More than twenty days have passed since Burhan Wani was killed in what India terms as an ‘operation’ against terrorist elements, but what was actually the brutal murder of a 21-year-old. After an inordinate delay, the United States (US) has finally awoken from its slumber, and has denounced the violence in Kashmir, and has asked ‘all parties’ to work towards peace.
Before we start jumping on the US bandwagon and congratulate ourselves about the international community looking into the violence at Kashmir, let’s take a closer look at what was said. The fact that the US wants to deescalate the violence and nothing more, is very telling.
As is the fact that America still refuses to openly blame India for the atrocities, and instead asks ‘all parties’ to deescalate the situation, making it seem like the Kashmiri people are part of the problem. The US, and the rest of the world in fact, is very content with the status quo, as long as there are no dead bodies in the aftermath. It took for over 5500 to be injured and over 50 to lose their lives before the US even issued its ‘concern’. Concern on its own does nothing to save the lives of Kashmiris being marginalised by the Indian state, nor does it do anything to further their cause of self-determination. The US, as a global superpower is the only country that can actually force India to come to the table to discuss the Kashmir issue. It can do what the UN cannot. But it has not attempted to even mediate between Pakistan and India, identifying this as an issue that the two must resolve themselves. The only reason America is expressing token concern now, is because the atrocities committed are almost impossible to ignore.
Kashmiris deserve their right to self-determination, more than most, simply because of what the state has gone through over the past 69 years. The condition in Indian-Occupied Kashmir is the only evidence needed. No amount of Indian accusations of how Pakistan has festered hate in the region are going to change this. The US needs to stop treating each issue with the duplicitous standards it reserves for its closest friends; Israel first, and now India. As the only real power that can bring India to see the importance of a fair plebiscite, it is time for the US to face facts, back its own principles and do something useful for a change.
(editorial The Nation – Aug 1, 2016)