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“Not proud as an Indian”, says Dr. Amartya Sen over India’s move over Kashmir

Nobel laureate economist Dr. Amartya Sen has criticized the Narendra Modi-led administration’s decision to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and split the region into two Union Territories.

In an exclusive interview, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen spoke about dissent, discussion, and democracy in the context of Kashmir.

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Among many other things, he said that the argument that political leaders in Kashmir needed to be arrested and jailed to ensure security on the ground harks back to colonial times. This, he said, is exactly what the British used to do.

An Exclusive Interview of Dr Sen to NDTV

“I don’t think ultimately you will have any resolution in Kashmir without democracy”, Dr. Sen said, adding that the Centre’s decision emphasized majority rule “as opposed to it sustaining the rights of all human beings.”

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“As an Indian, I am not proud of the fact that India, after having done so much to achieve a democratic norm in the world – where India was the first non-Western country to go for democracy – that we lose that reputation on the grounds of action that have been taken,” Sen said.

While criticizing Indian government’s decision to arrest and detain the political leaders of Jammu and Kashmir, Sen added, “I don’t think you will ever have fairness and justice without hearing the voices of the leaders of the people and if you keep thousands of leaders under restraint and many of them in jail, including big leaders, who have led the country and formed governments in the past, you are stifling the channel of democracy that makes democracy a success”.

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“The government has described its decision to place Jammu and Kashmir under a massive security blanket as “preventive measures” to prevent backlash that might cost lives,” Dr Sen said.

He stated, “That’s the classic colonial excuse. That’s how the British ran the country for 200 years”.

The last thing that I expected when we got our independence… is that we would go back to our colonial heritage of preventive detentions”, he concluded.

India revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5 and also imposed a security lockdown and a communications blackout in the state.

Saman Siddiqui

Saman Siddiqui, A freelance journalist with a Master’s Degree in Mass Communication and MS in Peace and Conflict Studies. Associated with the media industry since 2006. Experience in various capacities including Program Host, Researcher, News Producer, Documentary Making, Voice Over, Content Writing Copy Editing, and Blogging, and currently associated with OyeYeah since 2018, working as an Editor.

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