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Letter to the Editor: Understanding the political situation in Kashmir

Dear Editor:

As director of the South Asian Studies Initiative at Ohio State and an Indian-American professor and activist opposed to Hindu fundamentalism (“Hindutva”), I was dismayed to see your reporting on the recent vigil on the deaths of Indian soldiers in Pulwama (Kashmir), organized by Hindu Yuva.

While it is natural to mourn the violent deaths of any human being, whom we choose to mourn is politicized. I ask that The Lantern and the university groups supporting such events find out more about various political formations in India and South Asia, and the contexts in which deadly events like this occur.

It starts with asking what a paramilitary force like the Central Reserve Police Force (CPRF) is doing in Kashmir at all.  

Kashmir is a region with a long-standing demand for independence and self-determination — and the Indian military occupation of Kashmir, involving an estimated 1 million troops, is one of the most long-standing and violent occupations in history.

The brunt of the violence in the region is faced by ordinary Kashmiris. Grave human-rights abuses and killings have been committed by Indian military and paramilitary forces against Kashmiri civilians for decades, as the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) and the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) have documented.

It is not surprising that Hindu Yuva would organize such a vigil without a mention of these contexts. A student network supportive of right-wing Hindu nationalists like India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Hindu Yuva joins many Hindutva supporters in India, the United States, and elsewhere who are using the killings of the soldiers to demonize Kashmiris and Pakistanis as a whole


Modi’s party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and affiliated groups like the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), have long been fighting for an exclusively Hindu nation — in a country with a large Muslim population, among other religious minorities.

While the rhetoric of Hindutva organizations is different depending on their audience, it is important to remember that it was the people associated with the RSS that assassinated Mohandas Gandhi in 1948 for being “too friendly” to Muslims.

Anyone reading Twitter or Facebook can see the anti-Muslim vitriol being fueled by these forces around the Pulwama attack. On the ground, violence against Kashmiris is increasing after the incident.

I urge the Ohio State community to learn more about the occupation, and to think about why the majority who are suffering in Kashmir are largely unheard.

Sincerely,

Dr. Pranav Jani

Director, South Asian Studies Initiative at Ohio State

Associate Professor, English

4 comments

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  2. Mahmoud El-Yousseph

    Understanding the reasons behind the attack the Muslim woman in US Congress

    Ilhan Omar under attack: Where is the outrage?

    Dear Editor,

    Congresswoman Ilhan Omar is under attack again. Last Friday, West Virginia Republicans has displayed an anti-Muslim poster of Rep. Omar in W.V. State House equating her to al-CIA-da and blaming her for the terrorist attacks of 9/11. That display has led to a confrontation between Republican and Democratic lawmakers.

    The day after, the Republican Party Chairwoman said the display was not affiliated with the party in any way adding, “The West Virginian Republican Party does not condone or support hate speech. Hmm! Does that apply to Muslim hate or say Islamophobia also?! Apparently, not!

    The ugly truth, Rep. Omar has been under attack long before she was elected. The reasons, you may ask? The answer is: She supports BDS, challenged AIPAC, is a Muslim woman, and wears a hijab.

    Last month, the world came to a halt after Congresswoman Omar tweeted that AIPAC the pro-Israeli lobby had bought off some members of Congress. Rep. Omar was immediately and viciously attacked by Israel’s 3 Stooges (the White House and both houses of Congress) and she was forced to apologize. Now, Congresswoman Omar is the victim of slander and smear campaign. Where is the outrage?

    Chelsea Clinton, who was quick to rebuke Ilhan Omar last month and told the Congresswoman what she can and can not say, has now gone back to her shell.

    Finally, Trump, who shamefully called for Omar’s resignation, has not made a peep. Too bad Ivanka Trump, the administration’s moral compass, who once said “there’s a special place in hell for people who prey on children” has chosen to remain silent about Republicans ganging against a Muslim lawmaker.

    Mahmoud El-Yousseph
    Retired USAF Veteran
    Westerville, Ohio

    • Mahmoud El-Yousseph

      Understanding the reasons behind the attack on the Muslim woman in U.S. Congress

      Ilhan Omar under attack: Where is the outrage?

      Dear Editor,

      Congresswoman Ilhan Omar is under attack again. Last Friday, West Virginia Republicans has displayed an anti-Muslim poster of Rep. Omar in W.V. State House equating her to al-CIA-da and blaming her for the terrorist attacks of 9/11. That display has led to a confrontation between Republican and Democratic lawmakers.

      The day after, the Republican Party Chairwoman said the display was not affiliated with the party in any way adding, “The West Virginian Republican Party does not condone or support hate speech. Hmm! Does that apply to Muslim hate or say Islamophobia also?! Apparently, not!

      The ugly truth, Rep. Omar has been under attack long before she was elected. The reasons, you may ask? The answer is: She supports BDS, challenged AIPAC, is a Muslim woman, and wears a hijab.

      Last month, the world came to a halt after Congresswoman Omar tweeted that AIPAC the pro-Israeli lobby had bought off some members of Congress. Rep. Omar was immediately and viciously attacked by Israel’s 3 Stooges (the White House and both houses of Congress) and she was forced to apologize. Now, Congresswoman Omar is the victim of slander and smear campaign. Where is the outrage?

      Chelsea Clinton, who was quick to rebuke Ilhan Omar last month and told the Congresswoman what she can and can not say, has now gone back to her shell.

      Finally, Trump, who shamefully called for Omar’s resignation, has not made a peep. Too bad Ivanka Trump, the administration’s moral compass, who once said “there’s a special place in hell for people who prey on children” has chosen to remain silent about Republicans ganging against a Muslim lawmaker.

      Mahmoud El-Yousseph
      Retired USAF Veteran
      Westerville, Ohio

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