UAE backs India on Kashmir issue

27th Sep 2019
UAE backs India on Kashmir issue

Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and Crown Prince of UAE Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in August (Photo: Narendra Modi official Flickr Commons)

Nadine Osman

Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, on August 25 received the United Arab Emirates (UAE) highest civilian honour, as rights activists condemn Modi Government’s brutal clampdown on the Muslim-majority Indian Administered Kashmir.

The Gulf nation’s Ambassador to India, Ahmad Al Banna, observed that the recognition of states is not a unique incident in the history of independent India and that it was mainly aimed at reducing regional disparity and improving efficiency.

“The reorganisation of states is not a unique incident in the history of independent India and that it was mainly aimed at reducing regional disparity and improving efficiency. It is an internal matter as stipulated by the Indian Constitution,” the envoy said on August 6.

Further, the UAE hoped that the changes would improve social justice and security and confidence of the people in the local governance and will encourage further stability and peace.

On August 5, Modi revoked provisions of Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir. Modi said he wanted to end the isolation that had kept the state “underdeveloped to serve the vested interests of a few. This isolation also allowed some of the youth to be misguided, get radicalised and take to violence and terrorism.”

Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan awarded Modi the Order of Zayed medal during his visit to the capital, reinforcing ties between the two countries.

The Crown Prince personally put the gold medal around Modi’s neck. Modi had been announced as a recipient of the prize in April, days before winning re-election, in a tweet from Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Modi thanked the UAE’s leadership for backing India on the issue. He said the UAE had shown “full understanding” of the strong steps India has taken against terrorism. “We have exemplary cooperation to ensure mutual security,” he said.

Modi said strengthening ties with the UAE remained one of the most important foreign policy priorities of his Government. Talking about cooperation in all sectors between India and the UAE, he said the rapport shared between the leaders had helped the countries break new ground.

Not all Muslim countries remained neutral or branded the move an internal matter. Speaking during Friday prayers in Tehran, Iran, last month, Ayatullah Mohammad Ali Movahedi-Kermani, called revoking Kashmir’s autonomy “an ugly act” and warned India “to prevent confrontations with the Muslims” as “this is not in India’s interest or the interest of the region.”

Members of Turkish non-governmental organisations (NGOs) gathered outside the Indian Embassy in Ankara to express solidarity with the oppressed people of Kashmir. Members of the NGOs carried placards reading “The people of Kashmir want freedom” and “Kashmiris should be given the right to choose their political future.”

Senior Turkish lawmaker on September 19 called on the Indian Government to end the worsening human right violations in the State “as immediately as possible.” “Human rights violations have shown a massive increase in Jammu and Kashmir since Aug. 5, 2019,” Hakan Çavuşoğlu, the head of the Turkish Parliament’s Human Rights Commission, said in a statement.

Hakan Çavuşoğlu mentioned how thousands of troops were deployed to the region in early August before India took the sudden, unprecedented move of revoking the region’s special status. “I call on the Indian Government to end the human right violations in Jammu and Kashmir as immediately as possible,” he said.

Human Right Watch (HRW) called on India to immediately release detained Kashmiris who have not been charged with a recognisable offence. Several thousand Kashmiris, including politicians and opposition activists, have been held in preventive detention since August 5. Those detained include approximately 400 elected officials and political leaders, as well as former chief ministers of the State belonging to the National Conference and the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Democratic Party.

The authorities have reportedly detained nearly 4,000 people, including supporters of political parties, separatist leaders, lawyers, journalists, and people who allegedly had records of participating in protests.

There have been serious allegations of torture and beatings. Many detainees have not been allowed to contact their families or lawyers. According to an official document seen by Reuters, as of September 6, the authorities had arrested more than 3,800 people, and of them, 2,600 had been released. The Government should release a list of all detainees and their whereabouts, HRW said.

“Anyone who has been detained in Kashmir without evidence of a crime should be immediately and unconditionally released,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia Director at HRW. “It is essential for the authorities to allow every detainee access to lawyers and family members.”

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