Indian government abolishes Kashmir autonomy

Indian communists demonstrate today in Kolkota against the abolition of the autonomy of Kashmir, Reuters photo

This Reuters photo shows Indian communists demonstrating today in Kolkota against the abolition of the autonomy of Kashmir by the right-wing Indian government.

Translacted from Dutch NOS TV today:

India abolishes special status of Kashmir: “We are afraid we will lose everything”

Emigrants from Kashmir are desperate about their family members and friends, now that the government of India has intervened in the autonomy of their state. This morning, the Hindu nationalist government in Delhi abolished the special status of Kashmir, which had been in the Indian constitution since 1947.

With the measure, India is trying to get a grip on the only predominantly Muslim state in the country. That goes against the will of a large part of the local population. India had sent thousands of additional troops to the region in advance and cut off all internet, telephone and television connections.

“I called around 23:00 with friends there last night, and said goodbye. We had no idea what would happen the next morning.” That is what Tabish Rafiq (25) tells the NOS. He is a Muslim from Kashmir who now lives in the South Indian city of Bangalore. “It is of course very disturbing because now we can no longer reach our friends and family. It gives a desperate feeling to be cut off from them like this.”

Tabish Rafiq, NOS photo

Due to the blockade on telecommunications, the rumor circuit is running at full speed, says Rafiq. “We could predict that India would repeal Article 370, but there are also rumors of killing among the population in Kashmir. People are quick to believe that because the Indian army has done that more often and nobody stops them.”

“The last time I spoke to my mother, I advised her to stock up on enough food and other things for at least a month. And I told her to stay calm,” Rafiq adds. “It’s hard to grasp that nobody knows exactly what’s going on in Kashmir. It’s dystopian.”

The repeal of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, which regulates the special status of Kashmir, is the most far-reaching political action in nearly seventy years around the conflict region in the Himalayas. Neighboring Pakistan, against which India has waged war twice because of Kashmir, is angry and calls the move a violation of UN resolutions. …

The measure taken by India will alienate the people of Kashmir from Delhi and drive them further into the arms of Pakistan, according to Professor Ashok Swain, conflict expert at Uppsala University in Sweden.

“I think that the opposition in Kashmir will become stronger, that we will see more unrest and terrorism, and that the relationship between Pakistan and India will further deteriorate. This decision by India is also going to strengthen the position of hardliners in Pakistan. Making a solution at the negotiating table more unlikely.” …

“India wants to colonize Kashmir”, says Omair (23), a Muslim from the north of the state who left for the capital Delhi two weeks ago. “They are already talking about founding settlements. Of course we find that very threatening. We are afraid that we will lose everything.”

But their biggest fear is what Indian troops are going to do in the coming weeks, Omair tells the NOS. “We can’t talk to each other, and that increases fear. We don’t know what is happening right now, but we are afraid that India will repeat what they did in 2009, 2010 and 2016.” The last time India intervened militarily, a large number of young people became mutilated and blind.

“When I last spoke to my family in Kashmir last night, they were hysterical. It’s scary. They don’t feel safe at all,” said Omair.

Through actions that are tantamount to a constitutional coup, the Indian state has not just abrogated the broad autonomy that Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) enjoyed—at least on paper—under articles 370 and 35 (A) of the Indian constitution. The new governments of the bifurcated state have been given a status inferior to that of the Indian Union’s remaining 28 states, enabling New Delhi to exercise wide powers over the territories’ affairs in perpetuity: here.

India’s Hindu supremacist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government is mounting an unprecedented military-security crackdown in the disputed Jammu and Kashmir region to quell popular opposition to the patently illegal changes that it has made to the region’s government and relations with the central government: here.

Indo-Pakistani conflict sharpens with New Delhi’s assault on Kashmir: here.

New Delhi’s assault on Kashmir and the fight against communal reaction, imperialism, and war: here.

India’s disputed Kashmir region remains today for an eleventh straight day under an unprecedented security lockdown that is being enforced by tens of thousands of Indian soldiers and paramilitaries, as well as local police. Its 13 million people are subject to sweeping restrictions on their movements and all internet and cell and land phone use has been suspended: here.

INDIA DETAINS THOUSANDS IN KASHMIR At least 2,300 people, mostly young men, have been detained in Indian-administered Kashmir during a security lockdown and communications blackout imposed to curb unrest after New Delhi stripped the disputed region of statehood. [AP]

NO ‘LIFE AS USUAL’ IN KASHMIR Kashmir’s local administration has arm-twisted street vendors to ply the streets, jailed store owners for refusing to keep their shops open between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., and urged gas station owners to stay open, police sources told HuffPost India. [HuffPost]

The state of siege that India’s Hindu supremacist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government has imposed on Indian-held Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) is now well into its third week: here.

India’s Hindu supremacist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government and corporate media are crowing about the full-throated support Washington has given New Delhi in its assault on Jammu and Kashmir (J&K): here.

THOUSANDS rallied in protest at political attacks on the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)], which has seen two party workers killed in the past month and the arrest of a senior party leader. Safiur Rahman was shot dead in Nakashipara, West Bengal, on Thursday, an act which the CPI(M) blamed on the “goons of the TMC [the All India Trinamool Congress]”: here.

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