By Mehwish Ashraf
Kashmir has remained under curfew for over fifty days now since August 5, 2019. The Kashmiris are cut off from the world; economically, socially and politically. They are mentally disturbed because they cannot communicate with their loved ones and are prohibited from celebrating any religious events such as Eid or the holy days of Ashura. This is resulting in the psychological torture of Kashmiris and people associated with them around the world. Civilians and supporters of Kashmir, especially in Pakistan, are worryingly counting the days of curfew, with the concern that someday India has to remove its army from Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) and the civilians will get out of terror and continue a torture-free normal life.
But if India lifts the curfew from J&K, then what was the purpose of its implementation in the first place?
Basically, Narendra Modi along with his party Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) are following RSS’s strategic plan to seize J&K. In order to do that, they have enforced a curfew in which they stationed about 40,000 troops to Himalayan territory on 5th of August. On the other hand, over 90,000 central forces are already stationed in J&K. The Indian government felt that this was not enough, hence, it eliminated all kinds of access to Kashmiris, so that the world does not know the truth about the violations of human rights such as hunger, torture, arrests, assassination against Kashmiri Muslims and the renewed settlements happening there.
But it is not new for Muslims of Kashmir; instability in the valley has been around for a long time. Let’s go days back; when British East India Company came to rule over the Subcontinent in 1845, Britain annexed Kashmiri territory and appointed a pro-Britain governor named Raja Gulab Singh. From here initiated the Dogra Dynasty, which was not favourable for Muslims, they were made slaves and obliged to pay heavy taxes in comparison to other religion’s people. When in 1931, these Muslims protested for their rights, about 22 protesters were shot.
Again in 1947, Muslims of J&K were targeted when Pakistan and India got freedom from Britain colonialist, and the princely state of J&K was given option to join any one state or independence. At that time, Maharaja Hari Singh (from Dogra Dynasty) started genocide of Muslims and killed 200,000 Muslims because their votes were with Pakistan.
Likewise, the Indian government knows that until there is a Muslim majority in Kashmir, either the Kashmiris will demand independence or accession to Pakistan. At any cost, India will not let this happen. So, India’s ruling party BJP has initiated implementation of RSS’s extremist strategic plan to make Kashmir a Hindu region or Hindu majority region. For converting J&K in Hindu Majority state, Delhi aims to, forcefully occupy and divide the territory of J&K into three parts, bring settlements to change its demography, and commit genocide of the Muslim population.
This strategic plan of India is like her strategic partner Israel’s plan for seizing the territory of Palestine.
India has already occupied J&K forcefully by the abolition of article 370 and article 35A of Indian constitution, which was added in the Indian constitution as a result of agreement signed between Indian government and Maharaja Hari Singh. Under that article, all laws of J&K were separate from India other than finance, defence and foreign affairs. The separate law also bans property rights in the territory of J&K to non-civilians.
Grievously, when India brought this major illegal change in the constitution (without consent of Kashmiri Government) on disputed territory between India and Pakistan, no international law’s guardian intervened to stop India. Besides that, when the politicians and civilians of J&K protested, they were placed under internment, detention and assassination, as happened in Kashmir many times before. Farooq Abdullah, Ex-Chief Minister of J&K, himself informed the NDTV, “I was detained in my house”. Even Mehbooba Mufti, who seems very active on her twitter has not tweeted once after 5th August, when state wide curfew was enforced in J&K. Purpose of Kashmiri politician’s detention is to stop them from being a hindrance for India in implementation of its extremist plan, which was on the BJP’s manifesto since years.
Firstly, India aimed to trifurcate J&K and reform its map. Trifurcation of J&K divides the region into three parts; Ladakh (Buddhist majority), Jammu (Hindu Majority), and Kashmir (Muslim majority). Under Indian act passed in August this year, Ladakh will become a union territory.
Now, India aims to Bifurcate J&K into Jammu and Kashmir, according to M. G. Vaidya (RSS spokesperson), “the RSS was in favour of trifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir.” He further explained the RSS trifurcation plan, “The development of Jammu and Ladakh will be accelerated and these two regions do not require special status by Article 370 of the Constitution.” He further said, while explaining the RSS plan that only the Valley (Kashmir) demanded special status for becoming a union territory.
As the plan of BJP to divide the land of Jammu and Kashmir is pre-existing, so is the strategy of demographic change of Kashmir and ethnic cleansing of Muslims. Before and during this continued curfew, many Muslim civilians are arrested by Indian forces and sent to other areas of Indian jails or in detention camps, like one for Aassam. There is a record of such stories, among them one documented by Showkat Nanda is quoted below:
“Fahmeeda has spent 17 years waiting for her husband, Mushtaq Ahmad Sheikh, who was picked up by Indian Army on Sept. 3, 2001. For seven months she looked for him in different prisons, camps and torture centres but couldn’t find him.” Many other similar stories of displacement and arrests are written down, that proves demographic change is happening in Kashmir from years.
Picture of Fahmeeda captured by Showkat Nanda.
Another way, that India has adopted for demographic change is to sell property of Kashmir to Hindu Indian civilians, which was impossible before repeal of Article 35A.
The last strategy, which also has been used by Extremist Hindu Government of India since years, is Genocide or ethnic cleansing of Muslims. There are series of record of massacres in Kashmir which is included in India’s Genocidal process; The Gawkadal massacre (January 21, 1990) resulted in the death of 53 people; The Spore massacre (January 6, 1993) resulted in 55 deaths; The Kupwara massacre (January 27, 1994) left 27 people died.
Now, along Ethnic cleansing of Muslim in this curfew Indian forces have blocked investigations, visits of journalists, activists and politicians in the valley, so no one knows the exact figure of Muslims’ butchering.
The two strategies; change in demography and ethnic cleansing, will result in depopulating Muslim Kashmiris and increase population of Hindus, in Kashmir Valley. Then dividing the region into three parts, i.e. Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh, will allow them to become union territory. The sequence of these strategies can change but once India will get any two of these three strategies done, then surely, India will lift the curfew.
Implementation of this extremist strategic plan of BJP on a conflicted territory of Kashmir is a question on the role of Global watchdogs of human rights and international law. The World have faced the same crisis in the form of Israel and Palestine, the global watchdogs remained ineffective then and will remain ineffective now, again in this case of Kashmir. These examples have encouraged extremist nations like Hindu India and Jewish Israel to repeat this trend. We won’t be wrong, if we say today Kashmir has become Palestine and if no step will be taken, we will see more Kashmir and Palestine in the world.