Diversity a testament to India”s democracy

To the Daily:

The charge that Fadi Kiblawi makes in his letter, “India, Israel not democratic nations” (1/10/02), is not only a ludicrous accusation, but it shows Kiblawi”s attempt to confuse the Kashmir issue. The India Partition act of 1947 left no doubt that the provinces of Jammu and Kashmir were to remain under Indian control. Furthermore, the independent Kashmiri king further legitimized this decision by joining India shortly after independence in August 1947. The idea that India should hold a plebiscite on a state that is already theirs just because it has a majority Muslim population is an undemocratic assertion. The fact that the India populace is comprised of Hindus, Muslims, Christians and Jews is a testament to the strength of Indian democracy. Although there are some religious tensions within India, for the most part, all religious and ethnic groups live together and participate freely in the Indian political process. The notion that India should hold a plebiscite on the Kashmir issue is a gross infringement on the sovereignty of the world”s largest democracy.

Nikhil Sudame

LSA sophomore

Pakistan also guilty of offences in Kashmir

To the Daily:

Fadi Kiblawi”s letter to the editor “India, Israel not democratic nations,” makes the ludicrous comment that neither nation is a democracy based on certain oppressive actions they take. In the United States, we pride ourselves on having been a democratic nation for over 225 years. Yet various racial, ethnic and religious minorities have been oppressed and/or denied political rights throughout our history. African-Americans have had voting rights for only approximately 35 years in many southern states. Most American women were denied voting rights up until 80 years ago.

While it is evil that Israel oppresses Palestinians and denies them basic political rights and social equality, the West Bank and Gaza Strip regions do not entirely determine the type in government of Israel, which is designed as a democracy. It would be great if Palestinians were also allowed to actively participate in this democracy.

The Indian army does control certain regions of Kashmir with an “iron fist” and commit human rights violations in them. Yet it is often ignored that the Pakistani army is guilty of the same crime, though perhaps to a lesser extent. While this face-off between the two nations is horrible for the inhabitants of Kashmir, there is no correlation between between it and the type of government in either nation. In a nation where over half the citizens are illiterate and/or impoverished, the Indian government displays its commitment to democracy by encouraging such great voter mobilization.

Deepak Kulkarni

LSA senior

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