New Delhi: Armed with meticulous planning with the goal of railroading constitutional provisions, the Centre, after two weeks of speculation, stealthily made its move in Jammu and Kashmir on August 5 by abrogating Article 370 and converting the state into two Union Territories.
From troops being pumped into the state citing ‘terror threats’, to placing political leaders under house arrest in the dead of night while suspending all forms of communication in the Valley, the Centre acted much like a police state by snuffing out Kashmiri voices in a debate so integral to the very identity of Jammu and Kashmir.
Celebrations ensued on social media, with several people going to the extreme, baying for blood, claiming that the time for payback for Kashmiri Pandits had finally arrived.
The glee was plain to see on every right-leaning website.
Organiser, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s mouthpiece, which during any given week puts up fewer than two-three articles, pushed it up a notch yesterday with a grand total of three articles, all of which spread misinformation and propaganda regarding Kashmir, Article 370 and Article 35A, while reading much like the standard WhatsApp propaganda forwards that now run rampant.
In one article, titled ‘Kashmiriyat or Kashmiri Shariat?‘, Rati Hegde first devotes a few paragraphs to building up the image of a Muslim ‘mob’ in Ranchi that was protesting the death of Tabrez Ansari, a 24-year-old youth who was beaten to death by a mob that forced him to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’, before saying the phenomenon is “eerily uncanny” as it is “a repeat of what happened in Kashmir in the late 80s and early 90s”.
“The indigenous people of Kashmir, who have kept their culture alive, have been kicked out of the land of their ancestors. The murderous hordes have made it their own fiefdom today,” she writes, before breaking into full “Hindu khatre main hai” mode:
“For hundreds of years, Hindus have been forced into conversions, flight from their homes and more, but we have been silent about our sufferings. Whether it was the Portuguese inquisition in Goa or the Tipu Sultan-led massacre in Srirangapatnam or the Aurangzeb-led assault on Sikhs and Marathas or the Partition, or the pogrom in Kashmir, Hindus have remained silent and bore the cruelty, the massacres, the tortures WITHOUT allowing their culture to vanish.
This is why ours is the only ancient civilisation which still lives on. But even today, in this modern world, we are not allowed to live peacefully.
In the face of mounting attacks on the Indian Army amid false claims that the Army has been ill-treating the Muslims, especially after the Modi Government came to power at the Centre, the small, indigenous population of Kashmiri Hindus are fighting back.”
Another article takes potshots at Mehbooba Mufti and the Abdullah family and accuses them of resorting to “rumour mongering”:
“While the real issues of J&K are being dealt with, the dirty financial nexus of separatists is being exposed and the true narratives of the people are coming forward. As the last resort, the dynastic monopolists of the state discourse adopted the strategy of rumour mongering.”
Yet another piece describes how Mufti has “been making inflammatory statements through Twitter”, labelling it as “spitting venom against India”.
What comes next?
The folks at My Nation have already started asking what the next move would be, as can be seen in the article titled ‘Jammu and Kashmir: Abrogation accomplished; will Modi govt next target two-child policy?’.
On the prospective list of “pertinent issues” that the BJP “can look into and make it a reality” are the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, the Uniform Civil Code, and a two-child policy.
‘A triumph of Hindutva’
Swarajya magazine had a field day, pumping out several articles narrating just why the removal of Article 370 is a momentous victory for India. One article called it “an act of emancipation” and hailed it for “giving equal rights to the religious minorities, emancipating Dalits and Tribals and removing disabilities imposed upon women by law in Jammu and Kashmir, the Modi government has furthered the modernist and egalitarian vision of Hindutva”.
The article, by Abhinav Prakash Singh, an assistant professor at Delhi University, tries to stir sentiments by talking of how Article 370 “lowered the prestige of the constitution of India and has led to suffering of the masses of Jammu and Kashmir”.
“Not only them but the religious minorities like the Shias, Hindus, and Buddhists of the regions of Jammu, Ladakh and Kargil were thrown at the mercy of the feudal Islamist supremacists of the Valley, who deftly used the location of Kashmir as a border state to run an ‘insurgency for Azadi’ to perpetually blackmail Delhi into giving ever more concessions – to the extent of turning a blind eye towards massive corruption and murders.
Something that was considered impossible stands accomplished. And there is no question about the constitutional and legal validity except in the minds of the those who are victims of the left-wing and liberal propaganda…
And in the end, it is a triumph of Hindutva and its vision of an unified Indian state, capable of resisting imperialism and outside intervention in Indian affairs… the Modi government has furthered the modernist and egalitarian vision of Hindutva, which seeks the creation a modern Indian nation.”
The magazine’s editorial director, R. Jagannathan, in his article on recent developments, writes, “Saat khoon maaf, Modi and Shah now have the nation fully behind them”.
Jagannathan calls the decision to abrogate Article 370 and Article 35A “one of the bravest acts of independent India”.
“This decision attempts to douse the fires of separatism, alienation, minorityism and jihadism, while strengthening genuine secularism.”
He acknowledges that difficult days lie ahead, but, “whatever happens, the country must unite to back Narendra Modi and Amit Shah in this decision”.
“Blood will no doubt be shed but blood was always being shed in Kashmir, thanks to jihadis sent from across the border to the Valley to help create home-grown radicals. The real challenge is to ensure that the feelings of Kashmiris are assuaged by proactive programmes to integrate them into the mainstream without awakening xenophobic fears about millions from India swarming the Valley.
The government’s failures on the economy will now become less of an irritant for the party’s supporters, and even for large parts of the population at large.”
A third article by the Swarajya staff attempts to decode how the “Modi-Shah duo navigated a constitutional maze to script history” which displays a complete lack of knowledge of law. Read this The Wire article to understand the real issue at hand.
Kashmiri Pandits ‘get their due’
Agrahari paints a grim picture of the episode from three decades ago, replete with announcements from “loudspeakers in mosques” haranguing Kashmiri Pandits to leave the state before moving on to why the scrapping of Article 370 is the first step to “to make amends for the wrongdoings of the past and facilitate a mass rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley”.
“The abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories, empowering the centre to manage the law and order situation in Kashmir, will pave the way for the party to deliver on its manifesto promise on ensuring the return of Kashmiri Pandits to their homeland.”
Rightlog.in also published an ‘open letter to PM Modi by a Kashmiri Pandit‘. Written by Renuka Dhar, “a Kashmiri whose homecoming you made possible”, it “hails the decisive and bold changes announced by the home minister”.
“Yesterday was a historic day, in one sweeping masterstroke Home Minister Amit Shah demolished the oft-repeated myth that the ‘Kashmir Issue’ could not be handled.
There are those who will dismiss your gesture as one favouring Hindus, let me remind them that India as a nation has a responsibility towards my displaced Community which was never taken seriously. Those who call themselves secular must answer why they have chosen to ignore the fact that it was because of our religion that we were hounded out.
Just when we were giving up hope of being able to go back in this lifetime, you waved that magical wand conjuring up the image of a peaceful, progressive and welcoming Kashmir!”
The news desk at righlog.in also gave Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal a rap for his vocal support of the Centre’s actions, calling him an “opportunist”.
The article then lists a series of decisions taken by the Kejriwal government that aimed to “appease Muslims”, before saying:
“By backing the removal of 370, which many opposition parties including NDA ally Nitish Kumar have decided to use as another minority appeasement tool , Arvind Kejriwal is hoping to radically change his party’s image from a pro-Muslim party to a party that takes its nationalistic duties seriously but the voter of this country is intelligent enough to see through this charade.”
Another article, written by Ashish Dwivedi, describes how “the highly divisive and discriminatory Article 370 was also a result of skewed policies of Jawaharlal Nehru” and how “Nehru bulldozed it through the parliament using his brute majority”.
“The historical injustice to the integrity of India which was the result of Nehru’s myopic vision, has finally been rectified.
From massive troop buildup in the state to preventive detention of susceptible disrupt, the Modi government has again given an indication of its effective and diligent planning. Now it remains to be seen how fast the situation evolves to a position of stability and prosperity which the society of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh has been kept away for long.”