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The unremitting maltreatment of Kashmiris, the constant refusal to acknowledge Kashmir as an issue and not to talk of holding any dialogue, the blind use of unbridled state power in crushing the will of dissenting Kashmiris and now, the full swing preparations to abolish Article 370 in wake of the so-called debate on Article 35-A of the Indian Constitution, has all amply made it clear that the BJP government is not interested in peace and tranquility in Kashmir by any stretch of the imagination. In any case, as it appears on a daily basis, rather tragically, the lives of besieged and suffering Kashmiris hardly matters to anyone in India these days. In this atmosphere of hate, bigotry and complete apathy towards Kashmiris, Sangh Parivar is fully exploiting the fragile situation to derive its own malicious capital. The scars of 2016 uprising in Kashmir, illustrated painfully by the blinded eyes of kids and dead bodies of teenagers are still fresh. It is not that 2017 has been any peaceful; the deaths of teenagers in violent protests are happening with brutal regularity. Entire valley especially South Kashmir is facing an unprecedented military siege; villages are being frequently raided, houses are being vandalized and inmates including women, children and elders are being thrashed for raising their voice and the accusation of “sheltering” militants.

The BJP government both at the centre and state instead of looking to take Kashmir out of this current conundrum is only exacerbating its problems by raking up potentially destructive issues. Sangh Parivar’s politics of hate, which it has wantonly practiced in the rest of India, has now brought it into Kashmir which is stoking fires of destruction which are now hard to douse. It is for this reason that they are raking up the highly controversial issue of abrogation of Article 370 at a time when they know that this is going to bring more harm. Yet the Sangh Parivar keeps on doing it to derive more and more political capital out of the burning flames of Kashmir as they prepare for the general elections of 2019. To compensate for its failure to deliver on promises made in 2014, BJP will now rely on its old dirty tricks of polarization, hate and jingoism to divert people’s attention. In this, it feels that Gau Raksha violence and commotion on Article 370 will help it greatly. In this horrible venture, it is helped generously by a large section of the corporate owned media which at times plays the role of its PR wing. What do you need Pakistan’s ISI for when Sangh Parivar and the corporate owned media have launched a vicious assault on Kashmiris to fuel and exacerbate the alienation and anger in the valley?

The fears of an all-out assault on the special status of the state were already borne when the BJP formed governments both at the centre and state. However, these fears are now increasing in mass proportions given the way leaders of the Sangh Parivar recently celebrated the extension of GST in the state alongwith the Statistical Bill. For Sanghis like Jitendra Singh, Sat Sharma, Ram Madhav, it was only a ‘beginning’ on the course of a full integration of the state in the union of India. Perhaps, the most significant statement came from a senior minister like Arun Jaitley. He invoked Shyama Prasad Mukherjee’s infamous communal foray into the state in early 1950s. Jaitley praised this ‘economic integration’ of J&K with India and remembered it as a step which would have given true realization to Shyama Prasad Mukherjee’s slogan of “Eik Vidhan, Eik Pradhan, Eik Nishan” as coming to its fulfillment. For Sangh Parivar, it was a matter of joy and jubilation as a course was being set for the demolition of Article 370.

One wonders, is this(the complete abrogation of Article 370 and paving the way for settling of non-state subjects in the state) the “permanent solution” of Kashmir issue that Rajnath Singh was talking about a couple of months ago? If it is indeed the ‘solution’ then one fears that a big apocalypse is in the offing and that Kashmir’s dissociation with India might become irreversible. It is because Article 370 is perceived to be an “article of faith” and a “question of life and death” by all Kashmiris. Both Kashmir’s separatists and mainstream leaders are on the same page on this. Mehbooba Mufti says “none will raise India’s flag in Kashmir” if the constitutionally sanctioned special status of the state is tampered with. On the same issue, Farooq Abdullah says “there will be an unprecedented revolt” and for Omar Abdullah, Article 370 is not even debatable because the instrument of accession is tied to it and any debate will bring into contention Kashmir’s accession with India. Similar apprehensions have been expressed by the prominent mainstream leaders like M Y Tarigami, G A Mir, Hakeem Yaseen, and Engineer Rashid. On the other hand, separatist leaders have already threatened of a “mass agitation” in case Article 370 is abrogated. They have already called for a general strike and protests on the issue on the 12th of this month. Amidst all the schisms that have hurt Kashmir, it is heartening to see mainstream and separatist leaders coming on the same page on a very sensitive issue pertaining to the state.

It has also now become clear that the repeated visits by Rajnath Singh and also the visit by the Parliamentarians to Kashmir last year was just a show of gimmickry. The BJP is not interested in finding a solution to the Kashmir issue and thereby in bringing peace in Kashmir. On the contrary, it is happy to enact its repressive policies in Kashmir and more significantly, it now wants to reorient the complex question of Kashmir’s association with India. It must also be understood that the Sangh Parivar does not respect constitutional republicanism and the idea of secularism—two ideals which bind India and Kashmir. The age old RSS design is that the lone Muslim majority state in India is a stumbling block for their grand project of turning India into a Hindu Rashtra. But this will inevitably have a complete bearing on the question of India’s claim on Kashmir which rests on secularism and constitutional republicanism. Sanghis like Mohan Bhagwat, Parveen Togadia, Rakesh Sinha, Indresh Kumar, Tarun Vijay, and many others have repeatedly spoken about planting “saffron” and bringing “fragrance of Indianess by which they mean Hindutvaness” in the state through an abrogation of the Article 370 and the consequent settlement of non-state residents in the state. Prominent BJP leader, Subramanian Swamy, in an article which he wrote way back in July 2011 in DNA under the title How to wipe out Islamic terror?, gives a description of the grand plan of abolishing Article 370 and settling ex-servicemen in the Kashmir valley. This year he again reiterated these propositions when he talked about making Kashmiris “refugees.”

It is true that common Kashmiris anymore don’t expect the BJP or for that matter, any other ruling dispensation at the centre to resolve the Kashmir issue, what is really hurting them is the attitude of the majority of Indian public which often buys the official state narrative on Kashmir. The citizens of the rest of the country cannot watch and remain silent when the BJP wants to burn Kashmir in “their name” by abolishing the article 370 and enacting the malevolent RSS plan of altering the state’s demography. Sadly, when it comes to Kashmir, barring few individual voices, the Indian intelligentsia mostly prefers to side with the narrative that the state proffers. This is what is hurting the Kashmiris most.

BASHARAT SHAMEEM, PROGRESSIVE YOUTH ACTIVIST , KULGAM (South Kashmir)

2 Comments

  1. K SHESHU BABU says:

    Human rights activists in other parts of the country should organise protests against the malicious agenda of the right wing fascists and express solidarity with the people of Kashmir

  2. MOHAMMAD SHOAIB says:

    Sangh Privar has done enough damage to we ppl by way of dre communal stunts. Parivar just want to see da burning Kashmir uniformly.Pervading peace n prosperity in valley z far distant frm dre dictionary ..But I must point out da authors storyline for glorifying some political leaders of da valley by highlighting da likes of MY Tarigami as a prominent leader. I question da author plz justify da angle over wch he finds him prominent, I don’t think he z so, here. I must evolve him a negligible wine wd no strength to stand in popularity. Experiences reveal dt he z an haughty fool …U being a good writer shd never limit urself wd subjective approach …