Is India ‘losing the soul of its democracy’ in Kashmir?


India’s actions in Kashmir reflect the corrosion of its own democracy, argues , University Professor at Ashoka University. Indian democracy has always been messy, he writes for Foreign Affairs

….but the fragmentation of power across political parties and institutions has helped provide checks and balances against untrammelled executive might. Recent years have witnessed a troubling consolidation of power. Politically, the opposition is weak and divided. Modi and the Hindu nationalist BJP face no strong challenge from their political rivals. The rudderless Congress Party—the center-left, secular party that has ruled India for most of its existence—is mired in an internal leadership battle and is divided on the issue of Article 370, unable to mount an effective ideological resistance to Modi.

India has long failed to make the promise of democracy alluring to Kashmiris, Mehta adds. But the actions of this government, and the acquiescence of democratic institutions and political parties, make it even more unlikely that Kashmir will easily accept New Delhi’s rule. India thinks it has won Kashmir, but it might be losing the soul of its democracy in the process. RTWT

On August 5, 2019, India stripped the special status of Kashmir and absorbed the state into the Indian Union, The Middle East Institute reports. Prime Minister Modi’s decision and the imposition of a communications blackout and strict curfew was denounced in Pakistan and questioned elsewhere.

For decades, Pakistan has been trying to draw international attention to legal and human rights issues in Kashmir. The actions of the prime minister have now forced Kashmir on to the world stage and India into a defensive role. Thus far, however, the reactions of major regional and global powers have been muted. Pakistan remains determined to sustain Kashmir’s high profile by pointing out new humanitarian concerns and the growing danger of armed, possibly nuclear conflict.

The Middle East Institute (MEI) hosts a discussion with AJK President Masood Khan and well-known Pakistani journalist Raza Rumi (above)* president of INDUS. President Khan will address recent developments and suggest how Pakistan’s efforts on behalf of Kashmiri self-determination may now be pursued. Marvin G. Weinbaum, director of MEI’s Afghanistan and Pakistan Studies, will moderate the discussion.

Tuesday, October 1. 12:30-2:00 PM. The Middle East Institute, 1763 N Street NW, Washington DC 20036. RSVP Please note new MEI location.

*Raza Rumi is the president of INDUS-Moblizing People’s Power, a Washington D.C. based Non Profit research organization. He is a policy analyst, journalist who has been the editor of Pakistan’s English-language Daily Times. …Rumi has been a fellow at  New America Foundation (2014); United States Institute of Peace (Sept 2014-March 2015) and a visiting fellow at National Endowment for Democracy. He is also a member of think tank at the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University.

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