for over two weeks — in the occupied region as well as the arrests of Kashmiri leaders under the pretext of preventing violent protests in the valley, calling it a “colonial excuse”.

"That’s how the British ran the country for 200 years. The last thing that I expected when we got our independence [...] is that we would go back to our colonial heritage of preventive detentions."

More than 4,000 people have been arrested by the Indian forces in occupied Kashmir under the controversial Public Safety Act (PSA) that allows authorities to imprison someone for up to two years without charge or trial, AFP reported last week. Several prominent Kashmiri leaders, including former chief ministers of occupied Kashmir, have been placed under house arrest.

Opinion

Climate & youth

Climate & youth

Disillusionment and anxiety are on the rise among youth as they confront the diminishing prospects of a better tomorrow.
Our exclusivity syndrome
Updated 17 Oct 2021

Our exclusivity syndrome

Pakistan needs at least a minimum level of inclusivity that can keep alive democratic values.
Shafqat Kakakhel
Updated 16 Oct 2021

Shafqat Kakakhel

COP26 has to achieve consensus on several issues.

Editorial

Carnage in Kandahar
Updated 17 Oct 2021

Carnage in Kandahar

Pakistan’s anti-extremism policy is in many ways half-baked and inconsistent.
17 Oct 2021

Sanctity of contracts

PAKISTAN is facing yet another international dispute before the International Centre for Settlement of Investment...
17 Oct 2021

New sports policy

THIS week, the Pakistan Football Federation Normalisation Committee chief Haroon Malik was in Zurich to hold ...
Diminishing freedom
Updated 16 Oct 2021

Diminishing freedom

DESPITE the serious reservations of digital rights activists and tech companies, the federal government has...
16 Oct 2021

Dirty politics

IN her outburst against Prime Minister Imran Khan this week, PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz may not have taken names but...
16 Oct 2021

Decreasing emissions

THE announcement by SAPM on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam that carbon emissions in the country came down by 9pc...