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

132 Gujarat citizens, including IIM-A faculty, others declare solidarity with Kashmiris

Counterview Desk
A week after it was floated, 132 activists, academics, students, artists and other concerned citizens of Gujarat, backed by 118 living in different parts of India and the world, have signed a "solidarity letter" supporting the people of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), who, it claims, have been silenced and held captive in their own land. The signatories include faculty members and scholars of the prestigious Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A).

Amit Shah 'wrong': Lack of transparency characterized bank frauds, NPAs, jobs data

Counterview Desk
India's senior RTI activists Nikhil Dey, Anjali Bhardwaj, Venktesh Nayak, Rakesh Reddy Dubbudu, Dr. Shaikh Ghulam Rasool, Pankti Jog and Pradip Pradhan, who are attached with the National Campaign for Peoples' Right to Information (NCPRI), have said that Union home minister Amit Shah's claim that the Government of India is committed to transparency stands in sharp contrast to its actual actions.

Bharat Ratna nominee ‘joined hands’ with British masters to 'crush' Quit India

By Shamsul Islam*
The Quit India Movement (QIM), also known as ‘August Kranti' (August Revolution), was a nation-wide Civil Disobedience Movement for which a call was given on August 7, 1942 by the Bombay session of the All-India Congress Committee. It was to begin on August 9 as per Gandhi's call to 'Do or Die' in his Quit India speech delivered in Bombay at the Gowalia Tank Maidan on August 8. Since then August 9 is celebrated as August Kranti Divas.

Gujarat's incomplete canals: Narmada dam filled up, yet benefits 'won't reach' farmers

By Our Representative
Even as the Gujarat government is making all out efforts to fill up the Sardar Sarovar dam on Narmada river up to the full reservoir level (FRL), a senior farmer rights leader has said the huge reservoir, as of today, remains a “mirage for the farmers of Gujarat”.
In a statement, Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Ekta Manch (KEM), has said that though the dam’s reservoir is being filled up, the canal network remains complete. Quoting latest government figures, he says, meanwhile, the command area of the dam has been reduced from 18,45,000 hectares (ha) to 17,92,000 ha.
“According to the website of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, which was last updated on Friday, while the main canal, of 458 km long, has been completed, 144 km of ranch canals out of the proposed length of 2731 km remain incomplete.
Then, as against the targeted 4,569 km distributaries, 4,347 km have been constructed, suggesting work for 222 km is still pending. And of the 15,670 km of minor canal…

Ceramic worker dies: 20,000 workers in Thangadh, Gujarat, 'risk' deadly silicosis

By Our Representative
Even as the country was busy preparing for the Janmashtami festival on Saturday, Hareshbhai, a 46-year-old ceramic worker from suffering from the fatal lung disease silicosis, passed away. He worked in a ceramic unit in Thangadh in Surendranagar district of Gujarat from 2000 to 2016.
Hareshbhai was diagnosed with the disease by the GCS Medical College, Naroda Road, Ahmedabad in 2014. He was found to be suffering from progressive massive fibrosis. He is left behind by his wife Rekha sister and two sons Deepak (18) and Umesh (12),
The death of Hareshbhai, says Jagdish Patel of the health rights group Peoples Training and Research Centre (PTRC), suggests that silicosis, an occupational disease, can be prevented but not cured, and the Factory Act has sufficient provisions to prevent this.
According to Patel, the pottery industry in the industrial town of Thangadh has evolved for a long time and locals as well as migrant workers are employed here. There are abou…