The American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin has criticised medical journal The Lancet for its editorial on Jammu and Kashmir. In a press release on August 21, the association said the editorial was premature, biased and reprehensible for “lack of due diligence in research and consultation with proprieties or stakeholders”.
It came days after the Indian Medical Association condemned journal, saying it was unfortunate that it had “committed breach of propriety by commenting on a political issue”. The association also accused The Lancet of “interference into an internal matter of Union of India”.
“While giving credence to your freedom of press, AAPI is very troubled that your entire editorial is founded on a putative study by Medecins Sans Frontiers,” said the American association. “Contrary to the accepted scientific standards of ‘The Lancet’, you did not provide the reference to the study by Medecins Sans Frontiers. In the absence of such supporting citation, we have no choice other than believing that your statements on the mental health issues in Kashmir are unfounded and not scientifically valid.”
In an article titled, “Fear and uncertainty around Kashmir’s future”, the journal had described the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5 as a “controversial move”. It claimed that prolonged exposure to violence in the region had resulted in a “formidable mental health crisis”. The state has been in a security lockdown for the past three weeks.
The American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin wondered why The Lancet was silent during the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley “between 1985 and 1995” during militancy. “The lives of Kashmiri Pandits are also equally precious,” it said. “Apart from the Kashmiri Pandits, there are a number of other people around the world, who deserve the attention of The Lancet, perhaps more than the people of Jammu and Kashmir.”