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Western media has contributed more to propaganda about Kashmir than Pakistan: LG Manoj Sinha

Manoj Sinha, LG, Jammu and Kashmir at the release of the book, The Two Kashmirs, by Sheikh Khalid Jehangir. To his right is Prof. Nilofer Khan, VC, Kashmir University (Photo: India Narrative)

In a book release function in New Delhi, Manoj Sinha, the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) said the Western media has spread lies in a big way on Kashmir. He said: “Maybe the Western progaganda has been more than what Pakistan has done”.

Sinha was speaking at the release of the book, The Two Kashmirs, in New Delhi on Wednesday night. It was on this day in 1947 that Maharaja Hari Singh, the ruler of the princely state of J&K, had signed the Instrument of Accession acceding to India, giving India the right to send its troops to stop the invading Pakistani army and raiders.

Written by Sheikh Khalid Jehangir, Secretary General of the Delhi-based think tank – International Centre for Peace Studies, the book is a comparison of human development indices of J&K on the two sides of the India-Pakistan border.

Sinha said that there has been a strong system of false propaganda about Kashmir across the world. “The author has tried to present a true picture of both sides of Kashmir. After reading this book many people will realise that lies have been spread about Kashmir”.

He said that one of the ideas spread widely was that J&K will prosper only if it joins with Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK), adding: “Now people are beginning to understand that these ideas will not work”.

He added that people in J&K are feeling safe now. He said that it could be because the environment of fear is evaporating in the region. Giving an example, Sinha said: “There was a time when people would go to Dubai and invest there. But now they want to invest in Kashmir itself. People are beginning to live in farmhouses on the outskirts of the city because they feel safe and they want to invest in Kashmir itself.

Sinha said: “People in Kashmir now believe that the rule of law can prevail”.

The author of the book, Sheikh Khalid Jehangir, said: “I am witness to the hate directed at India and at Kashmiris from Pakistan. The fact is that our side of J&K has made much more progress as compared to POK. In my book, I have tried to analyse the progress in the two Kashmirs in an unbiased manner”.

The author added that bloodshed in J&K has taken innumerable lives of nationalist Kashmiris. Jehangir said: “There are lots of nationalist Indian families in Kashmir who have lost their sons. Most of such families are in the Kashmir Police”. He added that earlier people had a belief that the government’s role was to provide them with a house and a car. Now that perception has completely changed under the current LG’s office”.

Renuka Kaul Verma, CEO of Vitasta Publishing said the author has written the book with sensitivity and has compared literacy, health, average incomes and similar other parameters of human development on both sides of the border. She added that development in Kashmir has been forgotten because of the focus on conflict.

Sinha said that the government of India has spent so much money in Kashmir that if it was properly utilised, Kashmir would have progressed much more than other Indian states. He added that because of good governance, most Kashmiris are being benefited due to industrial investment, rise in tourism and development projects.

He added that children are watching cinema in Kashmir, the farmer is earning well, exports have increased and Kashmiri youth are excelling in sporting competitions.