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Analysis

Kashmiris plight after Modi government abrogated Article 370

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Kashmir Srinagar Situation

The Modi government’s action of forcibly abrogating Article 370 betrays the spirit of Indian democracy and it’s high time that without losing a second, India should end “garrison governance” in Kashmir and free all political prisoners, restore communications and other rights of people in Jammu and Kashmir. After 45 days of Kashmir lockdown; United Nations, European Union, UK have started doing lip service of expressing serious concern about the restrictions on the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

The veteran leaders of Jammu and Kashmir, who have been supporting integration of Kashmir into India, have been detained under Public Safety Act, which is used for terrorists, separatists.

Hundreds of politicians of National Conference party and Peoples democratic party (with whom BJP stitched alliance to rule Jammu and Kashmir and later suddenly pulled the support ) are under house arrest and prominent leaders who have mass following have been detained under PSA.

Entire communication blackout: isolating group of people from the rest of the world.

There are numerous reports of thousands of young men being arrested so there is no backlash after the Modi government abrogated Article370. The unprecedented lockdown for over 45 days in Kashmir in 21st century is a crucial issue and needs worldwide attention not only because of the change of status of Jammu and Kashmir but the manner in which the decision has been forcefully imposed on the people of the Jammu and Kashmir by the Narendra Modi government.

One cannot imagine how a person feel handicap without phone or internet access.

Ahead of UN speech on September 27, Modi mince good words for Kashmiris to impress the world community, UN, UNHRC.

Ahead of UN speech, now Prime Minister Narendra Modi suddenly woke up and September 19 said “we have to create a new paradise” and “hug each Kashmiri” as the region entered its 45th day of partial shutdown.
PM Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Ajit Doval and BJP leaders have been speaking in one voice supporting the Kashmir lockdown and giving a reason what the world powers are unable to read that the 50000 to 60,000 defence personnel has been deployed to avoid backlash .Clearly the Kashmiris are unable to show their resentment.

When the EU, UK started asking when will the lockdown end, the security threat was the reason given by the Modi government.

One must ponder, what terminology should be used if a democratically elected government started implementing policies in a dictatorial manner.

New Delhi denies “genocide“

What will the United Nations call ‘the deliberate isolating of a large group of people (million), especially those of a particular erstwhile state or ethnic group’ in the 21st century. It has been proven medically that if a person is forcibly isolated, then the person will die after a period of depression. Making people mentally ill by forcing some decision amounts to What?

Iltija Mufti, daughter of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, said at an event, “Kashmiris feel a deep sense of shock and betrayal. I don’t know how you are going to undo the damage and the pain you have inflicted on the Kashmiri people, no one has shown very little empathy for the plight of the Kashmiris.”

History of Kashmir conflict

The Kashmir conflict is a territorial conflict primarily between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir region. Jammu and Kashmir, the largest of the princely states, had a predominantly Muslim population ruled by the Hindu Maharaja Hari Singh. He decided to stay independent because he expected that the State’s Muslims would be unhappy with accession to India, and the Hindus and Sikhs would become vulnerable if he joined Pakistan. the Maharaja signed an instrument of accession on 26 October 1947, which was accepted by the Governor General the next day. While the Government of India accepted the accession, it added the proviso that it would be submitted to a “reference to the people” after the state is cleared of the invaders, since “only the people, not the Maharaja, could decide where Kashmiris wanted to live.”

India sought resolution of the issue at the UN Security Council, despite Sheikh Abdullah’s opposition to it. The UN Security Council passed Resolution 47 on 21 April 1948. The measure called for an immediate cease-fire and called on the Government of Pakistan ‘to secure the withdrawal from the state of Jammu and Kashmir of tribesmen and Pakistani nationals not normally resident therein who have entered the state for the purpose of fighting.’ It also asked Government of India to reduce its forces to minimum strength, after which the circumstances for holding a plebiscite should be put into effect ‘on the question of Accession of the state to India or Pakistan.’

At least 232 habeas corpus petitions have been filed in the Jammu and Kashmir high court since the nullification of Article 370, pertaining to Public Safety Act (PSA) detentions. Former J&K CM Farooq Abdullah and IAS officer-turned-politician Shah Faesal, territories, senior advocates, businessman are among them.

Amit Shah and Modi is buying time with the statements that the restrictions will be eased without mentioning any date. The Kashmir Valley is basically was a tourist hub before Modi government decision and approximately 70% of the livelihood depends upon the tourists or the daily wages.Consequent to the decision, people have little or no money to survive.

A communications blackout was imposed after the Indian government de-operationalised the Article370 and degraded the status of Jammu and Kashmir from State to Union Territories and snatched the little autonomy the Kashmiri people enjoyed.

The region’s most prominent politicians were detained without any reason and millions of residents being deprived of from the basic fundamental right to move freely, talk and oppose if there is brutality.

On first Friday the security establishment allowed Muslims to offer their prayers but after their namaz they took out a large protest against the abrogation of Article 370 and police used tear gas and pellet guns to thwart the protests.

The the second Friday was Eid and since then Muslims are not allowed to offer prayers at the main Masjid but locality mosques so that the huge number of people are unable to gather and hold protest. This is a systematic brutality on the people of certain religion to push them to do their religious rituals in a confined manner.

There have been numerous reports of people admitted to hospitals with pellet injuries after violent clashes on Saturday night, almost two weeks on from the Indian government’s abrupt decision to revoke Kashmir’s special status. Indian troops also used teargas, chilli grenades and pellets to disperse protesters. A 65-year-old man died after being admitted to the hospital with breathing difficulties, according to reports.

Another aspect that needs to be looked into is the inhuman approach of the Modi government by making Kashmir starve of communication and food. As Jammu and Kashmir was basically a tourism state and by asking tourists to leave the region, the business class was left with little money and the shikara owners are facing difficulty to survive and to crush people’s movement is to make them pauper and starve.

Sporadic protests have continued in Kashmir despite a security lockdown. Forces have responded with teargas and pellet guns and reports emerged that security men forcibly entered the homes and took kids and teenagers.

The government is using False propaganda as its weapon about normalcy in Kashmir and enthusiasm among kashmiris and misleading narrative is being used that development is the major factor and that’s why the autonomy of the Kashmiris has been snatched.If people are rejoicing what is massive security personnel doing.Allow media including foreign media and international observers to see for themselves.

If the government is right, then there is no need to propagate or to promote.

What is the purpose of world powers or institutions when million people are forced to remain in their houses and no foreign observers are there to check human rights violations nor they can communicate with the rest of the world.

To prove above points: A lot of petitions in Supreme Court about illegal detention of mainstream political leaders, kids and teenagers.

While hearing writ petitions by Enakshi Ganguly and Shanta Sinha seeking release of children being detained illegally in Kashmir ever since special provisions of Article 370 were struck down, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said he would visit Jammu and Kashmir, if needed, to check on allegations by a child rights activist that it was difficult accessing the High Court. Under Article 32 of the Constitution, which provides the right to constitutional remedies. Ganguly is an eminent child rights expert and Sinha was the first chairperson of the National Commission for Child Rights (NCPCR).

But one thing should be made clear by the current dispensation (Modi govt) : The entire India needs development in terms of assurance with confirmation that minorities including Dalits and Muslims won’t be attacked in the name of cow slaughter and the common man who suggests or advise the government will not be termed as anti-national.

India should avoid following the path of Benjamin Netanyahu who strongly favours Zionist country. Kashmiris are Indians, government should ask other political parties on how to built trust between them and government.

By Arti Bali

Sr Journalist (International Affairs)

Analysis

The US presidential elections and future of India-US relations

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Donald Trump Joe Biden

As the coronavirus pandemic dominates global news in the United States, progress toward the next presidential election scheduled to be held on November 3 moves slowly forward. President Donald Trump had no real opposition in the Republican party and is running for re-election. And it has now become apparent that former Vice President Joe Biden will be his opponent as the Democratic candidate for president.

What would a Trump victory bode for the future of US-India relations? What would a Biden victory bode? Let me answer each of those questions in turn.

Given the love fests of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Howdy Modi’ event in Houston, Texas, in which Trump participated in September of 2019, and Trump’s ‘Namaste Trump’ event hosted by Modi in India in February of this year, it might be assumed that the future for US-India relations is a splendid one. This would be an incorrect assumption.

Both of these events were more symbolic than substantive. Trump’s participation in them undoubtedly helped to persuade some — perhaps many — Indian American Modi supporters who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 to cast their ballots for Trump in 2020. Trump’s campaign team took steps to ensure this by holding an event at his Mar-a-Lago resort in which a group of prominent Indian Americans announced their plans to work for his re-election and to mobilize Indian Americans on his behalf.

To understand the future potential of India’s relations with the US. with Trump as president, however, it is necessary to look beyond these political moves and to examine the present state of those relations and Trump’s personal style.

In a word, the best way to characterize the current relations between the US and India is “functional”. The relationship was relatively good for the first two years of Trump’s presidency. In fact, near the end of 2018, Alice Wells, the Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, was quoted in the media s saying: “This has been a landmark year for US-India ties as we build out stronger relationships across the board.”

Then, in 2019, the relations went off the track in the first half of the year after the US and India got into a tit-for-tat tariff war after the US terminated India’s Generalized System of Preferences which allowed India to send certain goods to the US duty-free. There have been continuing efforts to structure a “modest” trade deal since then. It was thought there might be some type of deal done in September of 2019 while Modi was in the US by year’s end, and then during Trump’s India visit. But, as of today, there is still no deal.

This inability to get any meaningful trade agreement in place speaks volumes about India’s potential future relations with India with Trump as president. So, too does Trump’s style.

Trump’s campaign slogans this time around are “Keep America Great” and “Promises Made, Promises Kept.” Trump is not a policy wonk and most of his effort will go toward “America First”. This involves making the US more isolated by withdrawing from international agreements, restructuring trade agreements, emphasizing building walls to stop immigrants at the border, using tariffs to block trade with countries who are taking away American jobs, and confronting businesses who are allegedlly stealing American trade secrets.

This perspective suggests what India can expect for its relations with the US if it has to deal with Trump for a second term as president. The relations will stay functional at best. As I have said before, that’s because the words partnership, cooperation and collaboration are not in Trump’s vocabulary. Nationalism, isolationism and protectionism are.

Joe Biden stands in stark contrast to President Trump both professionally and personally. Biden is a strategic thinker and doer with a solid eight-year track record of leadership experience as Vice-President in forging alliances that have made a difference around the world and he has also been a long-standing friend of India.

He was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a leading advocate for the Congressional passage of the Indo-US civic nuclear deal in 2005. At a dinner convened 10 years later in 2015 by the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Vice President Biden discussed the tremendous joint progress that had been made by the two countries in the past and declared “We are on the cusp of a sea change decade.”

Early in his campaign for the Democratic nomination for president in July of 2019, in laying out his foreign policy vision, Biden stated that the US had to reach out to India and other Asian partners to strengthen ties with them. The items on Biden’s foreign policy agenda for strengthening which are of importance for India include climate change, nuclear proliferation and cyberwarfare.

During his vice presidency, Biden worked side by side with President Barack Obama to do things that would contribute to achieving Obama’s vision stated in 2010 of India and America being “indispensable partners in meeting the challenges of our time.” In 2020, those challenges are even greater than they were a decade ago.

That is why it is so essential that India and the US develop a strategic relationship that enables them to become those indispensable partners. That can happen if Biden assumes the presidency on January 20, 2021. It cannot happen if Donald Trump remains as president for a second term.

The results of this upcoming election in the US matter greatly for the future of the United States. They matter greatly for the future of India-US relations as well. Time and the American electorate will tell what that future will be.

(Frank F. Islam is an entrepreneur, civic and thought leader based in Washington DC. The views expressed here are personal)

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Analysis

Covid-19 toll across world crosses 35,000

The COVID-19 is affecting 132 countries and territories around the world.

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Patients infected with the novel coronavirus

New Delhi, March 30 : The death toll around the world due to coronavirus crossed 35,000 on Monday evening, with Italy heading the list of 35,097 deaths with 10,779, while the number of cumulative cases rose to 737,929, with US leading with 143,055 of them, as per data from the Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Centre.

Spain was second with 7,340 deaths, followed by China with 3,308 (3,186 of them in Hubei where the outbreak was first recorded), Iran with 2,757 deaths, France with 2,606 deaths, the US with 2,513 (776 of them in New York) and the UK with1,228 deaths.

In number of cases, Italy was second with 97,689, followed by Spain with 85,195, China with 82,198, Germany with 62,435, Iran with 41,495 and France with 40,747.

Meanwhile, 156,652 people around the world had recovered, with nearly half of them (75,923) in China, followed by 16,780 in Spain, 13,911 in Iran and 13,030 in Italy.

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Analysis

45% of Indians do not back up their data, files: Survey

The survey was conducted among 728 Avast and AVG users between February 20-March 25.

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Data Privacy

New Delhi, March 30 : Nearly half of Indians do not back up because they think their data or files are not important enough and most of those who back up their data, do it once a month, a survey said on Monday.

Other reasons cited by the respondents for not backing up their data included not knowing how to do it, not having time and forgetting about it, according to the survey by cybersecurity company Avast.

“It could be that many aren’t aware they are backing up, as it could be happening automatically, in the background, however, others really might not be backing up at all, thinking it is not worth it,” Luis Corrons, Security Evangelist at Avast, said in a statement.

“Losing personal documents, photos and videos can be a painful experience and it’s not until this happens that they realize how valuable it actually is,” Corrons added.

Of those who do back up their data, nearly 42 per cent Indians back up to a cloud storage, 36 42 per cent back up their data to an external hard drive, 23 42 per cent back up to a USB or flash disk, 18 42 per cent back up their phone to their PC, and 10 42 per cent back up to a network storage drive, the results showed.

Corrons recommended to back up data to two different locations, like the cloud, and a physical storage, like an external hard drive.

When it comes to iPhone and Android phone owners, the percentage that backs up is nearly the same, 69 per cent and 70 per cent respectively.

The percentage of smartphone owners that don’t know how to back up their data does not vary much between iPhone and Android owners, with 13 per cent and 17 per cent claiming not knowing how to, respectively, the study revealed.

Data loss can be caused by users accidentally deleting their data themselves, hardware damage and failure, as well as malware, causing valuable data such as photos, videos, documents, and messages to be lost forever.

Ransomware and other malware, such as wipers, can either encrypt or completely destroy files, and there is no guarantee that files can be decrypted if a ransom is paid.

The survey was conducted among 728 Avast and AVG users between February 20-March 25.

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