Yesterday, the government of Pakistan led demonstrations in multiple cities to raise awareness about Kashmir. The demonstrations appear to have been successful. At ISNACON, a conference held by the Islamic Society of North America, Senator Bernie Sanders took some time to speak about Kashmir.
“I am deeply concenerd about the situation in Kashmir, where the Indian government has revoked Kashmiri autonomy, cracked [down] on dissent, and instituted a communications blackout. The crackdown in the name of ‘security’ is also denying the Kashmiri people access to medical care. Even many respected doctors in India have acknowledged that the Indians government imposed restrictions on travel are threatening the life saving care that patients need.
India’s action is unacceptable. The communications blockade must be lifted immediately, and the United States government must speak out boldly in support on international humanitarian law and in support of a UN-backed, peaceful resolution that respects the will of the Kashmiri people.”
This is the first statement a Democratic Presidential candidate has made about Kashmir.
Earlier this month, House Representative Ilhan Omar (D–MN) stated, “We should be calling for an immediate restoration of communication; respect for human rights, democratic norms, and religious freedom; and de-escalation in Kashmir.”
What’s Going On In Kashmir?
On August 5, 2019, the Indian government revoked Article 370 of India’s Constitution. Article 370 essentially granted autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir and prevented people from outside the state from purchasing property in the state. This Article was incredibly important, as it prevented the majority Hindu population of India from displacing the majority Muslim population of Jammu and Kashmir.
As Sanders noted, phone and internet services have been shut off in the region. Prominent leaders in Jammu and Kashmir have been put under house arrest, and the Indian government has sent thousands of troops to the region.
I strongly recommend reading Vox’s crash course on Kashmir for more information.
The concerns about war are merited. Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, has a well-documented history of supporting Hindu nationalist ideas. Similarly, the Bharatiya Janata Party — the largest political party in India — is a right-wing, Hindu nationalist party.
Imran Kahn, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, has warned that the situation could lead to a “direct military confrontation.” Both India and Pakistan have nuclear weapons. There has been fear of a nuclear war for some time.
It’s vitally important that world leaders speak up in solidarity of Kashmir to restore the rights of the region’s citizens and prevent tensions from escalating any further. UN Security Council Resolution 47, which Sanders referenced in his statement, must be supported by nations around the world.
Leave a comment below and let me know what you think about the situation in Kashmir.