7 August 2019   Leave a comment

The situation in Kashmir continues to be unsettled. The moves by the Indian government has opened the door to what Kashmiris believe could be a demographic catastrophe. Writing in The Intercept, Murtaza Hussain explains:

“Modi has repeatedly promised to take such a step despite the likely backlash from Kashmiris, most of whom either nurse separatist sentiments or wish to maintain autonomy from the rest of India. A particular clause of that law, known as article 35A, gives the Kashmiri government the ability to determine who is a permanent resident of the state. The revocation of both 370 and 35A opens the door to India’s population of 1.2 billion to begin moving into Kashmir en masse, a development likely to dangerously escalate a conflict that is at its core over territorial control.

“’For Kashmiris, it was the last thing they were holding onto before a complete and utter ethnic cleansing could take place,’ wrote Hafsa Kanjwal, an assistant professor of South Asian history at Lafayette College, in a Facebook post about the revocation of article 35A. ‘But this has changed now. The worst nightmare that Kashmiris could have imagined in their already existing nightmare can take place now. Indians can buy property and land in Kashmir, and drive out the local population.’”

The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, describes the move as one of ethnic cleansing.

“Mr Khan said he thought the removal of special status would allow India to change the demographic make-up of the Muslim-majority state.

“‘I am afraid that [India] will now carry out ethnic cleansing in Kashmir,’ he said.

“‘They will try to remove the local people and bring in others and make them a majority, so that the locals become nothing but slaves.'”

Nitish Pahwa provides the background to the hostilities and why it has proven to be so intractable. Kashmir is simply another example of how European imperialism destroyed the integrity of the peoples of South Asia.

“While India was part of the British Empire, Jammu and Kashmir was one of the many princely states that made up the colonial territory, this one presided over by Maharajah Hari Singh. As India’s independence from Britain—and the ensuing partition—was being planned in 1947, Singh, a Hindu ruler of a Muslim-majority state, initially desired that the Jammu and Kashmir become an independent neutral region between India and the new nation of Pakistan. However, an uprising in the state’s western region, aided by Pakistani raiders and primarily targeting Singh, forced him to cede sovereignty to India in exchange for military aid. This led to India and Pakistan’s first major war—although the two countries had already been locked in bitter conflict since gaining their freedom. While Pakistani forces were successful in taking the western and northern areas of Kashmir, India was able to hold the majority of the princely state, including the areas of the Kashmir Valley, Jammu, and Ladakh. The Pakistani region of Kashmir was then recognized as ‘Pakistan-administered Kashmir,’ while India’s territory retained the name Jammu and Kashmir.”

The Indian decision brings the world back to 1947, except that now both India and Pakistan are nuclear-armed states, which are inching closer to war.

Posted August 7, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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