By Latheef Farook –
August 5 marks the first anniversary of the abrogation of more than seventy year old Indian constitutional provision, Article 370, which guaranteed limited autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir – home to more than 12 million mainly Muslims.
This illegal revocation, despite all the guarantees to United Nations and other international forums, was done by the Hindutva government of Narendra Modi who was twice elected prime minister despite his role as the architect of genocide of Gujarati Muslims in February 2002 and violence against New Delhi Muslims last February
Abrogation of the constitutional guarantee, robbed Kashmiris of their autonomy, rights and dignity, was accompanied by a draconian lockdown which crippled Kashmiris life to date. Besides Modi also placed all Kashmiri Muslim politicians including former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti under house arrest under a strict military and communication clampdown.
Mode government’s unilateral action of seizing Kashmiri’s identity on Israeli model, has set ablaze peace and stability in the South Asian region. The United States and Europe, Pakistan’s traditional allay China, US-Israeli stooges Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates and even other Arab tyrants aligned with Modi government and virtually abandoned Kashmiri Muslims.
Israel, planted in the heart of Middle East in violation of all accepted laws, human norms and decency, has been hand glove with Modi to persecution of Indian Muslims in general and Kashmiri Muslims in particular.
Speculations were that Modi’s Hindustan government and Israel were also hand in glove with Sinhala racist elements in Sri Lanka.
Modi’s government introduced the highly controversial law, Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which drew widespread protests throughout the country from Muslims, liberals, students and activists who are for India remaining a secular state as envisaged in the constitution. The CAA in combination with other recent moves such as the compilation of the National Population Register (NPR) and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) are moves to marginalize Muslims who form nearly more than 20 percent of the country’s 1.3 billion people.
Modi’s government is not interested in developing the country and ensuring a better life for his people, but hell bent on eliminating Islam and Muslim from India. The latest being the building of Ram Temple at the site of Ayodhya mosque which they demolished.
Last February Modi government unleashed violence on Muslims in the northern and eastern regions of New Delhi sending up in flames, Muslim owned commercial, residential and industrial properties, costing billions and depriving livelihood, while innocent Muslims were killed and women raped and gang raped in the presence of their loved ones.
Western correspondents said that the New Delhi police were complicit with the rioting Hindu mobs. A Hindu rioter claimed on Indian TV that when their mobs ran out of stones to pelt Muslims the police supplied them with a stock of stones.
In the wake of these atrocities came the deadly corona virus which crippled the whole world including India which became the third worst affected. However Modi’s government was fully occupied with introducing laws, changing demography and ground realities aimed at turning Muslims irrelevant in their own lands and homes in Jammu and Kashmir
The main purposes of abrogating article 370 is to colonize the region with Hindus to reduce the Muslim population in the same way Zionist Jews, kicked out Palestinians from their lands and homes, to establish a Jewish state in Palestinian lands.
As part of this deception, Modi government introduced new domicile law facilitating the previously barred outsiders from other Indian states from buying land and settling in Kashmir. So far up to 25,000 outsiders were granted residency in the disputed region, which is also claimed by Pakistan.
In an article titled “the gradual encroachment on Kashmiri rights and growing prospect of colonization could set the region on fire”, Anuradha Bhasin, Executive Editor of Kashmir Times had given vivid details of deceptive ways adopted by Modi government to create demographic change in Kashmir. She added that;
A stringent clampdown on J&K under military boots including an absolute communication blockade allowed the Indian government to surreptitiously scrap its special status and split it into more pliable units last year. The longest-ever lockdown in Kashmir served the purpose of scuttling any public outrage and also ensured that information slipped into a black hole, making an entire population invisible and their grievances inaudible.
Today, a pathway is being paved for replicating the Israeli model of occupation and colonization of the West Bank in Kashmir towards disempowerment and dispossession of the locals, particularly Kashmiri Muslims, to exercise hegemonic control through new settlers.
Addressing a gathering of Kashmiri Hindus sometime last November a serving Indian diplomat in the United States, averred that “Kashmiri culture is Indian culture; it is Hindu culture” and espoused the Israeli model of West Bank settlements as the way forward.
The recent moves indicate a more systemic pattern of making this model the centerpiece of India’s Kashmir policy. The present lockdown has been used to plot the points on the map while avoiding any public outcry. This arsenal of administrative changes in a fragile setting is like dumping fuel that could well trigger an inferno of unimaginable proportions.
The government is underestimating the patience and silence of the public and the international ramifications of riding roughshod over the aspirations of the people of Kashmir and pushing them to the margins as secondary citizens with an uptick in massive human rights abuse.
The 2019 lockdown was unconstitutional, undemocratic and morally erroneous. But this has now become the foundational principle of India’s strategy in Kashmir with no punctuations of presence. If the first lockdown was successful in preventing public outcry over the loss of special status and protections, the other provided a stepping stone for laying the blueprint of what the Indian government intends to do as part of its larger agenda.
The new domicile rule, and its timing, stirred up anxieties, particularly among the J&K youth, irrespective of their ethnic and communal identities or their political ideologies, as it meant they would be losing government jobs, they earlier had a monopoly over, to outsiders. The government is one of the biggest employers of fresh graduates in the region and in the spring a number of recruitment processes were stalled, prompting suspicions that this was done intentionally to allow outsiders who qualified for domicile under the new rule to apply as well.
Under the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, which came into effect in October, the legal provisions restricting ownership of private property to permanent residents were struck down. In the past, local land reform legislation empowered peasants including the socially oppressed classes, giving them a sense of dignity and making J&K one of the few states in the country where nobody died of starvation.
The amended land-related laws induce fears in the local population of not just losing their exclusive privileges but also of suffering under possible monopolistic economic hegemonies. For now, using the pandemic as an excuse, the government has also halted the 150-year-old annual practice of shifting the capital from Jammu to Srinagar in the summer.
The government decision to begin the delimitation (redrawing of boundaries) of electoral constituencies, to give Hindu-majority Jammu more seats, will reshape the local political dynamics. The Delimitation Commission was announced on March 6 and immediately the process of data collection was set in motion. It has been going on without any punctuation throughout the COVID-19 lockdown.
Structures of power are being dismantled bit by bit, particularly emaciating the political significance of Srinagar and turning Jammu into a symbolic site of victory while keeping its people disempowered.
Kashmiris can’t be subjugated to the oppression tainted resolution of the issue. India has seen it throughout the last seven decades. Kashmiris did not budge to the coercive tactics and not willing to accept Indian hegemony even now. They have hundreds of thousands of martyrs in the name of Kashmir independence and thus they would never sell their blood to occupation forces.
Amid such a resilient resistance by the Kashmiris vis-à-vis hardliner policies of the rightist Hindu government in center, there are all the likely chances that a kinetic action may take place embroiling three nuclear powers-India, Pakistan and China. Such an eventuality may spiral up unexpectedly leading to actualizing of most feared nuclear winter. The world community and other peace and security organization have to act fast against the Indian government’s extremist acts to ensure global peace and harmony.
While the international community is pre-occupied with fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, India is busy intensifying its brutalization of the Kashmiri people. Extra-judicial killing of Kashmiri youth in fake encounters and so-called ‘anti-infiltration’ operations have increased manifolds since August 5, 2019.