The year 2019 turned the Indian politics upside down. It was a year full of dejection for some, while on the other hand, many were happy from the outcome of the decisions of the government of India and the Supreme Court of India. However, it seemed as if the judiciary itself was under the jurisdiction of authorities to proceed at a superficial pace for delivering the verdict of the Ayodhya.
Whereas in the case of Kashmir, it has been more than five months since the internet black-out there, and the court recently has directed the government to review all the actions taken by them. This somehow creates a sense of failure of the judicial system of India in the eyes of the common Indians.
On 5th August 2019, the government scrapped the Article 370 and 35A, snatching the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. This happened without taking the consent of the stakeholders of the state, and till date, many of the state politicians are under a house arrest. It’s been more than five months now, and they haven’t been freed. The problem here is that the abrogation of Article 370, without a consensual discussion with the state stakeholders, is unconstitutional.
But the Indian government did not stop there; they also put the state’s political leaders under house arrest since the day of the scrapping in the name of establishing ‘normalcy’. The Indian government announced that life in Kashmir had been brought to normalcy long ago, but even then, they have continued with the house-arrest/detention of the valley politicians. If normalcy has been established, then what’s the point of their detention now?
The Article 370 clearly states that: “(b) the power of Parliament to make laws for the said State shall be limited to—(i) those matters in the Union List and the Concurrent List which, in consultation with the Government of the State, are declared by the President to correspond to matters specified in the Instrument of Accession governing the accession of the State to the Dominion of India as the matters with respect to which the Dominion Legislature may make laws for that State; and(ii) such other matters in the said Lists as, with the concurrence of the Government of the State, the President may by order specify.”
Since there was no government in the state as the coalition of BJP-PDP collapsed, the scraping of the Article 370 and 35A comes out to be completely unconstitutional. However, the Indian media never endorsed enough debates over the fact whether this abrogation is constitutional or not; rather, they were busy criticizing Pakistan—as they often do that to direct the attention of the people on unimportant things.
Recent activities by the government of India reveal an uncanny similarity between the incidents that happened in the valley (J&K) and are now happening in other BJP-ruled states. It might be uncompromisingly forthright, but it seems like the Indian state has used Kashmir as a testing ground for its tactics. There is a pattern which is eerily similar in the case of Kashmir and BJP-ruled states of India.
On 15th December 2019, there was a protest held near Jamia Milia Islamia (JMI), Delhi. The protest turned violent, and the Delhi Police barged into the JMI campus. They lathi-charged the students, fired tear gas, and even fired at students. When asked about this, Delhi Police said that to control the violent protest they had to take such steps. Police even made the students of JMI parade with their hands in the air as if they are some sort of terrorists or criminals. How could someone treat their students like this?
Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) held a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the attack on JMI. Since, the BJP, the ruling party of India, tested that they could inflict any number of atrocities and won’t get noticed by blocking the internet (as they did in the Kashmir), they did the same thing in Aligarh. Aligarh is a district in Uttar Pradesh (UP), and BJP is the ruling party of this state.
As soon as the internet was off, the police came into action and barged inside the campus lathi-charging the students, firing tear gas and using stun grenades on the students of AMU, who were peacefully opposing the CAA and the action of the Delhi Police in JMI. The violence unleashed by the UP Police was so barbaric that one student lost an eye, whereas another student’s arm was amputated. The Aligarh administration blocked the internet and gave the UP Police all liberty to practice barbarism.
Similar reports came when a massive protest to oppose the Abrogation of 370 took in the Soura village of Kashmir. The Indian forces there even opened fire at the people who were demonstrating. However, due to internet blockade, no news came out. When the West media reported the matter, the Indian State replied with complete denial of such a demonstration ever being held. Similarly, when the UP Police was unleashing the barbarism on the students of the AMU, due to internet blockade, news wasn’t frequently coming out.
The government’s barbarism in UP didn’t stop there. They started assaulting people from a particular community, which is seen by the Indian right-wing fraternity not only as a threat but also as invaders to their “holy land”. The current ruling party of the states of Assam, Uttar Pradesh, and Karnataka is BJP, which is also ruling in the center. In these states, the police have used inhumane methods to control the protests.
Especially in the state of UP, the violent action taken by the UP Police has killed more than 25 people. But again, due to no internet facility, the news took some time to break-out, and in that time, the asked job of cruelty was performed by the UP Police. All the above-mentioned states saw killings of protestors. Two people were killed in the Mangaluru, a city in the state of Karnataka, by the police firing.
In Kashmir, the Indian state uses similar manner to control the voices of resistance. Now, the BJP is taking similar steps to counter the opposition in the other states. As the Indian media didn’t cover the news of Soura village, similarly the atrocities against the protesting people and activists in Uttar Pradesh have gone unreported.
I believe you can also see the pattern, which is deeply saddening as well as worrying. Yesterday, it was Kashmir; today it is Uttar Pradesh and JNU, JMI, AMU, and tomorrow, it could be your state, your neighborhood. I would like to end this article with a re-creation of Nïemoller’s poem, which he wrote as a post-war confession:
“When the State came for the Kashmiris, I remained silent; I was not a Kashmiri.
When they locked up the Kashmiri politicians, I remained silent; I was not a politician.
When they came for the JNU/JMI/AMU students, I did not speak out; I was not a student.
When they came for the Muslims, I remained silent; I wasn’t a Muslim.
When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out.”
And, I believe that we, the common Indians, still won’t learn from this. That’s why what happened with Kashmir is not important for Us.