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Dev 360: Who can speak, about what issues & where!

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Does expressing concern about the health situation anywhere in the world require prior permission? An ongoing controversy swirling around a recent editorial (“Fear and uncertainty around Kashmir’s future”) in the Lancet, among the oldest and most prestigious medical journals in the world, on the health situation in Jammu and Kashmir compels one to pose the question.

The issues at stake go beyond one editorial, one journal, one state or even one country.

It throws up a basic question: Who can speak, about what, and where?
The Indian Medical Association (IMA), the country’s largest body of doctors, in an official letter to Dr Richard Horton, the journal’s editor, has lashed out at the Lancet for its recent opinion piece on Jammu and Kashmir, arguing that the journal has no “locus standi on the issue of Kashmir” and that its editorial amounts to “interference into an internal matter of the Union of India”, and that the journal has reacted to an "internal administrative decision of the Government of India under the garb of concern for the health of Kashmiris”.

As someone who has been writing for decades on health in India and in other developing countries, and who is an occasional contributor to the Lancet, the controversy took me by surprise. This is not the first time that the Lancet has looked at geopolitical conflicts through the health lens.

In the past, it has focused on the crisis in Gaza, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, the European migrant crisis, gun violence in the United States and many other such topics.

The Lancet has taken a stand on crises around the world,........

© Deccan Chronicle