Rear Mirror India’s Kashmir fiasco one year on!

Rear Mirror: India’s Kashmir fiasco one year on!

Iqbal Khan

One year down the timeline, it is almost certain that August 05 2019 Indian rash act to annul the statehood (provincial status) of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJ&K) shall be undone in due course through, Union government sponsored yet dramatized, intervention by the Indian Supreme Court. Then after sometime, Articles 370 and 35A shall also be restored because any state assembly, worth its salt would pass a resolution for doing so. Citizen Amendment Act shall also be watered down in due course. In this regard the Indian government has given assurances to some of the politicians of IOJ&K, and in all probability to international powers that be.

One recalls form Niccolò Machiavelli’s political treatise The Prince: “if the prince is to govern cities or principalities which lived under their own laws before they were annexed, he ought to ruin part or full of it or disperse the people, for a united people will ruin the prince instead”.

One year ago, suspense loaded events began to unfold like a horror movie. Thousands of additional law enforcing troops started converging on to Indian Occupied Kashmir, a Hindu pilgrim was cut short; rumour mill was in overdrive. On August 05, 2019 a law was enacted, while shortcutting the procedure, to revoke the special status of IOJ&K. Articles governing the special status were revoked, state status was dissolved and it was bifurcated into two Union Territories.

Any such action required approval by state assembly, that was on purpose dissolved and governor’s rule was imposed. Mischievously, an RSS goon had already been placed as state Governor “for representing the will of the people!”   This nominated governor single-headedly and single handily advised his masters in New Delhi to do all this. Concurrent to proclamation of the order, an all comprehensive clampdown was imposed on IOJ&K. Electronic blackout and perpetual curfew brought everything to a standstill; even ambulances were prevented from reaching the Medicare facilities. These restrictions continue to haunt the Kashmiris one year down the time line.

Before August 2019, the permanent residence of J&K was specific to the indigenous people of J&K, the new order seeks to grant UT of J&K ‘domicile’ to a wide range of Indian citizens.

The order implemented in indecent haste invoked fierce bashing response from political parties of J&K. The political establishment, including the ri-ght-leaning newly emerged J&K Apni Party deemed the order as irresolute. The People’s Democratic Party demanded the order to be rolled back whereas the All Parties Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Gillani urged Pakistan and the international community to take note of the demographic change in the making. The left-leaning political stream of J&K state views the amendment as cosmetic in nature that overlooks the core concerns. Forced by the unprecedented political backlash, on April 3, the Indian government issued an amendment in the reorganisation order whereby, most importantly, all gazetted and non-gazetted jobs were reserved for the UT of J&K domicile exclusively.

Indian designs of fostering Hindu settlements in the internationally disputed territory of J&K surfaced well in November 2019, when the Indian Consul General in New York Sandeep Chakravorty was recorded saying that an Israel-modelled settlement could be undertaken in J&K conveniently.

At societal level, the order is all set to dilute the identity, history, and culture of the people of Indian-held Kashmir. As of now, the central government has already declared around 300,000 Hindu refugees as the domiciles of UT of J&K. Currently, around 600,000 security personnel are deployed in the area whereas migrants amount to some 700,000.

August 05 is being observed as ‘Black Day’, in Pakistan and the Kashmiris the World over.  In Pakistan, Foreign media groups will make a trip to the Line of Control, as well as to the office of the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP). Separately, a white paper shall be handed over to the UNMOGIP. A number of packages highlighting the plights of Kashmiris shall be aired by Radio and TV news channels, TV channels shall also turn their logos black. All Pakistani embassies shall hold programmes and cover protest rallies against India on the Kashmir issue.

In an exclusive July 27 interview to The Print, ahead of the first anniversary of the revocation of Article 370, senior Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader and former cabinet minister of Jammu and Kashmir Naeem Akhtar described the decision as “marital rape”. “I would compare the 5 August decision with marital rape because a marriage is done according to rules, according to law, but then there is one party which enforces itself on the other. That is what happened to Kashmir on 5 August. We were part of a covenant, a Constitution, which was used against us to achieve goals that were antitheses of why we had joined the Union of India.” Naeem said.

 He added “the decisions taken by the Narendra Modi government, including scrapping of Article 370 and imposition of the Citizenship Amendment Act, have rekindled the Hindu versus Muslim discourse, and created a ‘South Asian Ummah’ (Muslim unity), extending from Khyber (in Pakistan) to Chittagong in Bangladesh”.

National Conference vice-president and former J&K CM Omar Abdullah has stated that he won’t contest the assembly elections until full statehood is restored.

BJP leaders have been saying it openly that we will have a Hindu CM in J&K because they will never be comfortable with a CM wearing a Karakulli (traditional Kashmiri cap) or a headscarf. It is being projected by the BJP as a matter of shame that Babur ki aulad (Babar’s children) are still in Kashmir.

Jails up to Tamil Nadu are filled with Kashmiris, lawyers, traders, activists and politicians. It is time for every Kashmiri to think beyond parties because there is nothing to fight for on party basis. There is an existential threat to Muslims of the state and it is no less to non-Muslims of Jammu, who face the same threat.” “Why did Shiv Sena come into existence in Maharashtra? It was not against Muslims, it was against outsiders who Balasaheb Thackeray at that time thought were taking away jobs and land from the inhabitants. It is now happening in Jammu as well— Jobs, lands being taken away, the first wave of demographic change is coming to impact Jammu. And in Ajodhya, Ram Mandir can’t wait for Covid vaccine. Modi is Hindutva leader first, and India’s PM later.

All international and regional Huma Rights entities have condemned the ongoing Indian atrocities against India minorities in general and Muslims in particular. The silver lining is that there have been very powerful voices from within India against August 05 2019 action.

Writer is a freelance columnist; e-mail:

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