ISSN 2330-717X

Modi Failing To Win The Hearts Of Kashmiris – OpEd

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It’s been a tough time for minorities, especially Muslims, since BJP’s led government came into power in India. BJP’s Hindutva policy of extremism and hatred towards minorities has made it difficult for all to survive. Extremist policies like Hijab ban, hate speech, demolition of Mosques, bulldozing Muslim homes, fake encounters of Muslims, rehabilitation, employment packages for Hindu Pandits, Agnipath Scheme for armed forces, Hindi as a national language – these all are reflecting a total chaos and an environment of intolerance. This scenario is contrary to the claims of liberal democracy which once Nehru promised. Today’s India has totally deviated from the ideology of its founding fathers like Gandhi and Nehru and has turned into a totalitarian state. 

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Kashmir also became the victim of BJP’s brutal policies towards Muslim. Since the abrogation of article 370, the special status of IIOJ&K, on August 5, 2019, at least 197 suspected security personnel, 675 rebels and 131 innocent civilians were killed in the violence that has engulfed the Kashmir Valley. Modi government is fulfilling Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) desire of turning Kashmiri Muslims into a minority. Article 370 was the basis of IIOJ&K’s accession to Indian union at a time when former princely states had the choice to join either India or Pakistan after their independence from the British rule in 1947. 

Article 35A was introduced through a presidential order in 1954 to continue the old provisions of Kashmir’s regulations under Article 370. It forbids outsiders from permanently settling, buying land, holding local government jobs or winning education scholarships in the Kashmir region. This illegal Indian act and violation of International Law not only made the life of Kashmiris miserable but also turned the whole region into destabilization and unrest. 

Revoking the law was one of the promises in the BJP’s 2019 election manifesto, which resulted in Modi’s return with a larger majority in parliament. The government, led by Hindu nationalist BJP, also moved a bill proposing IIOJ&K be divided into two union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh directly ruled by New Delhi. 

BJP’s top leadership went into a self-congratulatory mode over the landmark move, believing they had resolved the longstanding Kashmir crisis, the realities in the region were entirely different and even contradicted their claims. Contrary to Modi’s claims that the situation in IIOJ&K is returning to normalcy, is lies for the outsider world.

The revocation was backed by an unprecedented military deployment in what was already one of the world’s most militarised regions. India is relying increasingly on its army, police and draconian laws to suppress the voices of Kashmiri freedom fighters.   

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A new domicile law was also introduced that allowed outsiders to permanently settle in IIOJ&K, even then people who were brought from other states of India are forced to settle in Kashmir despite of their opposition. Modi’s government has taken a series of steps that local Muslims fear are aimed at changing the demography of the region and robbing them of their land and livelihoods. Anti-Muslim hatred behind Modi’s Kashmir policy has also threatened the lives of the minority of Hindus Pandits. “Kashmir Files, a movie, which depicts a one-sided story of the Kashmir conflict, has also deepened distrust between the two communities of Hindus and Muslim. 

Modi’s government released a list of redrawn electoral constituencies in the region, giving greater representation to Hindu areas and drawing condemnation from opposition parties who accused New Delhi of gerrymandering the region to deprive the Muslims.

Mehbooba Mufti, former chief minister of J&K and a PAGD member, also accused Modi’s government of pushing young men towards an armed resistance through its suppressing approach. Mufti said that BJP gains votes in the rest of India on this policy of bloodshed where they show how much they can suppress the Kashmiris.

BJP’s Kashmir policy is based on its hatred of Muslims and not on any compassionate principle of equal rights and citizenship. But the false audacity of the present government and the ruling party has rutted a vulnerable minority against the majority community. 

Despite of Indian atrocities, Kashmiris will continue their just struggle of right to self- determination as they have nothing to lose. It will remain India’s distinct dream to suppress the Kashmiri voices as much they will suppress Kashmiri voices would raise more and more. International human rights organizations, UN Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released two reports in 2018 and 2019 accusing India of grave human rights violations in Kashmir. According to Human Rights Watch, Armed Forces Special Power Act J&K (AFSPA) gives security forces wide powers to arrest, kill and destroy property in counter insurgency operations which lead to grave violations of human rights. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, who released the report at the State Department’s Foggy Bottom HQs on 02 June, 2021 asserting that Washington will continue to defend religious freedom around the world, said a number of attacks on religious figures and places of worship in India has increased, these grave human rights violations in IIOJ&K are exposing the actual face of Modi’s led BJP government. 

Imtiaz Ahmad is a Peshawar based freelancer, can be reached at [email protected]

One thought on “Modi Failing To Win The Hearts Of Kashmiris – OpEd

  • July 1, 2022 at 1:54 pm
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    Realising that its continuous attempts to malign India has had no traction, Pakistan’s ISI getting very desperate in spewing more falsehood in trying to destablise India which continues to power ahead while Pakistan is plunging into the abyss. What else one can expect if the ISI and its cronies waste away their precious resources in such futile ventures instead of concentrating on delivering good governance for the people.

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