ISSN 2330-717X

No Takers For Propaganda – OpEd

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The Pakistani premier, Imran Khan, went to New York to participate in the proceedings of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) with a single point agenda of spreading anti-India sentiments. He kept haranguing on the decision of his neighbouring to reorganise the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories as also amending certain provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution.

The Indian Government strongly dismissed the claims made by the Pak premier. In an official statement in the UN, the Indian spokesperson, Vidisha Maitra, asserted, “By peddling half-truths and deliberate lies, Pakistan was attempting to divert attention from its own terror record including its brazen support to militants in J&K.”

Prime Minister Imran Khan predicted a huge uprising in Kashmir the “moment the curfew is lifted.” He was perhaps unaware that there was no blanket curfew imposed in J&K; limited restrictions were put in place in some parts of the state to prevent miscreants from fomenting trouble and these too were relaxed in less than a week’s time. In the present context the entire state is free of restrictions; free movement is seen everywhere with accessibility across the state to all including citizens, outsiders, journalists etc.

According to reports, the National Highway connecting Jammu to Srinagar and onwards to Kargil and Leh continues to function normally with over 1000 vehicles traversing the route everyday carrying food, fuel, medicines and other supplies to the valley and onwards to Ladakh and carrying back exports including apples and handicraft products to the rest of India.

“It is a myth being propagated that there is a virtual clampdown in J&K. Nothing could be farther from the truth. This is proven by the traffic visible on the roads with traffic jams, the passenger air traffic, the normal functioning of hospitals, the availability of essential civil supplies, and the free access of journalists.

“The very fact that all highways remain open, all air operations are normal and traffic is plying normally is sufficient to prove the “clampdown theory” is the vestige of imagination of a neighbour who has been dismayed to find that there the situation in JK has remained peaceful with not a single live bullet being fired,” an official spokesperson said.

All essential services be it electricity, water supply, sanitation and civil supplies have been functioning normally since August 5. Over 85000 LPG refills were home-delivered to consumers in Srinagar. Similarly 1.2 lakh quintals of rice were also distributed among consumers in the same period through the Public Distribution System.

Banking and ATM facilities have remained functional and normal. Over 730 ATMs were operating normally in the valley and cash being regularly replenished. Nearly Rs 800 crores were withdrawn in the first two weeks after August 5 which is slightly higher than normal withdrawal figures.

District hospitals and specialized health care institutions have been functioning regularly and normally in Kashmir since August, 5, and continue to do so. Nearly 15 lakh patients visited Out Patient Department (OPDs) in Kashmir hospitals during August-September, 2019. Healthcare institutions successfully performed over 80000 major and minor surgeries. The government has claimed that nearly 11 lakh lab investigations and over 10000 deliveries were conducted. All 376 notified medicines and 62 essential medicines are available in sufficient quantity. Over 5000 retail chemists and 3000 wholesale chemists are open in the valley. Nearly 5 lakh units of various variants of baby food items have been sold to the retail outlets.

Over 200 internet points are functional across the valley and are being extensively used by public including contractors, students and government officials. For the limited period that communication was unavailable, more than 300 communication points were established across the valley.

The limited restrictions currently imposed on mobile and internet communication are a consequence of deliberate, known attempts from across the border to conduct attacks through militants supported by them. The mobile restrictions are to handicap militants and their movement and also to restrict the attempts to create civil disturbance through patently false information being spread around by Pakistan and its proxies.

The effort of the security forces to ensure that no innocent life is lost due to the threats being posed by militants to civilians is being subjected to a false narrative attempting to project a troop build-up and human rights violations where there are none. Genuine aspirations of the local population such as wanting to resume normal life are being ignored.

A strong coercive influence is being exerted on ordinary Kashmiris through overt and covert threats to desist from resuming normal activities and businesses. A 4 years old girl child has recently been shot merely because her family wanted to carry out their normal economic activity. A 65 year old shopkeeper has been killed because he opened his shop to earn a living.

Pakistan is very vocal of the rights of the trouble creators, militants and thugs, but it does not have anything to say for those Kashmiris who are subjected to atrocity and death by militants sent to the Kashmir Valley by the country merely for wanting to open their shops and businesses. In any case, not much can be expected from a country where minorities, including Muslim minorities, have alarmingly shrunk from 23% to 3% in less than 75 years.

It is a fact that detentions have been made by the Government but these are under prescribed laws, subject to strict judicial review and with a purpose of ensuring that the normal life is not disrupted due to vested political interests.

There is no need to give credence to Pakistani propaganda or the incessant anti-India diatribe of its prime minister. It must be remembered that Pakistan being home to 130 UN designated terrorists and 25 terrorist entities listed by the UN has no legal or moral locus standi to speak on any issue- whether it be terrorism, human rights or Kashmir.



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Farooq Wani

Farooq Wani is a Kashmir senior journalist, columnist and political commentator.

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