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Hitting Back


A 27 member group of European MPs is visiting Kashmir at the invitation of the Indian Government. Some people have pointed out that most of these MPs belong to right of centre parties often accused of Islamophobia. With this it is being sought to be established that any conclusion these MPs might reach about the state of affairs in J&K would be biased and, therefore, untrustworthy. But, at least, they will have visited the state and seen things personally, not pontificated about human rights and the ‘fascist’ Indian government from thousands of miles away without any direct knowledge of the matter.
It may be recalled the leftist MPs in Britain and members of the Congress in the US had, recently, issued one-sided condemnatory statements on the Kashmir issue. They belong to the exact mindset that caused Washington Post to describe ISIS Chief al-Baghdadi as ‘an austere religious scholar’, instead of what he was, a bloodthirsty villain. In Britain, the Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn is fishing for votes from Pakistani and other anti-Indian elements because most Indians, because of their economic profile, have become conservative in their politics. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is a member of the Labour Party and has been accused of being soft on the kinds of people who attack the Indian Embassy and seek to intimidate Indians on the streets.
In the US, the Democrats of the Bernie Sanders kind are clearly miffed with Prime Minister Modi warming up to President Trump. So, regardless of the reality on the ground and the history behind the Kashmir dispute, chose to castigate India on the basis of trumped up charges presented before them, without regard to the alternate narrative. One reason, again, is the conservative nature of most Indian voters in the US.
Instead of displaying the traditional Oxbridge instilled restraint of past diplomacy, India has chosen to exploit the other side of the political spectrum – those who have a natural affiliation for India’s concerns. It remains to be seen how the visit turns out and what the MPs experience, but it has been made clear that India will not take things lying down.
Rahul Gandhi and others have asked why India’s own MPs from the opposition parties are not being allowed unrestricted access to the state. He should not be surprised at the decision considering the use Pakistan has made of his utterances and those of his kindred politicians for anti-India propaganda. Self-goals are not what the ruling BJP is interested in.