In response to the pack of lies by the Indian Ambassador to the US:
(1) The J & K RTI Act is much stronger than the Indian law which has been watered down again and again since 2014; in fact, RTI has been used in Kashmir more than anywhere else and there was an influential civil society RTI Movement;
(2) Women could very much participate in Panchayat elections, and if needed I can provide a list of names of some who won in 2011, including one KP panch from Tangmarg;
(3) The inheritance provisions contained in Art 35 A and prohibiting women who married an outsider from claiming their inheritance etc were struck down by the J & K High Court years ago and were already no longer valid;
(4)Economically J & K is much better off than most states in India, including and especially Gujarat;
(5) All important socio economic indicators are much better in Kashmir, including nutrition, health and education and especially for women and children;
(6); J & K never experienced the kind of poverty levels India experiences throughout because of Sheikh Abdullah’s land reforms. They were revolutionary at the time and made it possible for every Kashmiri to own land (land to the tiller) and prohibited large landholdings to remain in the hands of the rich and privileged; no Kashmiri will ever be homeless unlike the poor in India.
(7) Funds appropriated by India for “the development of Kashmir” have always been utilized primarily for paying the salaries of government employees the number of which is ridiculously high. Among other things, Delhi always felt providing/ funding government employment would create loyalties to the state and never discouraged it!
(8) According to his statement, there will be an additional 50,000 state government jobs added to an already hopelessly bloated bureaucracy!!! This will drain “development funds” even further.”
(9) The communications blackout has NOT been lifted at all. Landlines have been restored in many areas, but the saturation of landlines has been poor for a long time. Many people disconnected their lines and switched to mobile telephony a long time ago; he is simply lying because of all the pressure brought on India from abroad!
(10) There were thousands of migrant workers from India in Kashmir. All of them said they were paid higher daily wages and treated better than in India. Add to that hordes of beggars from India having created a begging mafia in the Valley!
(11) There have been several “investment conferences” like the one planned but which has already been canceled/ postponed because of the communications blockade. Nothing ever came out of it before, despite companies being able to lease land for 99 years the terms of which were renewable (The Taj and other hotels built properties that way in Kashmir); the main problems for investors is no all weather road communication throughout the year and the dismal power situation which is not only a function of poor management, discriminatory policies, most of the power generated being added to the Northern Power Grid of India, but also the water levels getting lower and lower during winters because of climate change.
(12) The armed rebellion has nothing at all to do with economic/ job issues. In fact, most of the “New Age Militants” since 2016 have been from well-to-do families and some left their jobs as teachers/ lecturers etc to join. Armed rebels join primarily because they have been abused by security forces and/ or because they demand secession from India. Not because they have nothing to do!
And none of this even touches on the political, including that Kashmir NEVER merged with India; that the document of accession was signed under duress but even so mentions that “a referendum would follow;” and then of course the promise to hold a plebiscite which is demanded more and more every day. He also does not mention that aggression/ tension between India and Pak this time was started by India with Rajnath Singh reversing the no-first-use policy in a recent statement and ringing alarm bells everywhere; moreover the “plan” to take back AJK/ GB is no longer just a fleeting threat but is discussed on TV almost every night!