WASHINGTON – About 100 people demonstrated outside The Washington Post’s building on Saturday to protest its coverage of the recent crisis in India’s Kashmir region.
Vijay Sazawal, a protest organizer, said he believes The Post’s reporting has been overly sympathetic to Kashmir’s Muslim-majority community while overlooking the concerns of Hindus and other minorities who live there.
“The point The Post has consistently failed to recognize is the injustice that has been done to the minorities of Kashmir by the majority community, which is the Muslim community,” said Sazawal, international coordinator for the Indo-American Kashmir Forum. “You don’t recognize, we have been ethnically cleansed from the Kashmir Valley in the past 20 years.”
A smaller group of counterdemonstrators gathered nearby.
“The Post’s coverage of India’s actions in Kashmir since the Aug. 5 crackdown has been fair, accurate and comprehensive – at a time when India has imposed tight restrictions on the flow of information and has severely limited access by our journalists trying to cover this important story,” Post Foreign Editor Douglas Jehl said.
Last month, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, following a path long advocated by Hindu nationalists, revoked a measure of Kashmir’s autonomy and imposed a communications blackout over the majority-Muslim region and detained thousands of people, including politicians and activists. The move, breaking with decades of history, has affected millions in the region.
Critics called the prime minister’s action unconstitutional and warned that the crackdown would backfire by stirring violent protest and separatist passions. Although India’s government has said the situation has eased in recent days, the Kashmir valley is still cut off without Internet or mobile phone service. Stores have closed in protest, and nearly all of the region’s political leadership is under arrest.