The Narendra Modi-led "Hindu nationalist" government's decision to abrogate Article 370 in conflict-ridden Jammu and Kashmir on Monday, was met with resounding protests from the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha when the resolution was passed, and also from human rights activists and the general public.
The government proposed the revocation of the legislation, the taking away the state's special status, and a bifurcation into two Union Territories, Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. The 'bold and far-reaching decision', the aftermath of which has the world waiting in anticipation, seeks to redraw the map and future of a region at the centre of a protracted armed movement.
Most international media houses, lightly critical of the move and warning against an escalation of violence in the disputed Kashmir Valley, pointed to a possible Hindutva-driven aim for the saffron party's government at the Centre. Israel's The Jerusalem Post noted India's close relations with the Benjamin Netanyahu-led country and presented an analysis on how the Kashmir conflict has wide-reaching effects on several global players: Pakistan, United States, and Afghanistan.
In an analysis titled 'Why Kashmir matters', the author wrote, "This comes as the US wants Pakistan to refrain from stoking tensions in Afghanistan where the US is seeking a deal with the Taliban. It also comes as India wants to assert itself and is concerned over another round, like happened in February when its jet was shot down. India, which has close relations with Israel, has been trying to modernise its army. The Kashmir tensions, therefore have much wider regional and global links."
Al Jazeera carried the news of the abrogation of Article 370 as the highlight of their online website, with a report titled ''Darkest day': Uproar as India strips Kashmir of special status'.
The publication also carried an opinion piece titled, 'There is reason to fear for the safety of every Kashmiri in India', which noted that the move to abrogate the legislation was received by Kashmiris as "deceitful and illegal". The author also said, "The revoking of Article 370 is just the latest step in the BJP's grand plan to transform India into a Hindu-only nation."
"And now that India, with scant regard to its own constitutional moorings and UN resolutions, has finally announced to the world their intention to annex Kashmir completely and rule its population indefinitely, they are gearing up for a new period of conflict, oppression, and bloodshed," the article further added.
Saudi Arabia's Saudi Gazette, in an opinion piece titled 'A dangerous blunder', claimed that "nothing good could come out of the decision" to abrogate Article 370 and 35A in the state. The author also claimed that the violence in the restive region had increased — "The violence has been met with even more violence by the beleaguered Indian security forces" — ever since the dissolution of the state's Assembly in June 2018.
The article further noted, "Article 35A may prove to be crucial in this respect. It reserved to the local inhabitants the right to a range of jobs but even more importantly, the exclusive entitlement to own property. With the removal of this provision, it can be expected that BJP fanatics will seek to colonize Jammu and Kashmir with a long-term view to outnumber the locals."
Khaleej Times carried two reports by Indian news agency IANS, and headlined them as 'How Indian govt executed the 'top secret' Kashmir task' and 'How things will now change for Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh'.
Most of the reports in West Asian publications on the decision of the Centre, also included Pakistan's reaction in their headlines. News Middle East, in a report titled 'Pakistan anger as India ends special status for Kashmir', said, "India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir, convulsed by a 30-year armed revolt in which tens of thousands have died, with hundreds of thousands of Indian troops deployed. India blames that rebellion on Pakistan, which denies it, saying it backs the right to self-determination for Kashmir."
Another Israeli publication, Haaretz, also carried an opinion piece on the "proxy wars" between Iran and Saudi Arabia having found a new "battleground" in Kashmir. In the article, the author noted that Iran is looking to increase its influence and "entrenchment" in Kashmir by "targeting its Shia population", and added that other West Asia countries like Saudi Arabia and Turkey are also eyeing the region in a bid to halt Iran's plans.
"Tehran is targeting the hearts and minds of Indian-controlled Kashmir's 1.4 million Shia Muslims. Once limited to India and Pakistan, the Kashmir conflict is now becoming much wider — and more explosive. Shias are not prominent proponents of the mainstream separatist narrative, but they are undergoing an ideological transformation towards a far greater sympathy for separatism, a cause that Iran enthusiastically supports," the article said.
US publications The Washington Post, and The New York Times were scathingly critical of the Modi government's decision. The latter, in a report titled 'India Revokes Kashmir’s Special Status, Raising Fears of Unrest', the authors quoted Iltija Javed, daughter of former chief minister who was put under house arrest on Monday, Mehbooba Mufti as saying, "We feel there is an atmosphere of death looming over us."
Adding that the Centre had been preparing for the move for at least two weeks by bringing in more military forces into the restive region, the report said, "Still, many people were stunned that the government actually made the decision. It was widely seen as another bold, muscular move by the administration of Modi, India’s forceful prime minister, to consolidate power."
The Washington Post carried opinion articles by various writers including Indian journalist Barkha Dutt. In an article titled, 'India’s settler-colonial project in Kashmir takes a disturbing turn', author Hafsa Kanjwal noted, "This move highlights the ways in which India is quickly descending to an authoritarian State, only interested in its expansion and securing power — and one that will flout international law and its own Constitution to achieve these ends."
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Aug 06, 2019 20:53:40 IST