Many across the length and breadth of India have watched with horror and shock the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution of India by a series of executive orders signed by the President on August 5, 2019. This was preceded by a warlike mobilization of security forces, lock down of the entire Kashmir valley, house arrests of all the political leadership of Kashmir.
The population of India has once again been subjected to the `shock and awe’ tactics of India’s ruling circles, who today have sought to rule through the Parliamentary path of a Government that has over two-thirds majority in the Lok Sabha. Much has been said and written about the special status of Kashmir. The point that is being thrown to the winds is that the Indian Union that came into being first in 1947 is a conglomeration of nations that have come into being over millennia, which perforce have been united by the arrangements after the departure of the British colonialists and which followed the brutal partition of the land, especially of some of its constituent nations.
The last seven decades have shown that many of the problems of this history do not simply go away because of the history. The status of Kashmir, which is one of the three divided provinces has been a sticking point between the two warring parties both of which claim that nation for themselves, and has been an internationally disputed issue. That said, the main victims were, are and will be the people of Kashmir. By deliberately lumping the problems of Kashmir with those of Jammu and Ladakh the Indian ruling circles have, as always, thrown dust into the eyes of the Indian people. Their highly undemocratic act is basically supported by the simple principle of `might is right’. There has been no matter or principle here, except the claim that Kashmir is ours and let us see what anyone can do about it. It is also impossible that this act could have come without some kind of secret dealings between India and many of the imperial powers that have always in the past clashed in this region. This includes the Anglo-American bloc, the European Union, Russia and China, and of course Pakistan.
The present events represent a temporary setback for Pakistan. The main conflict brewing in this region is the possible pull-out of Afghanistan by the US, and its new focus on Iran as the target of its imperialist designs. Russia and China also continue to be alarmed at the events. Whereas Russia has supported the actions of India, China has been less forthcoming in its praise. It would not be possible to understand the events of August 5 without taking into account this matrix of power relations.
The entire situation has been inflamed by this tyrannical act with members of the Cabinet including the Defence Minister openly saying that India may not stay faithful to the `no first use’ principle with respect to nuclear weapons. This kind of sabre rattling bears ominous portent for all the people of the region, including, of course the people of India themselves.
The main signal that is being sent is that the Indian ruling circles will stop at nothing to maintain their hegemony over the Indian landmass and its environs no matter what the human or economic cost is. At the same time the Parliament has passed more draconian laws than ever before, including the amendment of the horrifying UAPA, which requires a person who has been detained to prove that he or she is not a terrorist. This flies in the face of all established practice of law and is a serious threat to the health of the entire body politic of India.
The present scenario is one in which Indian ruling class beset by economic crisis is looking for a way to wriggle out of its conundrum, by creating both external and internal emergencies. Given all the above, it is important that all the people of India condemn wholeheartedly the Abrogation of Article 370 and campaign for a just solution to the problems of the people of Kashmir and of India.