[News] India’s annexation of Kashmir is straight out of the Israeli playbook
news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Aug 8 20:01:52 EDT 2019
India’s annexation of Kashmir is straight out of the Israeli playbook
Azad Essa - 7 August 2019
Over the past few years, Kashmiri scholars have been making the argument
that India-administered Kashmir ought to be recognised as an occupied
With more than 700,000 Indian soldiers, paramilitary and police in the
region, the most militarised region on earth, they argued that Kashmiris
were living under client leaders held firm by the might of the Indian
To many Indians, the project to abrogate Kashmir’s 'special status'
within the Indian constitution has finally reached fruition
Since the insurgency began in the late 1980s, more than 70,000 people
had been killed, a further 7,000 enforced disappearances, thousands
blinded and maimed
pellets and live ammunition; the argument was not hard to make, but the
veneer of India’s democracy, in a rough neighbourhood, made it to some,
a hard sell.
But on Monday morning, the veneer dissipated.
Speaking in parliament, India's home minister Amit Shah held out a
stamped and signed letter from India’s president, announcing that the
country would be abrogating a special clause in the constitution
concerning Kashmir. Article 370
the clause in India’s constitution that illuminated Kashmir’s
semi-autonomous status within the Indian Union, including the ability to
handle its own affairs (besides defence, finance, communication and
foreign affairs), the right to its own constitution, ability to make
laws, as well as its own flag, would be immediately scrapped.
I salute my sisters and brothers of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh for
their courage and resilience. For years, vested interest groups who
believed in emotional blackmail never cared for people’s
empowerment. J&K is now free from their shackles. A new dawn, better
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 6, 2019
The Indian government said it would change the constitution in spite of
multiple court rulings
including the High Court in Jammu and Kashmir and the Supreme Court in
Delhi that ruled that the clause could not be tampered with.
But to many Indians, the project to abrogate Kashmir’s "special status"
within the Indian constitution, started by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak
Sangh (RSS), the right-wing Hindu nationalist group, and later floated
as an election issue for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has
finally reached fruition.
In so doing, India turned from administrator to fully-fledged coloniser,
following in many ways, Israel’s methods to accomplish total control of
the state and its people.
Following the Israeli playbook
For decades, the RSS party has been calling for the dismantling of
Article 370 in its bid to rebuild a Hindu India. In the 1980s, the BJP
<https://www.britannica.com/topic/Bharatiya-Janata-Party> with the
promise of majoritarian rule.
Revoking article 370 paves the way for a full settler-colonial
project in Kashmir, much like Jewish settlements in the West Bank
This included ending the "privileges" enjoyed by Muslims - even if they
were and remain the poorest and most undeveloped community
in India. It also included framing Kashmir as one dotted by shrines and
temples, and part of Hinduism's glorious past in the Himalayas.
Part and parcel of this attempt has been the ramping up of the Amarnath
Yatra pilgrimage in southern Kashmir. As Mona Bhan, a professor at
Syracuse University, writes in /Resisting Occupation in Kashmir,/ the
past decade has seen the Indian government restore temples to further
"tie Kashmir to India through spiritual and religious connections".
As things move forwards, it is increasingly obvious that the
colonisations of Kashmir and Palestine will become more and more
interdependent on one another. What Israel does in Palestine will
happen in Kashmir and what India does in Kashmir will happen in
— Abdulla Saad (@KarakMufti) August 6, 2019
Cancelling Article 370 is part of a fulfilment of that promise of
reinvigorating Hindu India, in a way that may be both supremacist and
democratic, even if fundamentally flawed.
“The type of 'democratic' state exemplified by Israel – and not Pakistan
– is the model the Hindu nationalist movement, led by its core RSS
organisation, aspires to establish in an Indian variant,” Sumantra Bose,
professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science,
More importantly, it also paves the way for a full settler-colonial
in Kashmir with the next stage likely to involve Hindu-only enclaves
much like Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
The Pandit question
Though tens of thousands of Kashmiri Hindus, known as Pandits, left
Kashmir in the 1990s in fear of their lives as the insurgency deepened,
Kashmiri Muslim leaders have repeatedly called for their return.
Modi is a master manipulator and puppeteer of majoritarian ambition,
scapegoating widespread economic failure to those who fall outside
the national project
Kashmir does not have a history of communal tension between Muslims and
Hindus. The attempt to bring Pandits and other Indians back as settlers
rather than equal residents is seen as a provocation.
Like the Israeli government has done repeatedly, the Indian government
has tried its utmost to frame the problem in Kashmir as a religious
issue (between Muslims and Hindus), underplaying the roots of the
political dispute and overstating the role of Islamic extremism as a
ruse to make a military crackdown not just necessary but unavoidable.
the armed movement, but its security agencies also fear Kashmiri
independence as much as India does.
This is a scene right of a dystopian novel and most of the world
isn’t even reading. The tenuous and fragile autonomy that Articles
35A/370 provided (because they were a bandaid solutions to an
unsustainable, unfair accession) is now broken.
— sanna wani (@sannareya) August 6, 2019
As the BJP sees it, changing the demographics in Kashmir, or flooding
the region with Indian Hindus, would circumvent the political
aspirations of Muslim-Kashmiris and solve the seemingly intractable
Kashmir problem forever. It would also secure Modi’s legacy. The economy
might fail, the cities might drown, farmers might starve, but he will be
remembered for securing Kashmir. The thirst for a strong-man leader in
India remains palpable.
It has been described as the darkest day in India’s democracy. But
for now it is Kashmiris who bear the brunt
Modi’s time in office, either as the Chief Minister of Gujarat in the
early 2000s, or as PM of the country since 2014, show that his
popularity increases each time Hindu-Muslim tensions rise in the
country. He is a master manipulator and puppeteer of majoritarian
ambition, scapegoating widespread economic failure to those who fall
outside the national project, be it Muslims, or Kashmiris, or those who
dare to express dissent.
Kashmiris are used to strife in the valley. But in the days leading up
to the announcement, the government inflicted a series of psychological
trauma on the local population.
First, the Indian government instructed Hindu pilgrims in southern
Kashmir and tourists to leave, on the basis of a security threat. It set
off unprecedented levels of panic in the region, which was parroted
by mainstream Indian media. This turned out to be merely a ruse to clear
out non-Kashmiris from the region ahead of the announcement.
Families cancelled engagements and weddings, and stocked up on food and
fuel. Others, looking after the elderly, searched for emergency medical
supplies. Businesses prepared for the worst, cancelling orders, and
their hotels emptied out.
Without any further communication, the Indian government then deployed
35,000 additional troops to the valley, cut all communications,
including internet, telephone (including landlines) and select cable
Kashmiri leaders, those who worked at the behest of the Indian state,
and who most Kashmiris have little allegiance or interest, were placed
under house arrest, too.
Day two. No contact with parents or anyone else in Kashmir. Complete
radio silence. You have no idea how that feels.
— Mirza Waheed (@MirzaWaheed) August 5, 2019
Finally, a curfew was imposed. The streets were cleared and soldiers
took over police posts and were sent to street corners.
With the communication blackout, there is no indication of what is
actually taking place in the valley. If Kashmiri media have been shut
down, there are significant restrictions on Indian journalists currently
on the ground. As of now, it is not even clear how many Kashmiris know
that the Indian government has changed their social contract with the state.
It has been described as the darkest day in India’s democracy. But for
now it is Kashmiris who bear the brunt.
/The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not
necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye./
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the News