India, known as one of the largest democracies in the world has been depriving oppressed Kashmiris from their legal and basic human rights since 1947. The present Fascist Modi regime has been committing war crimes, and human rights violations in Kashmir and deployed thousands of troops to suppress freedom movements, making it the world’s most militarized zone. The unlawful and unconstitutional acts by BJP on 5th August 2019 to abrogate article 370 and 35A was not an instinctive policy of the government. In fact, it was a preplanned strategy also used as a tool in the election campaigns of the BJP in 2019 to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir which will help in diluting the unique culture of Kashmiris and alienating the communities by eroding Kashmir’s culture, history, and language.
Historically it was witnessed that whenever there were wars among tribes or states, the conqueror used to burn the libraries, destroy the arts, replace the language, and demolish the religious and cultural symbols of annexed territory so the next generation losses affiliation with the state. This strategy is still used in conflicted places in modern times. Like the way Taliban destroyed statues of Buddha of Bamiyan from the 6th century and Assad’s Regime destroyed the culturally rich Apello site in Syria showed that targeting once’s culture and history has persisted in modern times as well. For societies to exists, prosper, and succeed it is the identity and culture which gives them a sense of belonging and unite them for their common cause.
Kashmir’s unique culture and identity separate it from India. But with the BJP’s latest political moves, its special status is invalid, and its identity is under threat. Prior to the article’s revocation, 35A denied citizenship and property rights to non-Kashmiris. Kashmiris in the valley was the only state subjects who can buy land and do business as the citizens of the valley. But now the Indian government has introduced new domicile law which is granting citizenship to non-Kashmiris and within a day after the new law was passed, 18 lac people qualified for state subjects of J and K. Moreover, the government also passed 200 new laws, particularly to change the demographics of the valley so that its homogenous culture can be diluted, and Kashmiris become second-class citizens in their own homeland. In addition, various resolutions have been presented to change the names of the roads, cities, universities, and airports. Previously the names of the High courts of the valley were Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. But now it has been changed to the High court of Kashmir and High court of Jammu, the same as Indian courts. Moreover, the Jammu airport will be named as Maharaja Hari Singh Jammu Airport. Similarly, Jammu university will be named after Maharaja Hari Singh. The chowks in Jammu city are now named as Bharat Mata chowk and Atal Bihari Vajpayee chowk. The government is delimiting the assembly segment as well. The ratio of Hindus is more as compared to Kashmiris. Moreover, BJP has granted legal rights to the Indian army to declare any place strategic and take any measures necessary to secure that place.
In education sector the government has shut down school’s like Falah e Aam associated with Islamic education and run by Islamic organizations. In remaining madrassa and schools teaching of Hindi and Sanskrit along with Indian history has been introduced . The government has also banned Muslims teachers and teaching of Islamic books. In addition, the quotas and reserved seats have been removed. Kashmiri students had to compete with Indian students in colleges and schools despite the existence of unequal education opportunities. Furthermore, India is also rewriting the history of Kashmir to influence the next generation with biased writings. Along with that India has used its film industry to spread hatred against Muslims and shaped the opinion of people about Kashmiris. In March, Bollywood released The Kashmir files on the massacre of Pundit and Brahmans in Kashmir valley by Militants in the 1990s. After its release, there was a wave of hatred among Hindus against Muslims.
The cultural exploitation intensifies in Kashmir as the government has announced the building of 50,000 temples which will attract a huge number of Hindus. Thus, the religious landscape of the territory will get changed. Moreover, it has also given legal permission to 67 liquor shops to open in Kashmir despite knowing that majority of the valley’s population is Muslim. Similarly, India has restricted Kashmiris to offer EID prayers and perform their religious rituals. First, it kept on using Covid-19 as a tool to restrict it but now it has become a new normal. The flag of Jammu and Kashmir has lost its official status and the official language of Kashmir is replaced from Urdu to Hindi.
Thus, in Jammu and Kashmir outsiders are invading the valley. In the long run, there will be heterogeneous and mixed cultures in Kashmir. The next generation will be influenced by their surroundings and adopt what they will observe. So, it’s a cunning strategy of India’s extremist regime BJP to rob the people of their culture, history, and identity to suppress the voice of Kashmiris eventually.
Ayesha Sharif is a Student of International Relations at National Defence University, Islamabad.
The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Defense Insight.