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J&K Lens: Sameera’s induction into Biden administration draws Kashmir’s attention and interest

25/01/2021 at 12:12 PM

By: Arun Joshi

Sameera Fazili, Deputy Director in the Economic Council of the Joe Biden administration is in a lot of news in Kashmir , for her family roots are in the Valley. But that is not the only reason for her grabbing the eyeballs of Kashmiris and some of America watchers in India.

Among Kashmiri Muslins, there is a new prism to identify the fellow Kashmiris – either they are anti- abrogation of Article 370 or supporters of the constitutional provision that India’s federal government scrapped on August 5, 2019 . This is the new dividing line in Kashmir . A hard truth is that a majority of the Kashmiri Muslims are against the abrogation of the Article 370 that granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir, the state now broken into the two federally administered Union Territories .

In normal times , Sameera Fazili’s feat would have been acknowledged as that of a Kashmiri making it to the new US administration in an important position. This would have been considered as a vicarious achievement of the daughter of the soil, though she was not born in the Valley, but her extended family lives there.

But the current situation, two things have been noticed by media that Sameera was among those who had protested against the abrogation of the Article 370 in America . That was highlighted with implied meaning that the Biden administration had in it the elements who were demonstratively opposed to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policies on Kashmir . The doing away with the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and the split of the state into two Union territories , as per the agenda of BJP, was a fulfillment of its longstanding commitment of the saffron party , but the Kashmiri Muslims have taken it as an assault on their geography and demography, in short, identity. They fear that the Government of India will settle non-Kashmiris into the Valley giving them incentives in setting up industries, business houses .

These fears have deepened further as the Government of India has taken certain hard decisions on Kashmir, like putting behind the political leaders, accusing them of working against the national interest. It has opened the land rights of Jammu and Kashmir to all Indians.

Viewing Fazili as an opponent of all this, has been further highlighted by media by retracing the events immediately after the abrogation of Article 370 – the arrest of her uncle and businessman Mubeen Shah under the Public Safety Act – a law specific to Jammu and Kashmir that empowers authorities to detain any person without trial for one year . Shah, however, was released after few months of detention.

These reports about Sameera Fazili and her family roots in Kashmir are linked to three things- one, she is part of those high -profile Americans – mind it she is not seen as Indian -American but a Kashmiri Muslim- who were brave enough to speak out against the Modi- government in the United States.

Secondly , she has been elevated to the status of a protagonist of anti- abrogation Article 370 protests now, not just as one of the protestors as it was given out earlier .

Thirdly, it puts a burden on her to articulate the Kashmir’s sufferings in the administration where she is to serve for next four years.

Kashmiris see her as a support system in high places in. the most powerful country of the world , where, it is already known that Joe Biden- Kamala Harris have their views on Kashmir . They had not hesitated in speaking about Kashmir during their campaign days

About the Author:

Arun Joshi is a senior journalist based in J&K. He has worked with Hindustan Times, Times of India, Indian Express and The Tribune.

He has authored “ Eyewitness Kashmir: Teetering on Nuclear War” and three other books.

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This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write up have nothing to do with the www.prameyanews.com

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