With the revoking of the article 370 of the Indian constitution along with article 35A which has been in place since 1949, the agenda of the BJP party is no longer just a promissory note for the masses to be cashed in the form of flagrant speeches near the elections instead it is a firm step towards a more radicalized India with the BJP party trying to get rid of the more secular parts of its society with no concern for the geopolitical consequences.
Since the birth of the nation in 1947, India has tried to maintain a volatile balance between the Hindu majority and the Muslim minority. Nowhere is this more apparent than the state of Kashmir where the Muslim majority have a been fighting a hard struggle for being reunited with Pakistan which had resulted in a stalemate of article 370, which allows Kashmiris the right to the legislature and their land with no interference from rest of India except in the area of finance, military and foreign affairs. This did not particularly favor the ultra-nationalist Hindu nor did it give the Muslims in the region a solid decision on their succession to Pakistan. This is now leading to fears that it is an attempt to shift the demographic composition of the region as more Hindus from the center of India can now settle there than the previous local Kashmiri Hindus. This is a stepping stone towards a more homogeneous Hindu state where the Muslims are limited to second class citizenship or worse. Not only is this the most egregious law passed by the BJP party as the other case of the citizenship amendment is further proof of the marginalization of Muslims as it states the citizenship to illegal immigrants can only be granted to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian with the major exception of the Muslims which is more concerning considering a large number of illegal immigrants living in India are Muslims. Thus it gives a free hand to local officials to discriminate against the populace as they might never be given citizenship.
This also intentionally plays with nationalistic Hindu tendency to make a ‘greater India’ or ‘Akhand Bharat’ which vies to include the nations of Pakistan and Bangladesh into its fold as well to further their Hindu homeland. The first shot had already been fired by the revoking of article 370 and the citizenship amendment act cements the position of the Muslims in India as a lowly one which is now openly shown by the Indian state more exclusively by the BJP party. Kashmir has been experiencing a lockdown since August 2019 but hasn’t been lifted fully as of July 2020, this highlights the oppressive nature of the BJP rule and clearly shows the intentions of assimilating the diverse Kashmir into a single Hindu motherland through the use of violence and intimidation such as the house arrest of the local politicians and complete shutdown of communications in the region. This revoking is not a surprising move considering its Muslim majority has always been a hurdle in legitimizing India’s claim to Kashmir.
Considering the enormity of the moves made in Kashmir, the international community refuses to move to condemn India instead some downright ignore the suffering of the common people in Kashmir and continue to do business. Some examples include Bill Gates Foundation hosting the prime minister of India, Narendra Modi for its annual Goalkeepers Global Goals Award and King Hamad Order of the Renaissance was also awarded to Narendra Modi by Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa right as troops were being deployed in Kashmir. This goes to show that most countries are ignoring these egregious human rights violation and claiming it is an internal matter of India, which leaves the Muslims to the mercy of its Hindu rulers who plan to reduce the population of the Muslims in the long term through land grabs or other nefarious means. Instead of forcing India to come up with a good alternative to Article 370, the international community now hopes that the tension between India and Pakistan comes to a mediated end. This has put much pressure on Pakistan as the prime minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan spoke on the issue at U.N general assembly referring to future of Kashmir as a “Blood Bath” even after these clear warnings, the international community has not put any significant action into place which creates a dilemma of Pakistan appeasing India to have better relations at the U.N with India’s silent allies and let BJP Party continuing its harmful agenda in Kashmir or carrying out more aggressive actions which will lead to more condemning of the poor relationship between India and Pakistan which could lead to nuclear confrontation. The road to protecting the Muslim minority in India is a lonely one which Pakistan has to navigate alone. This case is also reminiscent of the Israel-Palestine issue as to make room for the Jewish people the Arabs were forcibly deported or immigrated through the tactics of violence or fake promises which have resulted in most Palestinian Arabs losing their ancestral homes and losing their prestige in the region which has locked the region in a violent standstill causing most Palestinian Arabs to remain on their back foot as most of the U.N regards it as an internal issue of Israel which has led to the militarization of the Arab zone and violent burst of riots as anger against the unsympathetic Jewish authority boils over. The international silence highlights that India can cause as much havoc as it wants while not receiving any substantial action in return although the more violent means to their goal remains in the future; it would not be long before a wave of discrimination against the local populace comes to the light to the international community revealing a system which is deadest on proving its race’s superiority over a persecuted Muslim community.
Areeb Ahmed Baig is a graduate student at Institute of Business Administration and has interests in Social Problems and Political Affairs.