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New Rules

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of Turkey, is one of those rare ones who have expressed suppor t for Pakistan on Kashmir. The reason stated was concern for the human rights of ‘Muslims’. However, what both, he and Pak Prime Minister Imran Khan, conveniently overlooked was Turkey’s ghastly treatment of its Kurdish minority, which almost entirely Muslim. The Kurds want their own country based on ethnicity, so the killing going in Turkey and neighbouring parts for all these years is based on a sense of identity other than religion. Now that the US plans no longer to provide support to Kurdish militias in Syria (since the ‘common’ antagonist ISIS has been destroyed militarily), Turkey is looking forward to attacking them with increased ferocity. Anybody wishing to explain the morality behind such acts would face a very hard task indeed. Despite knowing these facts the supposedly enlightened human rights wallahs continue to pick and choose their causes. Since theocracies and autocracies are particularly vindictive against opponents, all the criticism of alleged violations is focused on the open and liberal societies. Since it is the latter who are most targeted by radicals of all kinds, the activism of convenience on human rights becomes actually a hindrance to democracy. There are very few activists who have the gumption to adopt an objective approach. In the case of Kashmir, for instance, the demand is for a return to ‘normalcy’, but this purpose is being undermined by the very people claiming to be well-wishers of the Kashmiris. Regardless of how it will impact on India’s interests, demands are being made on behalf of the Kashmiris with the primary purpose of embarrassing the Modi Government. That the government is aware of this strategy and is, therefore, not giving any importance to such activism, has further aggravated this lot. The crackdown in Kashmir has made the people of the valley aware of what they have been taking for granted. Terrorism was turned on and off over the past decades by the separatists to maintain leverage over Delhi. They chose if there would be peace or disturbances. For a change, this is being decided by the government on the basis of principles far removed from religion or ethnicity. Those who wish now to negotiate will have to understand the rules of the new game if normal life is to go on. This would require them to see through the designs of those who supposedly sympathise with them for religious or ideological reasons. That would be a beginning but without doing so, there will be no solution.