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

Impact of state repression? Kashmir's 65% people prefer independence: Cambridge study

By Rajiv Shah 
Even as the Government of India’s controversial move to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) into two union territories is not only refusing to down die but has acquired international dimensions, a recent study, published by the Cambridge University Press, has claimed “pro-independence attitudes” among that 65% of Kashmiris, warning, this sentiment worsens when the state machinery resorts “repressive violence”.

Dholera 'inundated': Gujarat govt tries selling low lying area as top smart city site

Counterview Desk
Even as the Dholera Special Investment Region Regional Development Authority (DSIRDA) of the Gujarat government was busy organising a junket for Gujarat-based journalists for the area sought to be sold as an ideal special investment region (SIR) for industrialists, well-known farmers' activist Sagar Rabari has wondered why no investor has so far agreed to put in money in an area situated in Ahmedabad district along the Gulf of Khambhat.

Congress' anti-democratic laws led to Modi govt's 'Constitutional' changes: Scholars

Counterview Desk
A large number of academics* said to be belonging to several Indian and international institutions, even as taking strong exception to the Narendra Modi government's alleged move to amend the Constitution through "illegitimate" means, have taken strong exception to their colleagues in academia who we have become "all too accustomed to adopting a calculated silence in the face of such indignities."

Hindus to be 'sent' to Kashmir? Despite Israeli settlements, peace eludes the region

By Anand K Sahay*
Curfew, news and communications blackout, transportation shut-down... News reports from Kashmir are worrying. So are the views relayed through the media, especially television. Old-fashioned repression seems to be consorting comfortably with expressions of concern “for our Kashmiri brethren”. We are looking at Orwell’s 1984 in the making.

Kashmir normal? Schoolboys, teenagers being arbitrarily picked up, detained: Report

Counterview Desk
A four-person team, consisting of Jean Dr├Ęze, well-known development economist; Kavita Krishnan, who is with the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist); Maimoona Mollah of the All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA); and Vimal Bhai of the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), back from a five-day fact-finding mission (August 9-13) from Kashmir, has said that people they spoke to “expressed their pain, anger, and sense of betrayal against the Government of India.”
In a report, “Kashmir Caged”, released along with a short eight-minute film, they said, the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A, dissolution of the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), and bifurcating it into two Union Territories, is not being supported by anyone they met, except for BJP spokesperson on Kashmir affairs Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo, who claimed 46% vote share in J&K.
Excerpts from the report: When our flight landed, and the airlines staff announced that passeng…

Modi's Gujarati mind? Why govt move to 'sell-off' defence PSUs isn't in national interest

By Sandeep Pandey*
The Standing Committee on Defence, 2017-18, of the 16th Lok Sabha highlights the idea of Buy Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured). The Committee expressed concern over the import content of equipments produced and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Ordnance Factories (OFs) and defence Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) because of the dependence it creates for military hardware on foreign suppliers.

Central Gujarat effluent channel 'releasing' highly polluted industrial wastewater: PM told

Counterview Desk
Senior environmentalists of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS), Vadodara, Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant, in an open letter to the Prime Minister, the Gujarat chief minister, the Gujarat chief secretary, and senior Government of India and Gujarat government officials dealing with environment, pollution and climate change have said that the authorities’ response their pleas to take action against the leakages and flow of polluted wastewater from the effluent channels of Central Gujarat industrial areas has met with complete inertia.

Can't go to court with RTI information, rule Ahmedabad authorities: Kankaria accident

By Pankti Jog*
In a shocking reply to an application filed by me, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) authorities have said that the information provided under the Right to Information (RT) Act should be used in court or in a judicial process. The Act is known to be a major tool that enables citizens to seek certified copies of documents, records from any public authority of state and Central government within 30 days, as per provisions of the Act.

Quit India Movement 'betrayal' and dubious role of Hindu Mahasabha, RSS leaders

By Shamsul Islam*
After the recent guillotine of Article 370, Hindutva ideologue Ram Madhav, while celebrating the occasion stated that it was honouring of the sacrifices of Dr Shyam Prasad Mukherjee and thousands others who laid down their lives for its removal. It is to be noted that Dr Mukherjee was a cadre of RSS and was groomed into a Hindutva leader by another Hindutva icon, VD Savarkar.

Strategy for united struggle against Hindutva 'fascism': Ideological silence is 'no option'

By Dr Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
Electoral alliance and opportunism of national and regional political parties, neoliberal economic marginalisation and soft secular Hindutva line pandering to Hindu majoritarianism laid the foundation of Hindutva fascism in post-colonial India.