The Statesman – ‘Deeply concerned over Jammu & Kashmir’, says UN chief in Pakistan, India says ‘no scope for third-party mediation’

Tensions between India and Pakistan spiked after New Delhi abrogated provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution to withdraw Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcated the state into two Union Territories on 05 August 1919.

New Delhi – India, 17 February 2020. India on Sunday straightaway rejected an offer of mediation by UN chief Antonio Guterres on Kashmir saying instead Pakistan should vacate territories occupied by it “illegally and forcibly.”

India responded after Guterres on a four-day visit to Pakistan, said in Islamabad that he was concerned over the situation in Kashmir, and that he was ready to mediate between India and Pakistan to resolve the long pending issue.

Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, “India’s position has not changed. Jammu and Kashmir has been, is, and will continue to be an integral part of India. The issue that needs to be addressed is that of vacation of the territories illegally and forcibly occupied by Pakistan.”

He added, “We hope that the UN secretary general would press Pakistan to take credible and irreversible action to stop cross-border terrorism against India.”

Kumar while reiterating India’s stand on Kashmir said, “Further issues, if any, would be discussed bilaterally. There is no role or scope for third-party mediation.”

The MEA spokesperson added, “We hope the UN secretary general would emphasize on the imperative for Pakistan to take credible, sustained and irreversible action to put an end to cross-border terrorism against India, which threatens the most fundamental human right – the right to life – of the people of India, including in J&K.”

The UN secretary general said he was “deeply concerned” over the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and tensions along the Line of Control while addressing a press conference after his meeting with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in Islamabad.

Guterres said it was important for India and Pakistan to de-escalate “militarily and verbally” and exercise “maximum restraint” on the Kashmir issue and added that he was ready to help if both countries agreed for mediation.

“Diplomacy and dialogue remain the only tools that guarantee peace and stability with solutions in accordance with the Charter of United Nations and resolutions of the Security Council,” Guterres said.

The UN chief said he had “repeatedly stressed on the importance of exercising maximum restraint”. “I offered my good offices from the beginning. I am ready to help if both countries agree for mediation,” he said.

Guterres arrived in Pakistan on Sunday and during his visit will attend an international conference on Afghan refugees and visit the Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib.

Tensions between India and Pakistan spiked after New Delhi abrogated provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution to withdraw Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcated the state into two Union Territories on August 5, 1919.

India had categorically told the international community that the scrapping of Article 370 to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir was an internal matter and also advised Pakistan to accept the reality.

India on January 23 reiterated its position on Kashmir saying that there is no role for any third party in the issue and reprimanded Pakistan for attempting to internationalise the issue.

The assertion came as US President Donald Trump, at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, once again reiterated his offer to “help” on the Kashmir issue, saying the US was “watching and closely following” the developments in the Valley.

Trump made the statement ahead of talks with “a very good friend” PM Imran Khan on the sidelines of the annual WEF in Switzerland.

Earlier in January, Deputy Permanent Representative of India to UN, Nagaraj Naidu had slammed Pakistan for “spewing venom and false narratives” of monumental proportions in the United Nations, saying it “takes to hate speech like a fish takes to water”.

“Just like a fish takes to water, one delegation has again taken to hate speech. Every time this delegation speaks, it spews venom and false narratives of monumental proportions,” Naidu said at the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Further, India slammed Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan for attempting to internationalise the Kashmir issue yet again and termed him “desperate” while adding that the “global community now understands the country’s double standards”.

Meanwhile, India had on several occassions slammed Pakistan for trying to internationalise the Kashmir issue. New Delhi had asserted that Islamabad needs to focus on the hard tasks it has to address in order to ensure normal relations with India.

‘Deeply concerned over J-K’, says UN chief in Pak, India says ‘no scope for third-party mediation’ – Sikh delegation seeks Akal Takht’s intervention to end monopoly over telecast of Gurbani from Sri Darbar Sahib

Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 15 February 2020. On 14 February, a Sikh delegation headed by Punjab cabinet minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa met officiating Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh to ask him to intervene for ending single firm’s monopoly over live telecast of Gurbani from sanctum sanctorum Sri Harmandir Sahib.

The delegation sought availability of signal to all channels within the framework of the guidelines while citing the universal nature of Gurbani.

The delegation told Akal Takht Jathedar that it was necessary to take Guru Sahib’s message to every corner of the world free of cost rather than making it a source of money. “We shouldn’t treat Gurbani as a commodity for trading,” said the delegation.

Interacting with media, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa informed that the Akal Takht Jathedar has patiently listened to their demand while assuring them to look into the matter.

It may be recalled here that the Congress led Punjab government had adopted a resolution on 06 November last year in this regard.

Gent – Ravensteinstraat – Korenlei/Graslei – Jan Breydelstraat

05 January 2020

Ravensteinstraat leading to Korenlei

Ravensteinstraat leading to Korenlei

05 January 2020


Graslei seen from Korenlei

Jan Breydelstraat
05 January 2020

Jan Breydelstraat

Jan Breydelstraat – Design Museum Gent

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Pieter Friedrich – “Cultural Malware: RSS’s Infiltration from India to America”

Seminar on India’s RSS paramilitary hosted at UCLA

On 19 February, I’ll be delivering a lecture on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the 100-year-old, Nazi-inspired paramilitary that pulls the strings of the Indian government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s regime. Topics covered will include:

– What is the RSS?

– What is Hindutva?

– How important is the RSS in India today?

– What kind of violence has the RSS committed?

– What else was happening in the world when the RSS was founded?

– What does the RSS believe?

– What did the Guru of the RSS teach?

– Who are the neo-Hindutva RSS ideologues today?

– What is the RSS’s international wing?

A short evening seminar hosted by Jakara Movement and the UCLA Sikh Students Association, “Cultural Malware: RSS’s Infiltration From India to America” will take place at:

UCLA’s Moore Hall 3340
2043 Portola Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Pieter Friedrich is a South Asian Affairs Analyst who resides in California. He is the co-author of Captivating the Simple-Hearted: A Struggle for Human Dignity in the Indian Subcontinent. Discover more by him at

The Hindu – Congress leader Mani Shanker Aiyar slams envoys

Special Correspondent

Srinagar – Jammu & Kashmir – India, 17 February 2020. Congress leader Mani Shanker Aiyar, who was restricted to a Srinagar hotel and prevented from participating in a conference here, termed the Kashmir situation far from normal and criticised the foreign diplomats who claimed to see signs of normalcy during their recent visit.

“Any foreign Ambassdor who went to Srinagar just two days before I did and claimed that he has seen signs of normalcy should never have been promoted to above third secretary status. I say this as an Indian foreign service officer,” Mr Aiyer told The Hindu.

Mr Aiyar and O P Shah, who heads the Centre for Peace and Progress, had planned a meet and invited civil society groups.

”The hotel where we were staying had just three rooms booked. It was me, Mr. Shah and an armed policeman who monitored movement of all those who visited us. Hours before the conference was to start, the police barricaded the hotel. We were also restricted to its premises,” Mr. Aiyer said.

”If the foreign envoys could visit and meet the groups of delegations recently despite Section 144, why can’t we meet groups inside a hotel? It’s clear there is no normalcy. If Amit Shah regards disallowing this kind of meeting as normalcy I would like him to explain what is normalcy,” he said.

“I decided to visit J&K because the Prime Minister said opposition leaders should go there and see for themselves. Besides, Mr Amit Shah said he is not placing any restrictions on people going or coming. In effect, if one goes to endorse their normalcy, you are allowed to go.

If you want to listen to people and see what is boiling in their hearts, it’s not allowed,” said Mr Aiyer.

He said during his stay in Kashmir he just witnessed empty hotels, shikara-walas (boat owners) waiting to host a tourist and armed security personnel manning the streets.

“It’s clear there is no normalcy. If Mr Amit Shah regards disallowing this kind of meeting as normalcy I would like him to explain what is normalcy. What are they afraid of if normalcy has returned? Why are they continuing with restrictions on the people of Kashmir.

There is fear and apprehension everywhere that the lid on the steam kettle will blow off by the internal pressure. Though nobody is able to say when and what will be the trigger. Many here fear ailing Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Geelani’s death could provide that trigger,” he added.

This kind of behaviour, he said, showed that the situation in Kashmir is not under control of the Government of India. “The huge military presence seems an attempt at dominating the local population,” he added.

The Congress leader said there were bogus attempts at creating some kind of alternative to the genuine leadership, which is in the prison.

“I realised that the entire Sheikh family is now in detention of one kind or other without recognition to the fact that this is the family that acceded with India and upheld the flag of India for 70 years in every corner of Kashmir,” he added.

He lamented that there was no attempt to reach out to the people. “It’s believed that by intimidation and by cultivating quislings, the Centre will be able to sell development discourse.

J&K is far ahead on most of the development indices because of Article 370. In fact, there is plummeting of J&K’s GDP since August 5. The Kashmir problem is far from over but got aggravated instead,” he warned.