The death of democracy in Kashmir

By Muneeb Malik. Dated: 10/14/2019 12:25:28 AM

Political philosophers, scientist, theorists and analysts took years and years of speculation and contemplation to come to the conclusion that democracy is the most sacred among all forms of government.
This generation born in the most militarised zone in the world that is Kashmir may have not seen the end of the war but has surely seen the end of democracy. The trends and issues in the Indian politics have varied and changed over the years. Amidst the ups and downs of the Dravidian movement, Khalistan movement, various other secessionist and autonomous movements what has remained constant is the issue of Jammu and Kashmir.
I would like to focus on the recent trend in Indian politics which is the abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian constitution that provided special status to Jammu and Kashmir. The dispute of Kashmir is not new but what has happened a few weeks back is heartbreaking for anyone who believes in Indian constitution, specifically democracy. On 5th of August 2019, Parliament of India revoked Articles 370 and 35A without considering it necessary to discuss the issue with the people of the erstwhile state and the mainstream political parties.
Moreover the Indian state ignored the rational arguments, aspirations, sentiments of the people and authoritatively abrogated the articles using the might of the state. The people of India claim it to be the "true Azadi" by confining the people of Jammu and Kashmir to their homes as if the Indian state and people are afraid of Kashmiris celebrating in their own way this "new Azadi". Are they afraid of the insurrection of resistance? People in the Valley mostly view the scrapping of state's special status as death of democracy because with that has come a regime that is inimical to freedom of thought, opinion and written expression.
For instance, the journalists, news reporters have no access to grass root information in the valley and all they know is through the sources of military and administration that stands totally in opposition to the truth. Freedom of expression is the most basic tenet of a well-functioning democracy. Moreover as a matter of fact only ten out of approximately hundred newspapers are functioning in Kashmir and that too are kept under surveillance. Police have concealed the details and numerical figure of total detainees. The proof to this argument is the recent concern shown by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi regarding people directly approaching their grievances to the apex court of India and not to the High Court. This shows that people have no access to the institutions of the State which is a complete breakdown of democratic institutions and is highly condemnable.
In this century where people of the torn apart nations of Middle East are raising demands for democracy and repudiating any and every type of authoritative and military regimes, the people of Jammu and Kashmir are being deprivved of the democracy that was provided to them by the founding fathers of the Indian constitution. Ironically, the people of India mock the people of Pakistan for their military influence and military coup, whereas they support the rule of military in Jammu and Kashmir. Has the value laden politics withered away with the assassination of Gandhi?
Another question that pops up every now and then is: Was Jinnah right? Because what I see is the revival of two-nation theory but this time in India. Every event, incident, action bears the intention of the doer on the religious lines - be electoral politics, presentation and enactments of bills into laws or the speeches of the ruling party.

 

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