The world watched in horror as the world’s largest democracy imprisoned its own population and curtailed their right to self-determination when a curfew was imposed in the valley of Jammu and Kashmir. The wave of jingoism won over humanity and the feeling of hypernationalism triumphed over the democratic values.
Article 370 of Indian Constitution that granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir for well over six decades was abrogated by the government without paying much heed to the constitutional norms.
The elected leaders of J&K Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti were put under house arrest overnight while the Indian government wrote a new chapter in the history of Jammu and Kashmir. There was a total blackout in the media and the opposition leaders like Rahul Gandhi and his delegation were detained at the airport and sent back from Kashmir.
The Kashmiri bureaucrat Shah Faesal, who decided to pursue politics and become the voice of the voiceless Kashmiris, was also arrested. Shah Faesal is a Fulbright scholar at Harvard University and numerous academics from Harvard University have written to Indian government to release Shah Faesal from captivity. This move by the government has affected India’s goodwill on an international level.
For over 24 days, Kashmir is under a total blackout completely cut-off from the outside world while Indian media is trying to portray that everything is “normal” there. The curfew has had an adverse impact on the daily life of an average Kashmiri where basic necessities like food and medicine are not reaching those in need.
As per many braveheart journalists who were able to somehow report from ground zero, Indian forces are threatening rape and murder of any and every subversive voice. The freedom of speech of a common man is curtailed and political leaders have lost their legitimacy.
There was a time when India stood tall against British Colonialism, there was a time when India adopted Non-Alignment Policy during World War to avoid association with any form of bloodshed, there was a time when India adopted secularism and democracy, but today’s India has abandoned all these principles and moved towards a darker scenario. Today’s India imprisons its own citizens and robs them of basic rights.
Hospitals in Jammu and Kashmir are running out of medicine and when a doctor on duty attempted to turn the country’s attention towards this anomaly, he was removed from his position; such is the nature of this inhumane treatment of innocent Kashmiri citizens.
Kashmir is an integral part of India might be a constitutional truth but what is a place without its people? A mere shaded region on the political map. If Kashmir is an integral part of India then Kashmiris must be embraced as India’s own people, and as humans first. People are unable to reach their relatives living in the valley, a woman got to know about his father’s death two days after his demise.
US President Donald Trump has given up his offer to mediate between India and Pakistan after PM Modi called it a bilateral issue between the two countries. This move by the Modi government has further escalated military tension between India and Pakistan though UN Chief has urged both the countries to avoid escalation as it will only result in an internecine war. A war is won by an army, but lost by humanity therefore India must take steps to ensure no war results in the bloodshed of innocence.
A group of seven people including Jammu and Kashmir politician Shah Faesal and social activist Shehla Rashid have moved the Supreme Court against the undemocratic way Article 370 has been abrogated. It remains for the judiciary to see whether it suits the largest democracy of the world to clampdown on its own citizens. But until then should the lives, businesses, liberty of Kashmiris remain under lockdown?