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Growing Tolerance for Kashmiri Separatism in US Touches Raw Nerve in India

© AP Photo / Mel EvansIndian Students
Indian Students  - Sputnik India, 1920, 03.05.2024
In an unprecedented development, America's state-backed Rutgers University has reportedly caved in to a demand by pro-Palestine student demonstrators to display the flag of Kashmir on all the varsity campuses.
There is growing anger in India over the acceptance of an "outrageous" demand by pro-Palestine student demonstrators at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, by varsity President Jonathan Holloway.

The pro-Palestine student demonstrators, which had camped at the campus demanding the snapping of university's ties with Israel, warned Holloway that they wouldn't budge from their positions till their 10 demands were met. One of the demands included the "display" of Kurd and Kashmiri flags across all the university campuses.

Observers have warned that anti-India secessionists have "infiltrated" the pro-Palestine protests across the American campuses, and more of such demands could be in reckoning in coming days and weeks.
Suhag Shukla, the Executive Director of Hindu American Foundation (HAF), wrote on X that anti-India demands by pro-Palestine protestors didn't end up on their charter all of a sudden.
Shulka suggested a "quid pro quo" between the anti-India secessionists, who have lent their support to pro-Palestine student protests in return for support on their stance on Jammu and Kashmir.
From former foreign secretary Kanwal Sibal to ex-chief of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) Vikram Sood, there are growing calls on social media for "blacklisting" Rutgers by the Indian government.
New Delhi has been seen as being cautious on commenting on the pro-Palestine protests on American campuses till now.
"In every democracy, there has to be the right balance between freedom of expression, sense of responsibility and public safety and order. Democracies in particular should display this understanding in regard to other fellow democracies. After all, we are all judged by what we do at home and not what we say abroad," Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said during a briefing last month.

Growing Interference on Kashmir Issue by US, Think-Tank Says

Dr. Anant Bhagwat, the Founder and President of Global Strategic Policy Foundation Pune (GSPFP), a national security think tank which has been working on the ground in Jammu and Kashmir, expressed concern over growing US "interference" in the Kashmir issue at both official and unofficial levels.
"The Biden administration and the entire political machinery in the US seems to be bending backwards to accommodate the demands of these pro-Palestine student protestors. There is no surprise that some anti-India student factions have infiltrated the pro-Palestine student demonstrations, as seen in the demands presented by demonstrators at Rutgers," Bhagwat stated.
"There is no doubt that there is a growing official and unofficial interference from the US on the Kashmir dispute," he said, noting the recent visits by western envoys to Pakistan-administered Kashmir and the Iftar invitation to Kashmiri dissidents by the American Embassy in India.
Bhagwat warned that there was a risk that such anti-India demands could find their way to the agenda of more American universities in view of widespread pro-Palestine protests.
The think-tanker stressed that student demonstrators weren't aware of the "changing ground reality" in Jammu and Kashmir since New Delhi abrogated Article 370 in August 2019.
Prime Minister Modi's government has stressed that the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir in 2019 has directly led to a decrease in cross-border terror incidents and increased investor confidence in the state.

Palestine Issue Can't be Compared with Kashmir Situation, Veteran Says

Lieutenant Colonel (retired) JS Sodhi, an Indian Army veteran and a strategic affairs expert, rejected any comparison between the Kashmir issue and the Palestine issue.

Sodhi explained that the Kashmir issue was largely a matter of cross-border terrorism, while the Palestine issue was "entirely different" and about addressing legitimate aspirations of Palestinian people.
He underlined that Israel had repeatedly gone back on its commitment to implement a "two-state solution", as also noted by UN Secretary-General António Guterres on several occasions in recent months.
"On the other hand, the Kashmir issue was settled once and for all on 26 October, 1947, when Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession with New Delhi. Ever since, Jammu and Kashmir has been an integral part of India. So, this point being raised on American soil is rather surprising," Sodhi said.
Sodhi also squarely blamed the Biden administration for allowing "anti-India activities" on American soil.
"We have witnessed a lot of anti-India activities on American soil in the last few years, be it the Khalistan movement or other anti-India events. The US authorities have done pretty much nothing to stem the anti-India hatred being promoted by vested political interests," he reckoned.
"The US has definitely increased its interference in India's internal matters despite New Delhi repeatedly rejecting these efforts. All these indicators point towards a duality in American foreign policy towards India," concluded Sodhi.
India's MEA spokesman Randhir Jaiswal. - Sputnik India, 1920, 02.05.2024
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