Kashmiris Annoyed By Vote Against Iran
3 October 2005
The Times of India
Srinagar: Sympathy for Iran and anger at the Indian vote against Iran at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have cut across the Shia- Sunni divide in Jammu and Kashmir. 'India has ignored the historic relationship it has with Iran to please the Americans,' said Muhammad Shafi, 48, a businessman. Many locals believe the Indian vote against Iran was prompted by international compulsions. 'India is trying to remain on the right side of US President George W. Bush and for this, the managers of India's foreign policy are quickly distancing themselves from the Non-Aligned Movement,' said Professor Muzaffar, a teacher in a college here. Jammu and Kashmir's historic affinity with Iran dates back several centuries and the imprints of the great Persian civilization can be seen everywhere, be it the arts, culture, dresses or handicrafts... Apart from these historic realities, Kashmir has a sizeable Shia Muslim population whose fraternal loyalties for Iran go without saying. Though Kashmiri politicians are tight-lipped about India's vote against Iran and some senior separatist politicians refused to speak on the 'highly sensitive issue' when approached for comments, the common man minces no words in opposing New Delhi's decision. 'It is very strange and selfish that we vote against Iran on the one hand and ask her for LPG and an oil pipeline on the other hand,' said Sajjad Hussain, a teacher. 'It is a sad state of affairs that we are supporting the growing imperialistic designs of the US. It is Iraq today. It will be Syria and Iran tomorrow and then god knows where the wrath of Uncle Sam will end,' remarked a retired schoolteacher.