By Latheef Farook
August 5 marks the third anniversary of the 2019 abrogation of seventy five year old constitutional provision, Article 370, which guaranteed limited autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir – the only Muslim majority state in India and home to more than 12 million.
This illegal revocation, despite all the guarantees to United Nations and all other international forums, was done by the hawkish Hindutva government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accused of being the architect of genocide of Gujarati Muslims in February 2002, with an unrealistic program to create a Hindu only India.
Former Chief Minister of Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti described it as the darkest day in Indian democracy. Decision of J&K leadership to reject two nation theory in 1947 and align with India has backfired. Unilateral decision of Indian government to scrap Article 370 is illegal and unconstitutional which will make India an occupational force in J&K.
National Conference leader Chief Omar Abdullah said that the Government of India “has resorted to deceit and stealth to lay the ground for these disastrous decisions.” Indian government’s unilateral and shocking decisions are a total betrayal of the trust that the people of Jammu & Kashmir had reposed in India when the then ruler Raja Gulab Singh ,a Hindu warlord, acceded it to India in 1947. The decisions will have far-reaching and dangerous consequences. This is an aggression against people of the State as had been warned by an all-parties meeting in Srinagar.
Modi who represents Rastriya Swayamasevak Sangh, RSS, Hindutva fascist ideology which has nothing to do with mainstream ancient and peaceful religion of Hinduism, also placed all Muslim politicians in Kashmir under house arrest.
Following stripping Kashmir’s special status and imposing a strict military and communication clampdown, Modi jailed most of the pro-freedom leaders, as well as a large number of pro-India leaders including former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and alienated politicians who were previously loyal to New Delhi.
World is indifferent towards Indian atrocities on Kashmiri Muslims and virtually abandoned Kashmiris .
For example United States and Europe remain busy waging wars against Muslims worldwide, China brutalizing its own Muslim population in its Uighur province, US-Israeli stooges Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates and other Arab tyrants have abandoned Kashmiri Muslims and aligned themselves with Modi .
Lawless Israel has been hand glove with Modi, ever since he was elected as prime minister in 2014, in unleashing violence against Muslims in India and barbarity on Kashmiri Muslims.
One of the main purposes of abrogating article 370 is to colonize the state with Hindus to reduce the Muslim population in the same way Zionist Jews, backed by US, Europe and Russia committed massacres and kicked out Palestinians from their lands and colonized it with imported Jews and declared a state.
Commenting in an article under the title “Bringing the Israeli model to Kashmir” Anuradha Bhasin , Executive Editor of Kashmir Times said “for more than 70 years, Kashmiris have lived with the dread of the Indian government changing the demography and special status of Indian-administered Kashmir, which was till recently Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) state.
With the abrogation of Article 370 and the removal of its status as a state, the region was fully integrated and its population stripped of the special privileges and entitlements it had been enjoying in view of the peculiar nature of the state’s history and its controversial accession to India.
The actual disempowerment, is more than the loss of the special local identity. Brought by stealth and deceit, without fulfilling the constitutional requirement of participation of the state legislature, the abrogation of Article 370 and demotion of the erstwhile state has become fait accompli, as the hearings on a bunch of petitions challenging the move in the Supreme Court of India have been postponed multiple times.
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. 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.
“It is horrible. I fear that time will come that we will not even feel safe in our homes. We have been silenced “said a Kashmiri Muslim.
When India revoked the semi-autonomous status of the region, it also scrapped the local special citizenship law, guaranteed under Article 35 (A) of the Indian constitution. The move has drawn parallel with the occupied West Bank.
Article 35 (A) had barred outsiders, including Indian nationals from other states, from settling and claiming government jobs to maintain the demographic balance in the region, which has seen decades of armed rebellion against the Indian rule.
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 pretense. 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.
Kashmiris also fear that the domicile law is a conspiracy to bring about demographic change in Jammu Kashmir. The certificate, a sort of citizenship right, entitles a person to residency and government jobs in the region, which till last year was reserved only for the local population.
According to reports “The decision to provide non-Kashmiri residents with a domicile certificate is certainly the beginning of the end. This is the beginning of Kashmir becoming another Palestine,” Badar-Ul-Islam Sheikh, a resident of the main city of Srinagar, told Al Jazeera.
But while in Jammu public discontent is linked to loss of jobs, land, and monopoly over trade and higher education, in Kashmir, in addition to all these, the dilution of Article 370 and domicile law assumes a whole new meaning – the fear of a demographic change.
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.
While this amounts to trampling of Indian democracy, it also makes peace in South Asia extremely vulnerable. In all probability, the transition to demographic change will not be as smooth. A desperate struggle for self-preservation within Kashmir and the heightened level of tensions between India and Pakistan – two nuclear powers – will throw up an explosive situation. The present standoff between India and China also has the potential to escalate and add fuel to the fire.
Khurram Parvez, a human rights activist based in Srinagar, said the move was “disastrous’ for the whole region.
Kashmiri politicians across the divide have said the revocation of special citizenship rights was aimed at reversing the Muslim majority character of the region, which is now directly ruled from New Delhi.
“All our misgivings about the new domicile rules in J&K are coming to the fore,” tweeted Omar Abdullah, the former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, which was earlier a state and now a federally administered region.
Kashmiri people’s sufferings began when the British sold Kashmir to Raja Gulab Singh, a Hindu warlord of the Dogra family in Jammu for 7.5 million rupees (750,000 pounds) under the 1846 Treaty of Amritsar. It was an illegal deal undertaken without the knowledge of the Kashmiri people who opposed it as it placed them under forced Hindu rule.
The Hindu Dogras didn’t waste time in unleashing waves of terror and cruelty against Muslims .One Western writer described the vicious anti-Muslim campaign, where Kashmiri Pundits served as willing tools, as “venting upon five centuries of pent up hatred of Hindus against Muslim rule”.
Muslims were thrown into jail, often without trial and even around the 1920’s a Muslim was given capital punishment for killing a cow. They were kept economically crushed.
During the partition of the Subcontinent the Maharajah acceded Kashmir, against the will of the people, to India in October 1947 and ordered Muslims to voluntarily surrender their weapons. The Muslims resisted and the Maharajah responded by simply slaughtering around 200,000 Muslims while around 300,000 fled to the Pakistani side of the border.
The doyen of Indian politics, Rajagopalachari, said in 1964, “the accession of Kashmir took place under great peril and for the purpose of getting immediate military assistance to serve a hapless people from an unforeseen immoral external attack. It was not an intention to claim it as an irrevocable affiliation”.
Disclaimer: Third anniversary of
India’s unilateral annexation of disputed Kashmir - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Latheefarook.com point-of-view