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Thursday, July 18, 2024

India losing narrative war on Indian Occupied Kashmir

India has marred its claim of 'World's Biggest democracy' with its actions in Kashmir and the world has started seeing it the way it is. The brutal occupation of India and human rights violations has been criticized by all the major stakeholders of the world.

India is losing the narrative war as the world looks at Delhi for what it is—neo-colonial power brutally suppressing Kashmiris in IOK.

Despite India’s efforts to limit scrutiny of its persecution of Kashmiris in IOK, the growing body of credible international media is coming out with news and analysis to highlight the scope and scale of Delhi’s brutalities. The world’s public opinion as reflected from the New York Times, Washington Post to Foreign Policy Magazine is ‘alarmed‘ at what India is trying to hide for the last three weeks in IHK through curfew and massive military deployment.

For the first time, it shows that India is losing international opinion: its mantra of developing IOK after the abrogation of Article 370 lacks credibility as the entire IOK has been incarcerated right under the noose of human rights bodies.

PM Modi’s stance to develop IOK has effectively exposed itself for what it is—a targeted and deliberate campaign of arbitrary detention of Kashmirs and persecution based on their religious identity that amounts to ethnic genocide and also potentially involves crimes against humanity.

The freedom-loving Kashmiris will continue their struggle regardless of who supports them though, but if the world fails to stand up to and patronizes India for killing fields in IHK

There have been some indications that continued media coverage of India’s brutalities in IOK and mistreatment of Kashmirs and other Muslim minorities has had an impact on India. Delhi is facing a backlash of International human rights bodies including ICG, HRW, and UN Human Rights Commissionerate among others to demand easing restrictions and ensuring the supply of medicine and food.

The squeeze is also coming from India’s allies: Russia, the United States, Europeans and even Japan, asking Delhi to ameliorate the nasty situation after August 5’s clampdown in IOK. Wherever PM Modi visits, he faces Kashmir’s situation as some sort of pressure point discussed in bilateral and multilateral engagements.

Delhi’s false assurance and “everything is calm narrative” is not being bought by the international community. Recent media reports and journalists from IOK who have visited the region confirm that Delhi continues to operate IOK as a big detention center.

Amnesty International has questioned India’s statement that curfew has been lifted during the day time and restrictions eased, even it accused Delhi of making deceptive and unverifiable stories to allay worldwide fears for the welfare of Kashmiris.

The concern expressed by the US Congressmen/women about the deteriorating situation in Kashmir and strong censure of India underscored the fact that Delhi is losing in the court of global opinion and now Democratic hopeful, Bernie Sanders has joined in the ranks.

Growing concerns on IOK and aggressive posturing of Delhi against Pakistan also sparked worries among investors pulling investment out of India as per recent reports.

Read more: Imran Khan’s Kashmir Policy? Is there One?

The image of India has battered. It is, among the world’s capitals, increasingly being viewed and depicted not as a “Shining” India but “Shaming” India by its own diaspora communities, including the Sikh community who staged huge rallies across Europe and North America. Now its rhetoric of being the largest democracy has been replaced by Hindvata State where Kashmirs are in revolt; Asami’s are up in arm; Sikhs are now openly advocating freedom, and the ordinary Muslims are tuned into third-rated citizens.

Gandhi’s India is making way to the new perception of “racist” and “fascist” India. PM Modi has lost the status of modernizer and now being clubbed with Hitler and Mussolini presiding over a Stalinist dictatorship and a Hindu “Rashtra”.

As far the global response is concerned, the only thing going in India’s favor is the criminal silence of Muslim world who professes to express solidarity with Muslims in distress but have turned a blind eye to the genocide of Kashmiris clearly preferring trade and business relations with India over the rights of Muslims.

But if a proper global response after a favorable public opinion sympathetic to the plight of Kashmiris, is not forthcoming, the issue at heart is going to be Modi’s India  demonstrating and sending a message to other authoritarian and oppressive regimes that the international community is no longer interested in enforcing rules on how a state treats minorities.

The world community is rightly becoming alive to the situation in IHK. The freedom-loving Kashmiris will continue their struggle regardless of who supports them though, but if the world fails to stand up to and patronizes India for killing fields in IHK, all their cries for elitist protest in Hong Kong under full western media gaze will be nothing but crocodile tears to geopolitically pressure China.

Jan Achakzai is a geopolitical analyst, a politician from Balochistan, and ex-adviser to the Balochistan government on media and strategic communication. He remained associated with BBC World Service. He is also Chairman of Centre for Geo-Politics & Balochistan.