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Human Rights Politics

Kashmir: Shashi Tharoor Says Indian Constitution Is Under Attack

Commenting on the Modi government’s decision to deprive Indian-held Kashmir of its autonomous status, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor described it as a violation of the spirit of democracy.

“The Supreme Court may yet find that it did not violate the law, but it definitely violated the spirit,” Tharoor told DW in an interview.

He criticised the harsh measures to keep local Kashmiris at bay. “It is obvious that it was a deeply worrying act for Indian democracy. Not only because it is a wrong thing in itself, but also because if they can do it to Kashmir today, they can do it to some other state tomorrow,” Tharoor underlined.

He said that New Delhi’s decision “whipped up sentiments of muscle-flexing,” and resulted in a display of “national pride and chauvinism” from the country’s youth.

Tharoor said he believes in the “idea of India,” which was envisioned by Rabindranath Tagore, a Bengali poet and Nobel laureate, in the early 20th century.

“The moral character of the country is deeply affected by this rampant bigotry spread by the people in power. And this kind of bigotry in secularism is in many ways foreign to the idea of India that came through the freedom struggle,” he said.

Tharoor warned that the Indian constitution is under attack. “To betray it [the Indian constitution] by reducing India to a Hindu version of Pakistan is for my mind a complete betrayal of our freedom struggle,” he insisted, referring to the religious polarization in India.

Tharoor believes that creating more understanding between different Indian communities is necessary to keep the country’s secular tradition alive.

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According to Tharoor, India’s current economic downturn has largely been ignored amid the focus on other issues. “There has been never a worse situation for the Indian economy than under PM Modi’s government. Yet, no one talks about it, even if they are personally suffering and enduring it,” the politician said.

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