What did Justice Katju say about Nitasha Kaul?

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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Nitasha Kaul's suppression of the truth

By Justice Markandey Katju

Nitasha Kaul is a British citizen of Indian origin, who is an Associate Professor of politics and international relations at the University of Westminster, UK.

She is presently in the news for being deported from Bengaluru airport after arriving in India to attend a conference.

The reason for her deportation is her alleged anti-Indian views, particularly regarding Kashmir.

I support freedom of speech and therefore do not approve of her deportation.

However, having said that I would like to comment on her views, which I regard totally superficial, inane and highly selective. While many things she says are correct, what is important is what she deliberately omits to say. As is said in Latin '' suppressio veri suggestio falsus '' i.e. suppression of the truth is suggestion of a falsehood. To give some examples :

1. In her speech before a US Congress Committee Nitasha Kaul said inter alia that many protestors have been killed or assaulted in Kashmir, and some right-wing groups want to convert India into a Hindu nation, and compared it to Nazi Germany.

Now it is true that many atrocities have been committed by the Indian security forces in Kashmir, which I too have often condemned. So what she has said is to a large extent correct. However, what is equally, if not more, important is what she has deliberately left unsaid.

The basic problem of Kashmir arose with the Partition of India in 1947 by a British swindle on the basis of the bogus two-nation theory ( that Hindus and Muslims are two separate nations ) and creation of an Islamic state called Pakistan. No doubt even after Partition India remained for several decades a dejure secular country, but since one part of it became an Islamic state, the remaining part, comprising of 80% Hindus, was inevitably bound to become someday a Hindu nation, if not dejure then at least defacto. As Newton said '' Every action has an equal and opposite reaction ''.

The solution to Kashmir's problem is therefore reunification of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh under a genuinely secular government, with Kashmir a part of it.

2. Nitasha Kaul has often crticised abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, which gave a special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and said that the people of Kashmir were not consulted about it. But what does such 'consultation really mean? Does it mean consultation with the handful of Abdullahs and other Kashmiri political leaders who have ruled and looted Kashmir for long? Or does it mean consultation with the religious extremist leaders who, if given power, will immediately impose sharia law and compel women to wear the burqa, and take Kashmir back into the Middle Ages?

The test of every political activity is one, and only one: does it raise the standard of living of the people ? Does it give them better lives ?

Once we apply this test it will immediately be realised that it matters little whether Article 370 is retained or abrogated. It will have no effect on the lives of the people of Kashmir. Hence the matter of abrogation of Article 370 is really irrelevant. In fact some Kashmiri Musims told me that conditions in Kashmir are better today compared to what they were earlier. Children can now go to schools safely, without any fear in their parents minds whether they will ever come back.

3. Nitasha Kaul often talks of democracy. But what is democracy in Kashmir ? It is rule by two families who have ruled and looted Kashmir. If elections are held today in Kashmir, one of these two will again come to power. How will that benefit the common Kashmiri ?

4. As regards the right of Kashmiris to self-determination, my views are contained in the article below :

5. While Nitasha rightly criticises atrocities on Kashmiri Muslims, which I too do, why is she silent about the atrocities on Kashmiri Pandits, many of whom were killed by Islamic militants, and four to five hundred-'thousand of them were hounded out from Kashmir in the 1990s ?

In my opinion Nitisha Kaul is one of those 'intellectuals' who is crafty, superficial, and highly selective.

(Justice Katju is a retired judge of the Supreme Court of India. These are his personal views.)

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