G-20 Meetup: ‘Putting a lid on our miseries’ by projecting ‘normalcy’

by Dr. Abida Rafiq

Group of 20 (G20) meeting will be held in Indian-administrated Kashmir. The contentious gathering is intended to represent “normalcy” in the contentious area.

From May 22 to 24, the third G20 working group on tourism will convene in the area. This will be the first international gathering there since India’s right-wing government removed the region’s special status as the nation’s sole region with a majority of Muslims on August 5, 2019.

Since India unilaterally withdrew the region’s semi-autonomous status in 2019, the G20 Meetup is the first major international gathering to take place in the Kashmir valley. Since then, there has been a considerable re-districting and rezoning of the area.

As the repeal of Article 370 pushed this pattern even farther and deprived the local populace of their rights. A prime example of the Indian government’s neo-imperial and neo-capitalist logic is its proposal to invest 28,000 crore in Kashmir under the pretense of development. It is no secret that the Indian government prioritizes land and resource grabs in Kashmir over regional development. This includes human resources as well. This “development plan” is nothing more than a blatant ploy to continue taking advantage of the Kashmiri people. The Indian government has actively pursued a program of demographic change in the area since the repeal of Article 370 in 2019. The issuance of over 1.5 million domicile certificates to entrepreneurs and businessmen is a clear indication of their intentions. The government is not interested in uplifting the Kashmiri people but in bringing in outside investors to extract resources from the region. This policy is a continuation of the colonial practices of the past and represents a clear violation of the Kashmiri people’s right to self-determination.

While living under Indian administration, Kashmiris were given some territorial and cultural rights thanks to their semi-autonomous status. The designation acknowledged that India was just acting as Kashmir’s interim administrator. And that Kashmiris were entitled to make the final decision about their own future.

The Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), led by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has long opposed Kashmir’s unique status. It was revoked in the party’s 2019 election platform.

The government has pushed a number of laws and policies that Kashmiris in the valley claim are intended to undermine their fight for the right to self-determination of their destiny in the years after New Delhi took direct control of Indian-administered Kashmir.

Currently, India is in charge of the G20, a group of 20 nations that also includes the European Union. 80 percent of the global gross domestic product (GDP) is produced by this group.

As it prepares to give the delegates a tour of the gorgeous Himalayan valley, India asserts that the G20 gathering would strengthen the local tourism sector. For the occasion, Srinagar, the region’s largest metropolis with 1.4 million population, is getting a makeover. The tar and paint have been applied on the roads that go to the airport.

The city’s security bunkers have been painted blue, and many of the concertina wires that were visible throughout one of the most militarised locations of the world have been removed. While major human rights breaches, arbitrary and unlawful detentions, political persecution, restrictions, and even the suppression of free media and human rights defenders continue to rise, the G20 is unintentionally supporting the appearance of normalcy.

In Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK), there is no normalcy, and India’s agenda cannot be hidden during the upcoming G20 conference. The so-called development strategy adopted by the administration in the area is wholly based on neocolonial ideology, which prioritizes profit over welfare. Instead of encouraging sustainable growth that could benefit the local population, the Indian government is more focused on luring foreign investors and businesses. This strategy exemplifies the logic of capitalism, which places the requirements of the ruling elite above those of the general populace. Unfortunately, the Indian government’s recent demolition of nearly 16,890 homes in Kashmir says a lot about the actual state of affairs there. How the Indian government can say it is bringing the situation in Kashmir back to normal while perpetrating such egregious human rights violations beyond comprehension.

In addition to transgressing international law and conventions, this act of devastation violates the basic human rights of Kashmiris. The world community needs to act now to hold the Indian government responsible for its deeds. That the Indian government can defend the destruction of thousands of homes, leaving innocent people homeless and unprotected, is inexcusable. The continued violations of human rights in Kashmir cannot be ignored by the international community, and the Indian government must be held responsible for its conduct. The proposed G20 conference in Kashmir would be perceived as an endorsement of the settlement agenda of the Indian government rather than as a move toward regional peace and stability.

You may also like

Leave a Comment

Stay Connected

Follow and subscribe

Contact CISS AJK

Center for International Strategic Studies AJK, King Abdullah Campus Chatter kalas Muzaffarabad, Azad Jammu and Kashmir