'Just a Garb of Concern': IMA Fumes Over British Medical Journal's Editorial on Kashmir, Calls it Breach of Propriety
The journal, in an editorial on Saturday, had dubbed the revoking of Jammu and Kashmir’s autonomy as a 'controversial move' and said that the situation raised 'serious concerns for the health, safety, and freedoms of the Kashmiri people.'
Kashmiri child looks from behind a fence in Srinagar. REUTERS/Danish Ismail
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has written to the renowned medical journal, The Lancet, strongly reacting to its editorial on Kashmir that raised concerns over health, security and freedom of the people in the region, and said that it had “committed (a) breach of propriety” by commenting on a political issue.
The journal, in an editorial on Saturday, had dubbed the revoking of Jammu and Kashmir’s autonomy as a “controversial move” and said that the situation raised “serious concerns for the health, safety, and freedoms of the Kashmiri people.” It argued that even though Prime Minister Narendra Modi has vowed that the decision would bring prosperity to Kashmir, “but first, the people of Kashmir need healing from the deep wounds of this decades-old conflict, not subjugation to further violence and alienation.”
The IMA reacted, in a letter addressed to the journal’s editor-in-chief Richard Horton and said, “It is unfortunate that the reputed medical journal The Lancet has committed breach of propriety in commenting on this political issue. It is amounting to interference into an internal matter of Union of India. The Lancet has no locus standii on the issue of Kashmir. Kashmir issue is a legacy that the British Empire left behind.”
While questioning the “credibility and the mala fide intention” behind “the uncalled for editorial”, the IMA wrote that the journal had “reacted to an internal administrative decision of Government of India under the garb of concern for the health of Kashmiris.”
The Lancet, in its editorial had said that in spite of decades of instability, “developmental indicators suggest that Kashmir is doing well compared with the rest of India” and that in 2016, the state’s life expectancy was greater than the national average.
The journal also cited a study of two rural districts by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) that had been impacted by conflict and said that “nearly half of Kashmiris rarely felt safe and of those who had lost a family member to violence, one in five had witnessed the death first-hand”. The journal added that, “therefore, it is unsurprising that people in the region have increased anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.”
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