Thursday, July 05, 2007

The Struggle for Kashmir (Continued)

My article The Struggle for Kashmir (Continued), based on my visit to the conflict zone in February of this year, has just been published in the Spring 2007 edition of the World Policy Journal.

Featuring interviews with such pivotal figures in Kashmir’s recent political history as People's Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti, Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKFL) chairman Yasin Malik, Indian historian and author Ramachandra Guha and Parmina Ahanger, head of the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons, the article takes a long and uncompromising look at the situation on the ground in Kashmir today and the role that India and Pakistan have played in fostering it.

It also looks in depth at the effects on human rights and individual liberties in the region as a result of Section 45 of India’s criminal procedure code - which protects any member of the armed forces from arrest for “anything done or purported to be done by him in the discharge of his official duties except after obtaining the consent of the Central government” - and Section 197(2) of the same code, which makes it mandatory for prosecutors to obtain permission from the federal government to initiate criminal proceedings against any public servant, including armed forces personnel.

The article is also, I hope, a tribute to the resilience, hospitality and beauty of the thousands of ordinary Kashmiris, as beautiful even as their spectacular homeland, who, as one Kashmiri I met told me, “are very moderate people not the Taliban projected by media.”

Quite so.

For those interested, here also is a link to an interview I did regarding the situation in Kashmir with talk-show host Leonard Lopate on WNYC in New York this past May.

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