BJP-PDP Divorce in Kashmir Signals Future Escalation of State Violence
When Ram Madhav declared that the BJP will end its opportunist marriage with the PDP in Kashmir, ending their three-year-long coalition government, the message that the ordinary Kashmiri people and the democratic anti-fascist people of India read on the wall said that the Narendra Modi-led Hindutva fascist regime will carry out severe massacres in Kashmir to butcher men, women and children alike in order to appease the rabid Hindutva hatemongers and urban upper-caste elite and upper-middle-class Hindu vote bank, the very social blocks that have been baying for the blood of Muslims of Kashmir and even of those living in their neighbourhood since years.
These classes and social blocks of bigots, who are the hardcore jingoistic vote bank of the BJP and supporters of genocide masterminds like Narendra Modi, will surely have an orgasm watching more blood being spilt on the streets of Kashmir in the name of Arnab Goswami’s brand of nationalism and patriotism. The Narendra Modi regime will seek reelection in 2019 on the basis of the same xenophobic polarisation, which it had used during 2014 or even before that. Kashmiri lives are expendable for the Indian state machine and the ruling classes, it won’t matter for them if thousands of more freedom-seeking Kashmiris die in what they call – “tackling law and order situation” in the valley.
While havoc bloodshed and violence in Kashmir will secure the BJP’s monopoly on the majority of India’s 15 per cent decision making rich and urban upper-middle class vote bank, which will pave its way to power in the three states that go to election this year, overriding the discontent of the farmers, workers and the poor people, this military repression will also weaken the parliamentary opposition of all hues, as these parties won’t be in a position to criticise the Modi government because that will go against their own stated position on the Kashmir question.
Thus, the parliamentary opposition will have to cheer the Modi regime’s violent repression of Kashmiri people and showcase their own hapless position, as they had done during the Kargil War, which will give a momentum to Narendra Modi’s campaign that – there cannot be any strong and better nationalist leader than him in the Indian political arena who can take on the “Muslim threat” in a decisive way. This forthcoming severe bloodshed in Kashmir will also help the BJP and the RSS reap better results in organisational terms, with more recruitment into their ranks from the hardcore Brahminical, reactionary urban upper-caste elites and upper-middle-class constituency. There will be a huge support block of 200 million people baying for the blood of Muslims in Kashmir and elsewhere, on whose support the Modi government will take the bold step to change the Constitution in 2022 to impose an arch-reactionary Brahminical theological dictatorship led by the feudal-corporate nexus, which will rule on 1.3 billion people.
Over the last two years, the Indian economy has worsened manifold. The Narendra Modi regime has pushed the economy to the brink of collapse and bankruptcy with rising balance of payment deficit, falling rate of rupees, high amount of import bills and moreover, in the domestic sector, the industrial output has fallen, resulting into huge unemployment, job cuts and rising inflation. The farmers have been subjected to destitution as the cost of farming is shooting up due to rising prices of farming equipment and inputs, while the return on the harvest is immensely low, resulting into falling income of the farmers. The condition of the farmers in the BJP-ruled states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan has worsened in the recent years and the mounting unpaid debts of the farmers is ringing an alarm bell. For the urban middle-class and the poor, the rising inflation, high amount of unemployment, skyrocketing fuel prices, including the rising price of LPG cylinders are combining together to cause a severe pain.
There is no option for the Narendra Modi regime to win the assembly elections in the three states scheduled later this year due to the huge anti-incumbency waves. Therefore, Narendra Modi and his sycophants are choosing the same path that Atal Bihari Vajpayee traversed when he was seeking re-election in 1999 after his government lost the majority in the Lok Sabha due to the withdrawal of Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK from the NDA. Kargil War and the resultant waves of chauvinism and jingoism helped the BJP to sweep the general election despite a massive blow of inflation, economic crisis and price rise caused due to Pokhran nuclear tests. Narendra Modi can use a limited or a full-scale war with Pakistan, which is increasingly becoming a neo-colony of Russia, China and where the US influence is waning due to the growing proximity between Washington and New Delhi. Even if Modi can capitalise on a border skirmish or fake a war like he did during the “surgical strike” drama, his popularity will increase among the influential 15 per cent of the population who call the shots during any elections, as the votes of the poor and the lower-middle-class gets divided due to several issues, including the economic reason of the lower strata of the society depending on the upper-strata for their livelihood and social existence, like access to road and water in North Indian villages.
Coming back to Kashmir, the situation of the valley has remained tense ever since Kashmir erupted against the Indian occupation following the killing of Hizb ul-Mujahideen militant leader Burhan Wani in July 2016, just after Eid ul-Fitr. The whole valley erupted in protests and stone-throwing against the Indian forces became a common routine. The CRPF and the Police retaliated by unleashing the most barbaric form of state repression, they started firing pellets at the protesters along with bullets. Thousands were wounded and hundreds were killed by the forces in a span of few months. Kashmir never returned to normalcy ever after.
Since the beginning of the people’s uprising, the BJP and the RSS tried to portray it in the Islam vs Hindu narrative and its toady mainstream corporate media obliged the regime. The agitators demanding Azadi (freedom) for Kashmir from Indian occupation were called Pakistani agents and their genuine mass movement was maligned with allegations of foreign funding. Narendra Modi’s regime and the entire RSS-controlled Hindutva ecosystem claimed that stone pelting has come to a halt with the demonetisation drive. The saffron camp claimed that stone pelters were paid by Pakistan to agitate against India and with demonetisation their economic backbone was broken. This claim was thrashed by the Kashmiri people who resumed to their regular chant and mass movements for freedom since the summer of 2017. The Narendra Modi regime had shifted the demonetisation goal post by then to save its face.
Throughout its three-year-long tenure, the PDP-BJP combo ruled Jammu and Kashmir as a mere appendage of New Delhi and in notoriety, it was ranked just next to the notorious regime of Jagmohan, the BJP man who masterminded the most heinous crimes against humanity in the Kashmir valley during his reign as the governor between 1984-89. The PDP-BJP alliance itself was an oxymoron at the first place, however, the Late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, who was lured into the opportunist alliance by the RSS stalwart and Jammu and Kashmir negotiator Ram Madhav, claimed that the government will work for the all-round development of the valley and bring peace to Kashmir.
Peace indeed came in instalments, however, as the peace of the graveyard. The Mufti wasn’t around to see the mess, but his daughter Mehbooba Mufti, equally drooling for power, kept the unholy alliance alive, as part of the tradition of the musical chair of power, played by the two major dynastic parties of Jammu and Kashmir. She naively believed, probably she believed because she wanted to believe or she was made to believe, that she is in control, however, since the very first day of the alliance, the PDP had absolutely no say in the matters of governance in the state and remained a rubber stamp partner, despite commanding the support of 28 MLAs in the house vis-a-vis BJP’s 25 MLAs.
By making the PDP a second-class party, the Jammu-based BJP instigated the most brutal state violence against the people of Kashmir. Under the guise of combating terrorism, the RSS agenda of conducting a systematic genocide and psychological colonisation of the Kashmiri people was started to ensure that land in the Kashmir valley can be occupied and turned into settler colonies for, firstly, the ex-military men and then, for the Hindu upper-caste migrants from Jammu, Punjab, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and other parts of the country.
Through an alteration of the Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, which guarantees a special status to Jammu and Kashmir following the instrument of ascension that the Nehru government had the former autocratic monarch of the princely state sign to help India annex the territory, the Modi regime has a plan to change the demography of Jammu and Kashmir in order to turn it into a Hindu-majority region and thereby, make Kashmir a South Asian replica of Palestine, where the indigenous people will be forcefully evicted from their houses and land to make room for the upper-caste elite migrants who will fill the BJP’s coffer in the coming years with votes and money. No wonder, the BJP and the RSS always draw aspiration from the Zionist Israeli terrorists and want to implement the reactionary murderous policies in Kashmir as well.
The PDP, as the principal partner of the former ruling coalition, endorsed the violent crackdown and killing of adults and children alike by the Indian state. In its lust and greed for power, Mehbooba Mufti’s party supported the most brutal tortures, extra-judicial killings, pellet-firing and indiscriminate firing at agitators on the streets. Under the nose of Mehbooba Mufti, thousands of funeral rallies took place, where young men, women and children were carried to their graves. Thousands of Kashmiris were maimed by the pellets, the sign of Indian colonisation that they have to bear all their lives. The Kashmiri people now despise the PDP more than any other pro-India parties, even more than the National Conference that bootlicked Indian authorities since decades. Despite all attempts by Mehbooba Mufti now to put the blame of the violence on the BJP, the PDP can’t ever wash the blood stains on its sleeve, the blood of Kashmiris slaughtered under its conscious watch for three years.
When the state-sponsored violence in Kashmir reached its peak, especially since 2017, the UN Human Rights Commission took a note of the bloodbath and criticised the Indian rule on Kashmir on accounts of gross human rights violation by the state instruments of repression like the army and the paramilitary. The Indian government rejected the non-binding report, however, the people of Kashmir fully utilised the opportunity to highlight their plight, even when the report came from a highly dubious and prejudiced body that had countries like Saudi Arabia, which has no connection with human rights, as its head. Alike the Zionist Israel, the Indian state ruled by Narendra Modi and his Hindutva fascist coterie masked the report from public view by creating theatrics to divert attention. One of the victims of this diversion tactics was a staunch critic and a straightforward journalist of Kashmir, Shujaat Bukhari.
After Shujaat Bukhari, the former editor-in-chief of Rising Kashmir, wrote about the UN report on 14 June afternoon, he was shot dead by unknown assailants the same evening outside his office in Press Enclave, one of the most fortified zones of downtown Srinagar. Though almost all militant organisations and the umbrella organisation of militants – the United Jihad Council, condemned the act as a cowardly and ghastly act during the Muslim holy month of Ramzan, the RSS-led Hindutva camp, its socio-political influencers and the Indian mainstream corporate media started blaming the militants for the murder without any substantial evidence.
Shujaat Bukhari, in one of his last writings, wrote about the Ramzan Ceasefire declared by the Modi government in the valley and tipped about a cleavage appearing between the PDP and the BJP, as the latter turned dominant and aggressive over the question of Kashmir due to the forthcoming 2019 general election. Shujaat Bukhari thought that the ceasefire might bring normalcy in the valley, but it didn’t. The counter-militancy operations continued in the state, killing local militants; even a 13-year-old boy and another youth were killed a day after Shujaat Bukhari was murdered. To withdraw the ceasefire, which Mehbooba Mufti wanted to continue in order to safeguard her rule and political future in the state, the Indian government used the death of Shujaat Bukhari as an excuse, which the late editor would have vehemently opposed if he had survived the attack.
For the Modi regime and the RSS, the withdrawal of the farcical ceasefire was imperative to trigger a hyper-chauvinistic campaign before the run-up to the assembly elections in three states and the 2019 general election. The ceasefire announced by the Modi regime during the Muslim holy month of Ramzan was a tactic to show its hardcore Hindutva-incensed vote bank and the swindling upper-caste Hindu voters that the Kashmir problem needs an iron-fist approach because even ceasefire deals are not working and hence, the government must intensify state terror on the common people. PDP was naturally wary about the situation getting out of its own hand and losing its ground to the separatist Hurriyat Conference and the militants forever. This forced the opportunist Mehbooba Mufti to raise her opposition to the idea of lifting the ceasefire. Though meekly, still, Mehbooba Mufti kept demanding the prolonging of the ceasefire, much to the dislike of Ram Madhav, Rajnath Singh and other Hindutva stalwarts.
As the RSS headquarters was looking for a solid opportunity after the Asifa Bano rape case fiasco to break its alliance with the PDP, the occasion of Mehbooba Mufti’s advocacy for prolonging the ceasefire gave the saffron camp that moment of WOW. The time was carefully chosen by Ram Madhav so that it coincides with the end of the tenure of Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra, who is presiding over the state on behalf of New Delhi since 2008. By grasping the opportunity offered by the utmost chaotic situation, the RSS will push for any of its hardcore leaders with a military service background to the top post of Jammu and Kashmir. Most of the eminence grise that the RSS has reared in TV debate shows have walked up with their CVs to get a chance to rule Kashmir and enjoy the fat perks.
Governor NN Vohra has chosen two staunch reactionary bureaucrats as his top advisors. Chhattisgarh cadre IAS officer BVR Subrahmanyam and K Vijay Kumar, a former IPS officer who played a key role in several cold-blooded murders of Maoist activists and innocent tribals during his stint as counter-insurgency head, are going to advise NN Vohra on how to use the Central Paramilitary Forces (CPMF) and the Jammu and Kashmir Police to execute large-scale massacres in Kashmir. The present situation of Kashmir can only be compared with the rule of Jagmohan during 1989-90.
The RSS-controlled regime has started peddling fake stories about the presence of Islamist terrorist organisation ISIS in the valley by showing planted flags and banners as a proof. The Indian military establishment is using the Indian mainstream media to spread the propaganda over ISIS presence to garner support for a large-scale violent crackdown on the Kashmiri people. Fake encounters and killings are taking place every day but the people of Kashmir are not giving up despite all hardships. As more days will pass, the RSS campaign and the malicious propaganda by the corporate media will heighten to legitimise the gory atrocities that the Indian ruling classes want to carry out in Kashmir.
It’s evident that the Kashmiri people alone have to fight their struggle for self-determination, however, unless they receive the solidarity boost and support from the poor of India, the working class, the farmers and the toiled people, along with the poor people of the world struggling against the tyranny of imperialism and corporate-sponsored terrorism on lives and livelihood of people, their struggle will not reach its destination of success. The Kashmiri cause needs a non-chauvinist and realist explanation among the poor of India, which only the progressive and revolutionary left forces can do. Though there are several organisations and individuals vocal about the cause of Kashmir in India, however, they are quite isolated from the basic masses. This isolation doesn’t allow them to air their views to those people whose support is very imperative for the people of Kashmir in their fight against the common enemy – Hindutva fascism and the Indian reactionary ruling classes.
When the RSS and the Modi regime is going to dip Kashmir in a pool of blood to amplify its trademark jingoistic fervour in India and win elections, it becomes imperative for the progressive and democratic forces of India to support the Kashmiri people in their struggle against the Modi regime. Therefore, the Indian democratic, anti-fascist and progressive forces must align with the Kashmiri people by recognising their inherent right to self-determination and support their struggle by building up huge anti-fascist and anti-imperialist struggles of the working class and the peasantry in India to bring an end to the tyranny of the Modi regime. Unless the fascist regime in New Delhi is defeated the fascist rule in Kashmir will see no end. For a democratic, free and prosperous Kashmir, a free, democratic, secular and socialist India is a precondition, a goal towards which all democratic and progressive forces must expedite their journey.
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