Kashmir Dying

| revcom.us


Editors’ note: The following are excerpts from a correspondence we received from a reader on developments around the state of Kashmir (officially known as Jammu and Kashmir) in India. We thought that this exposure of the situation facing the people in Kashmir was important to share with our readers.

As a brief background: Kashmir lies on the northern borders of India and Pakistan. About 65 percent of its 12.5 million people are Muslims, 30 percent Hindus, and the rest other ethnicities and religions. With the end of formal British rule over the Indian subcontinent after World War II, the British carried out a divide-and-conquer policy to exacerbate divisions between different nationalities and religious groups, and Pakistan was partitioned off as a separate Muslim state. Two-thirds of Kashmir came under Indian control, with the rest controlled by Pakistan. The oppressive rulers of both India and Pakistan have sought to control Kashmir, including waging wars, for their own ends. In early August, the Indian government moved to end Kashmir’s autonomy, sent in tens of thousands of additional troops to an already heavily militarized area, and put the region under a state of siege.

Yes, 'n' how many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free?
Yes, 'n' how many times can a man turn his head
And pretend that he just doesn't see?

These lyrics from Bob Dylan’s iconic song Blowin’ in the Wind have proved prophetic for Kashmir in India. The northernmost state of India has been under a lockdown from the Indian government for almost four weeks now. The state’s more than seven million people remain jailed in their homes with statewide curfew, and no access to food, medicine, health care or any other basic amenities. They exist, but are not free; they are being slowly tortured to death in inventive ways by Indian army and police. The bigoted majority Hindu population on the other hand, has turned its head away from one of the worst humanitarian tragedies in the history of the world, and pretends all is well. It is chilling to the core. Unnatural death, either inflicted by the Indian state or the lack of access due to curfew is becoming an accepted feature of the Kashmiri family. This is slow genocide in progress. The right-wing Modi government wants the land not the people.

The occupation of Kashmir has been done with constitutional chicanery and fraud, by revoking Article 370 that connected Kashmir to India. This was done overnight, stealthily and swiftly, and in one stroke the identity of Kashmiris and land were robbed. Kashmir, at the time of independence of India from British colonial rule joined India through an Instrument of Accession, that allowed Kashmir full autonomy except for defence, foreign affairs and communication. This included Kashmir having its own constitution and its own flag. This became enshrined in the Indian constitution through Article 370 of the constitution. Now, it stands abrogated; without the will, consent or consultation with Kashmiri people.

On August 5 Kashmir woke up caged. Every home was turned into a jail with a statewide curfew. The vast majority of the Indian population celebrated it exuberantly, bursting crackers in some cases, tone deaf to the genocide like situation on the ground. Over five hundred Kashmiri politicians were jailed and thousands more arrested in one swoop. Any spontaneous protest was crushed with an iron fist, and people were beaten, maimed, jailed and killed mercilessly. The pellet guns used by Indian forces is the first mass blinding operation carried out by armed forces anywhere in the world. They intentionally aim at the eye, and chose the more deadly pellet for use compared to the earlier more benign one. As the days passed by, young boys, 10 to 13 years old, were kidnapped and abducted from families in night raids by Indian forces, and are being held in jails without charges. These children are hostages, to prevent the parents from protesting for their rights and identity. Kashmiri jails are full, the children are now taken to jails of other states. The aim is clear—to eliminate Muslims from Kashmir, perform an ethnic cleansing, and change its demographics forever. The rapes and torture in Kashmir today are as savage, as brutal, as heartless as any other worse time in the history of humanity. As BBC reported on beatings and torture, “They beat every part of my body. They kicked us, beat us with sticks, gave electric shocks, beat us with cables. When we fainted, they gave us electric shocks to bring us back. When they hit us with sticks and we screamed, they sealed our mouths with mud.”  

This is a rise of Hindu Nazis which the world is silently watching. These are the people who literally worship Hitler and approve of ethnic cleansing methods adopted by Hitler. The parallels are stark. Modi in India rode on a wave of popularity just like Hitler, largely fueled by his hate speeches, majoritarian plank, and populist slogans like Hitler. He made Muslims the enemy with careful pandering to majoritarian sentiments, stoking imaginary fears just like Hitler, who made Jews the enemy. The false Hindu pride, and harking back to ancient glory just like that of Germans, was made the prime narrative of political discourse. The mob-lynching of Muslims was slowly normalized in Modi’s first terms in last five years, as was the killing of Jews, with no action taken on the perpetrators. In many cases these goons were felicitated and encouraged by Modi, his government and its supporters. Modi follows Hindutva goons on Twitter who spew the worst kind of hatred, abuse and venom on the social media.

An over-arching, a far more sinister, and pervasive propaganda campaign than Goebbels could have ever imagined was put in place to brainwash common people, witch hunt and punish every dissenter, every truth-seeker and every critic of Modi. The entire Indian mainstream media was bought and turned into a hostile, reactionary enemy of the people who fawned on Modi and shut down any opposing and dissenting voice. They spread not only fake news and lies, but also incited communal violence and hatred against the Muslim minority, and the underprivileged in India, called Dalits. The Indian mainstream media will go down in history for their brazen complicity in giving rise to Hindu Nazis and Hindu terror. They willfully went along as the democratic and secular framework of India was taken apart piece by piece by Hindu Nazi rulers. They are the cheerleaders of the ascent of Hindu Nazi dictatorship. Combined with the vicious online troll army, the Modi government has the Indian population surveilled and terrorized, where truth has become a precious but also lethal commodity. The rest of India is as occupied as Kashmir, except that people are not jailed in their homes. As one commentator profoundly put it, Kashmir will not be Indianized, rather, India will be Kashmirized.

Kashmir above; outlined in red below.

In early August, the Indian government moved to end Kashmir's autonomy. Any protest was met with an iron fist—tear gas (above), pellet guns intentionally aimed at the eye, and mass arrests. The aim: ethnic cleansing—eliminating any Muslims. (Photo: AP)



Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:

Volunteers Needed... for revcom.us and Revolution

Send us your comments.