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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Scrapping of Article 370: A step forward to India’s Disintegration?

It is clear that in Kashmir the local response is not in the favor of India, and the consistent curfew cannot eliminate the Kashmiris' aspirations for right to self-determination.

Syeda Tranum Bashir & Dr. Mehmood Hussain |

On August 5, India took an unfortunate decision to revoke the Article 370 and 35A. The illegal act of Indian parliament has not only ignited the anxiety in Kashmiris, but also heightened the tensions among two nuclear rivals of South Asia. The Indian President’s decree to scrap the Article 370 and 35A removed the Special Autonomous Status of Jammu & Kashmir recognized back in 1949.

The Article 370 of Indian Constitution recognized that the Jammu & Kashmir is an autonomous entity for local legislation except the matters of foreign affairs, defense, finance and communications. Nevertheless, Narendra Modi and his ultra-extremist political outfit Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) accepted the revocation of Article 370 which was fundamental point in BJP’s 2019 election manifesto. Therefore, the mantra had played the exceptional role in overwhelming victory of BJP. The contours of illegal Indian attempt were getting clear in the first week of August, when thousands of additional military troops were deployed in the streets of Jammu & Kashmir. Ultimately on August 5, Indian President finally scrapped the special status of Jammu & Kashmir citing its necessity for industrial development, yet the decision was challenged by local inhabitants and Pakistan. Since then the Jammu and Kashmir is under siege as the curfew is enforced, internet facilities are cut down, and major pilgrimage events are cancelled.

Read more: India’s new lawfare on Kashmir and Pakistan’s strategic options

Narendra Modi and BJP are celebrating the illegal integration and are happy that they have done a great service for India. But they are unaware about the damage they have done to their country. Congress leader and leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha (Upper House of Parliament) Ghulam Nabi Azad accused the BJP for murdering the Constitution. Therefore against this backdrop, the primary motivation of this article is to highlight the implications of Article 370 for India.

Since the 2014, Hindutva doctrine has substantially expanded its orbit in India posing overt threats to Muslims and other minority groups. It has also increased its influence in Jammu & Kashmir through revocation of Article 370. Being aware of its illegal move, BJP adopted stringent measures to control the uprising in Jammu & Kashmir. In addition to existing 700,000 troops, additional troops were deployed to control the law and order situation. Yet, situation is getting worse as the peoples of Jammu & Kashmir have rejected the illegal occupation and are staging large scale demonstrations.

The Indian army has been using exceptional force to crush the uprising, but there are no signs of cool down in near future. The demonstrations clearly show that local response is not in the favor of India, and the consistent curfew cannot eliminate the Kashmiris’ aspirations for right to self-determination.

Pakistan and International Response

Pakistan vehemently rejected the unilateral decision of India and reiterated its full political and diplomatic support to the people of Kashmir. Pakistan pronounced that it will take all the possible steps to retaliate against Indian decision. Pakistan Foreign office in a statement said, “Jammu and Kashmir is an internationally recognized disputed territory”. In the last few days, Pakistan has invested huge diplomatic and political capital to internationalize the issue.

After more than forty years, the UNSC deliberately discussed the issue in its emergency meeting, but a joint statement was missing. Meanwhile, all the major powers condemned the Indian decision and urged to settle the dispute peacefully. In a recent speech to nation, Prime Minister Imran Khan appealed the nation to observe the solidarity hour in the country on every Friday to show the world that Pakistan always stand with the people of Kashmir. Friday saw the nation vehemently responding to his call.

If the oppressive tactics and discrimination against minority are continued, India will become the victim of civil war where minorities will take a stand for their rights.

Due to Pakistani and Kashmiri efforts with the help of media the dispute got the support from Muslims, Sikh and other activists working in the human rights domain. China, US, UK and other major powers also expressed their deep concerns over the gravity of situation and urged India and Pakistan to show maximum restraint. Chinese Ambassador to the UN rejected the Indian move and urged India to respect the resolutions of UNSC and resolve the dispute peacefully.

Lessons from History

Modern day India is similar to Soviet Union where different civilizations existed with varying power statuses, which consequently gave birth to civil war. The cold war between the US and Soviet Union and fragile domestic structure without the true spirit of democracy had played the rigorous role in disintegration of Soviet Union. The ultra-nationalists and extremist rulers used brutal tactics to escape from breakdown but this led to disenchantment and hatred. Another case is former East Pakistan now Bangladesh which was torn apart in 1971 after civil war and Indian interference.

It can be claimed that like Soviet Union and East Pakistan sooner or later India will also torn apart into different independent state. The discriminatory and arrogant policies of PM Modi are fueling the fire in existing independent movements. If the oppressive tactics and discrimination against minority are continued, India will become the victim of civil war where minorities will take a stand for their rights.

Though India is already a victim of movements for right to self-determination of Sikh, Tamils, and Naxalites community, yet the latest Indian decision in Jammu & Kashmir will pave the way for further chaos and anger in India. It has increased the anxiety in minority groups that gradually Indian government will take back special privileges granted to the minority groups, and will use brutal force to destroy the identity of those groups.

Read more: Kashmir: Washington Post Report exposes Modi’s lies

Narendra Modi has also been using the same tactics being pursued by the Hitler, known for the Holocaust. Hitler was a staunch believer of German racial superiority and wanted to purify Germany from other races. Similarly, Narendra Modi’s view is that Hindus are superior to everyone else and India is only for them. But this racial discrimination could lead India towards an unfortunate destiny.

Future scenario

The record of human rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir exposed that practice will be continued in the future. But it also guide us that the resistance against Indian atrocities would be stronger this time. It can be safely concluded that the peoples of Kashmir will not quit their struggle and the chances are high for a widespread armed struggle. Though apparently it is a good Indian move for complete accession of Kashmir and it is possible that the prolonged curfews and heavy hand could dent the spirit of peoples for some time but it cannot be considered that this will remain peaceful in the long run.

It is time for the Indian leadership to reconsider the decision, or it should prepare itself for severe repercussions. Once a full-fledged rebellion breaks out in Kashmir, it would be difficult for New Delhi to control its velocity. The early signs of an inter-ethnic collaboration are emerging in India as the Sikh community openly start supporting the demand of peoples of Kashmir. The later stage will be bloodier which might experience the close collaboration of Kashmiris and other freedom lovers in India.

Syeda Tranum Bashir is a Master Degree Candidate and emerging scholar of International Relations from the Women University of Azad Jammu & Kashmir Bagh.
Dr. Mehmood Hussain is an Assistant Professor of International Relations at Women University of Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Bagh. His research focuses on South Asian international relations and security architecture. He also monitor the Chinese relations with South Asian states especially in the realm of CPEC. He can be reached through mhussain328@gmail.com