Skip to main content

Modi's Kashmir move meant to 'solidify' Hindu majoritarianism, 'demonize' Muslims

By Battini Rao*
The parliament of India on August 6 put its stamp of approval on bills abrogating article 370 and downgrading the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) to two union territories. When the representatives of the people of India were deciding the fate of the state, the people of J&K were forced into collective house arrests.
Armed forces imposed curfew like restrictions on movement, all means of communications were blacked out, hundreds of politicians and party activists, including former chief ministers of the state were behind bars.
It is clear that the Modi government lacked the courage to face the reaction of the people of the state to its actions, and hid behind bayonets of the Indian army and a legal scam in parliament. With these steps the Republic of India has grievously damaged the civil political bridge between it and the people of Kashmir.
Actions of the Modi government are a fraud not only on the people of J&K, but also on Indian constitution and democracy. Article 370 was a result of careful negotiations within the constituent assembly between stalwarts like Ambedkar, Patel and Nehru and representatives of J&K. No one can deny that it was stamped by the requirements of the time.
Its spirit has been repeatedly violated by all governments of India, and it had become more of an empty shell. However, constitutional morality demands that an agreement that has been entered by two parties be amended or abrogated only by mutual consent. What the Modi government has done is nothing short of legalised bullying.
Furthermore, it has indulged in a legal trickery. What the constitution expressly prohibits it from doing, it has done through back-door. Article 370, as drafted in the constituent assembly, is a fairly fool-proof document. It can be amended only by the concurrence of the constituent assembly of the J&K, a body which has ceased to exist.
It is a legal question whether the next best option, an elected legislative assembly of the state can concur with its amendment. Modi government dissolved the elected assembly of the state last year, and has not allowed a new assembly to be elected. It has usurped the rights of the people of the state, unilaterally given to itself the right to abrogate article 370, and done what the constitution does not permit it to do. 
The Constitution of India is driven by an inclusive spirit that accepts the diversity of India, and refrains from imposing a forced homogeneity on Indians. Its various schedules allow for specific political and administrative provisions for different conditions in different parts of the country. 
Besides Kashmir, many such provisions are in place in the North-East of the country. Such provisions allow autonomous political development in such regions, and make their association with India voluntary to an extent, rather than forced.The Hindutva ideology of RSS followed by the Modi government is diametrically opposed to the idea of nationhood in the constitution. It wants India to be a Hindu Rashtra, privileging one religious community over all others. 
Most regional parties have not responded to the blatant attack of the Modi government on the constitutional federalism of the country
The primary aim of the RSS and the Modi government is to solidify a majoritarian politics among Hindus around an aggressive and violent nationalism. Demonisation of Muslims is an integral component of this majoritarianism. Devaluation of the only Muslim majority state in the country is part of this politics.
It is extremely worrying that significant sections of Indians are falling for the majoritarian bait. While the people of J&K, whose political fate has been decided by the Modi government, are locked under curfew and Indian forces are using pellet bullets against Kashmiris who are coming out in opposition to government’s move, many people in the rest of India are approving government’s action in the name of their country.
They have forsaken their political wisdom. They are not asking a simple question. Do they want their country of 1.3 billion to be one which uses more than one third of its armed forces against eight million inhabitants of a small valley, whose population is less than one percent of Indians, actually less half of the city state of Delhi?
As for the anti-India insurgency, all indicators prove that the level of violence as shown in the number Indian soldiers and unarmed civilians killed has increased manifold under the Modi government. Ordinary people everywhere want peace with dignity.
Against this basic instinct of ordinary people, organisations like the RSS and parties like the BJP thrive in an environment of violence and hatred. It is in their interest to keep the cycle of violence in Kashmir going.
Actions of the Modi government on article 370 have also exposed the bankruptcy of almost all Indian political parties. Their opportunistic politics is driven only by the logic of power, and they cannot see that majoritarian bullying, through which strong oppress the weak, is not democracy.
Most regional parties have not even responded to the blatant attack of the Modi government on the constitutional federalism in the country by unilaterally breaking a state and turning it into centrally administered territories.
The Government of India immediately must take back recent changes in the status of J&K. If it wishes to abrogate 370 it should do so only through a dialogue with the people of the state, or their elected representatives.
All restrictions on the daily lives of the people of J&K should be revoked immediately, political leaders and activists in the state should be released at once, and people should be allowed to express their reactions to the government move freely.
The people of India should not fall for the ruse of majoritarian nationalism. Their democratic rights will be respected only in a country which is inclusive and does not reduce parts of its population to prisoners of its nationhood.
---
*Convener, People's Alliance for Democracy and Secularism (PADS)

Comments

veerar said…
Do you "angelize" and eulogize,people who drove out the Kahsniri Pandits,from their own Native Place 30 years ago ? The Kashmiri Pandits are refugees in their own Nation!

TRENDING

India under Modi among top 10 autocratizing nations, on verge of 'losing' democracy status

By Rajiv Shah
A new report, prepared by a top Swedish institute studying liberal democracy, has observed that there has been a sharp “dive in press freedom along with increasing repression of civil society in India associated with the current Hindu-nationalist regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.” The report places India among the top 10 countries that “have autocratized the most”. Other countries that have been identified for rolling towards autocracy are -- Hungary, Turkey, Poland, Serbia, Brazil, Mali, Thailand, Nicaragua and Zambia.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Border conflict? RBI nod India's 'brotherly' help to China internationalise its currency

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
In the middle of a global pandemic, China started an unprovoked border conflict with India. It unraveled trust deficit and ties between the two neighbours. As thousands of Chinese troops tried occupying Indian territory, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government directs the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to allow the Bank of China to start regular banking services in India. The Bank of China will now operate in India like any other commercial banks.

RSS supremo Deoras 'supported' Emergency, but Indira, Sanjay Gandhi 'didn't respond'

By Shamsul Islam*
National Emergency was imposed on the country by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on June 25-26, 1975, and it lasted for 19 months. This period is considered as ''dark times' for Indian democratic polity. Indira Gandhi claimed that due to Jaiprakash Narayan's call to the armed forces to disobey the 'illegal' orders of Congress rulers had created a situation of anarchy and there was danger to the existence of Indian Republic so there was no alternative but to impose Emergency under article 352 of the Constitution.

Clean chit to British rulers, Muslim League? Karnataka to have Veer Savarkar flyovers

By Shamsul Islam*
The BJP government of Karnataka led by BS Yediyurappa is going to honour Hindutva icon VD Savarkar by naming two of the newly built major flyovers in Bangalore and Mangalore after him. There was a huge uproar against this decision of the RSS-BJP government as many pro-Kannada organisations with opposition parties and liberal-secular organizations questioned the logic to ignore so many freedom fighters, social reformers and others from within the state.

Hurried nod to Western Ghat projects: 16 lakh Goans' water security 'jeopardised'

Counterview Desk
Taking strong exception to "virtual clearances" to eco-sensitive projects in the Western Ghats, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) in a statement has said urged for a review of the four-lane highway, 400 KV transmission line and double tracking of the railway line through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park in Goa.

Letter to friends, mentors: Coming together of class, communal, corona viruses 'scary'

By Prof (Dr) Mansee Bal Bhargava*
COVID greetings from Ahmedabad to dear mentors and friends from around the world…
I hope you are keeping well and taking care of yourself besides caring for the people around you. I’m writing to learn how is the science and the society coping with the prevention and cure of the pandemic. I’m also writing to share the state of the corona virus that is further complicated with the long-standing class and communal viruses.

Disturbing signal? Reliance 'shifting focus' away from Indian petrochemical sector

By NS Venkataraman*
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), a large Indian company, has expanded and grown in a spectacular manner during the last few decades, like of which no industrial group in India has performed before. RIL is now involved in multi various activities relating to petroleum refineries, petrochemicals, oil and gas exploration, coal bed methane, life sciences, retail business, communication network, (Jio platform) media/entertainment etc.

Case for nationalising India's healthcare system amidst 'strong' private control

Counterview Desk
A draft discussion note, prepared by Dr Maya Valecha, a Gujarat-based gynecologist and activist, sent to the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) as also a large number of activists, academics and professionals as an email alert, is all set to create a flutter among policy experts for its strong insistence on nationalizing India’s healthcare system.