New Delhi: Nobel laureate Amartya Sen on Monday joined the ongoing controversy over the Narendra Modi government’s revocation of the special status of Jammu & Kashmir, saying that as an Indian, he was not proud of the move.
In an interview to a news channel, the 85-year-old Sen said that as an Indian, he was not proud of the fact that India, after having done so much to achieve a democratic norm in the world and being the first non-Western country to go for democracy, had now lost its reputation by virtue of its actions in the Valley.
On the question of people of other states now being eligible to purchase land in Jammu & Kashmir, he said that this should have been something for the Kashmiris to decide as it was ‘their land’.
He further criticised the government for putting several Valley politicians under house arrest and said that by keeping them under restraint, the government is stifling that channel of democracy which makes democracy successful in the first place.
Several prominent leaders from Jammu and Kashmir, including former Chief Ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti and IAS-turned-politician Shah Faesal are among those who have been put under house arrest by the Centre.
Dr. Sen was also critical of the heavy security deployment and called the government’s explanation of ‘preventive measures’ a ‘classic colonial excuse’ that helped the British rule India for over 200 years.
Amartya Sen has been a vocal critic of the Narendra Modi regime. Previously, he has called demonetisation, the Prime Minister’s ‘Napoleon’ moment. Earlier this year, when he was re-elected with a massive mandate, the Nobel laureate had said that Modi ‘had won power, not battle of ideas’.
In February 2015, when he was the chancellor of the Nalanda University, he had written to its Governing Board saying that he will not seek a second term as the BJP government didn’t want him to continue. His decade-long association with the University eventually ended in November 2016.