It is no secret that Israel has been committing crimes of apartheid and planned persecution, as it continues to replace and expel the native Palestinians from their own land. In pursuit of this policy, it has taken steps from time to time, such as the policy of annexing East Jerusalem, building an apartheid wall, the siege on Gaza, demolition of homes, never-ending permits of settlement and their expansion –designs that are meant to alter the demography in Tel Aviv’s favor. The August 5 step by Modi regime is no different from what Israel has been doing to the people of Palestine, i.e., settler colonialism. The only minor difference, if it exists, lies in its modus operandi –the Zionist state has been doing it overtly, whereas the Hindutva regime is attempting to do it in the guise of empowering the Kashmiris.
The abolished Article 35A–that served as the fundamental line of defense against the external interference and vested authority of granting domicile and rights of citizenship solely to the provincial administration–was the stumbling block in materializing the dream of turning Kashmir into a Hindu majority state. The top Kashmiri leaders’ concern, allowing non-locals to vote in the upcoming Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) elections would tilt the balance in favor of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is valid given the fact that 2.5 million non-Kashmiri voters would change the electorate composition, further marginalizing the Muslim majority. “Is the BJP so insecure about support from genuine voters of Jammu and Kashmir that it needs to import temporary voters to win seats? None of these things will help the BJP when the people of J&K are given a chance to exercise their franchise,” former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah tweeted. Terming the decision as egregious gerrymandering, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) President, Mehbooba Mufti is of the view, “The GoIs decision to defer polls in J&K preceded by egregious gerrymandering tilting the balance in BJPs favor and now allowing non-locals to vote is obviously to influence election results. The real aim is to continue ruling J&K with an iron fist to disempower locals.”
Given the well-calculated measure of changing the majority into a minority to materialize the dream of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the Modi-led government has introduced these illegal and unilateral measures to disempower the native population of their fundamental rights. The narrative of a Hindu rashtra has been so craftily utilized that the Kashmiri Muslims are now seen as exogenous others, who are to be symbolically and physically erased.
There is no denying the fact that these black laws are an antithesis of international law as well as the country’s own constitution. The resolution of the issue has been on the United Nations’ agenda since the year 1948 and free and impartial plebiscite is the only way forward, but despite being an internationally recognized issue, Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, claimed during a public rally in Gujarat that he has resolved the Kashmir issue. The misleading narrative reflects how the leadership is oblivious of the ground realities in IIOJK, despite occupying the territory and being guilty of the gross human rights violations in the region.
While India and Israel rely on military and economic power to gain control of the Kashmiris’ and Palestinians’ land, eliminating those who stand in the way while replacing them with the settlers, the struggle of the indigenous people continues unabated.
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