DESPARDES — The most militarized zone on Earth — Kashmir –is not just a nuclear flashpoint, but also the region’s water tower nestled in the Himalayan Range –providing climate balance. Add to the two, it’s a a hot spot of Climate Change — some 5600 glaciers are melting — some of them at the rate of 30+ feet (10m) a year.
Wrap the scenario with an unusual foil called twist of fate since August 5: 8 million Kashmiris — 120 days back, found their human dignity and honor snatched away as PM Modi’s government in a reckless move and as the world watched, invoked special status (autonomy) of the pristine valley and moved thousands of troops in the region.
The silence is the loudest sound in Kashmir, wrote renowned novelist and columnist Arundhati Roy in the NY Times.
There’s also chill in relations between warring neighbors India and Pakistan. Tensions prevail. “It’s ground zero of the new world order,” says nuclear expert Dr. S M Ali. Any escalation from Indian side could lead to war, he adds. A defense expert says, “we’re moving into pre-WWII-like situation”.
Pakistan and India for decades have been jostling to settle the territorial dispute according to UN Security Council Resolution 1948 calling for plebiscite in the valley. The situation now is akin to high noon in ‘unpredictable mode’ plus eerie silence in the valley — keyhole views of independent observers confirm.
These Kashmiris find themselves holed up, their neighborhoods under communication blackout, and in lockdown.
“The situation is not good, not sustainable,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel.