By letting Indian politicians and media freely visit the valley, government will take the sting out of Pak’s disinformation drive against India’s Kashmir policy.
The Opposition and many public intellectuals have slammed the visit by European Union MPs to Jammu & Kashmir for two main reasons. First, it was awkward that the Narendra Modi government allowed EU Parliamentarians to go to the trouble-torn state, while Indian politicians were denied that permission. Second, most EU MPs were from far-Right parties. The first criticism is valid, but the second is the product of spite and thus invalid.
The government is unnecessarily attracting flak by disallowing Opposition leaders visit to Kashmir. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi rightly tweeted, “MPs from Europe are welcome to go on a guided tour of Jammu and Kashmir while Indian MPs are banned and denied entry. There is something very wrong with that.” In fact, a visiting MP, Nicolaus Fest, also said the same thing: “I think if you let in European Union parliamentarians, you should also let in Opposition politicians from India. So there is some kind of disbalance, the government should somehow address it.”
By letting Indian politicians, and the media (including foreign correspondents), freely visit the valley, the government will take the sting out of Pakistan’s disinformation drive against India’s Kashmir policy. The restrictions are bringing a bad name not only for the ruling dispensation but also for the country.
However, the criticism emanating from the ideological tilt of the visiting MPs is baseless. Many people have argued that the MPs were from far-Right or ultra-Right parties. For instance, Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury tweeted: “This unofficial group is overwhelmingly from ultra-right wing pro-fascist parties having relations with BJP. This explains why our MPs aren’t allowed but Modi welcomes them. 3 ex-CMs and 1000s others are jailed & this group of MEPs is preferred over Indian political parties?”
It is the wont of commies, and of the section of the media that parrots Left-wing lies, to use terms far-Right and ultra-Right. These days, we don’t have Right-wing parties, only far-Right and ultra-Right parties (but the Left is always just Left, an all-encompassing term, including the salon socialist as well as Dantewada’s murderous Maoist).
Further, the Right, of every denomination, is always fascist, Nazi, neo-Nazi, etc. All Rightists, Lefties keep telling us, are the descendants of Hitler; they would throw all non-whites into concentration camps. The Left wants us to remember Auschwitz and Dachau (and it wants us to forget the Gulag).
It doesn’t occur to the Lefties that banishing—or, to use their own favourite term, Othering—a viewpoint is the surest sign of fascism. Just because a set of people don’t ascribe to the Left’s position on the issues of economy and migration doesn’t mean that they are beyond the pale. Banishing, or even trying to banish, such people is to deny the very existence of certain opinions which are held not just by Parliamentarians but millions of people, for the MPs represent a large number of people in Europe.
Consider this: Tomá Zdechovský from the Czech Republic, we are told, wants niqab and burqa to be banned; and this view is regarded as fascistic. But what’s wrong with demanding such a ban? Isn’t suttee banned? The problem with the Left is that it has abandoned the Enlightenment ideas of individual liberty and reason; concomitantly, it has embraced myriad postmodern pathologies, including group identity and multiculturalism. This is the reason that the pinkish professors see little wrong in burqa, which is the instrument of oppression of Muslim women. Ditto with the fiery feminists, who otherwise keep crying hoarse about the so-called glass ceiling in the corporate world.
Those who oppose the visit of Right-wing MPs should answer a few simple questions: Which leaders should the Indian government have invited to Kashmir? UK Labour Party chief Jeremy Corbyn whose stance on Kashmir is manifestly anti-India? Or such US Congresspersons and Representatives as Brad Sherman, Abigail Spanberger and Sheila Jackson Lee who question our Kashmir policy? The politicians who share their worldview with Arundhati Roy?
The government got the right kind of politicians to visit Kashmir. They said that they “fully supported the country in its efforts for lasting peace and end of terror”. This is what we wanted to hear; and this is what we wanted the world to hear.
As mentioned earlier, had the government opened up the valley to Indian politicians and the media, the visit of EU MPs would have been much more effective than it did. Nonetheless, it was a good move on the part of the government.
Ravi Shanker Kapoor is Editor, www.thehinduchronicle.com