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Modi’s India — Repercussions for minorities and Kashmir

Zeeshan Zia Abbasi,

India — a delicately woven fabric of numerous ethnicities — happens to be the talk of town now-a-days
because of its elections — the largest democracy in the world. But surprisingly, what took the world by
storm was the landslide conquest of the Indian constituencies by NDA. Where a Hindu nationalist party
BJP single handedly secured 303 seats in India— out of 352 by NDA. However, BJP’s colossal victory and
its Hindutva ideology has also spun webs of skeptic views regarding the fate of minorities in Modi’s
India. Is it a good omen for Indian minorities and above all Kashmiris? BJP’s Hindutva ideology can turn
out to be an impetus for a multi-ethnic country towards chaos — a country filled with abomination —
unless Modi rises above his cherished Hindutva ideology and tries to consolidate minorities.
Comprehensively triumphed Modi, in a victory speech reiterated banal slogans — blatant lies in nature
— about the rights of minorities, winning their support and advised the incumbent MPAs and MNAs to
refrain from igniting any unnecessary inferno of hate against minorities.
However, such decency was shoved under the rug during election campaigns. Obsessed with Hindutva
ideology, BJP members — better to say hate-mongers — capitalized on every moment where they could
expose their disgust towards minorities — especially Muslims — in order to appease and lure the
masses away from secularism to communalism. And there, majority of the nation fell under the
enchantment of Hindu nationalism.
As per NDTV data collection exercise, almost 500% increase in use of hate by some prominent politicians
has been observed in the past four years. In UPA’s regime 2009-2014, 21 cases of hate by 21 politicians
emerged. On the contrary, 124 instances of hate occurred in 2014-2018. Even in UPA’s regime, BJP’s
share in hate speeches was 86% which rose to sky rocketing 90% in their own regime — 2014-2018.
Some of these incidents were really soul shaking, revealing the utmost level of bigotry.
Back in 2016, Anant Kumar Hedge, minister of state for skill development and entrepreneurship said:
“as long as there is Islam in the world, there will be terrorism. Until we uproot Islam, we can’t
remove terrorism.” He went on to say that “Islam is a bomb for world peace”. Another incident took
place in Kodaugu district function, where he stated that “the hand that touches a Hindu woman must
not exist”.
Vikram Saini, BJP’s MLA in Uttar Pradesh said in Muzaffarnagar that “some scatter-brained leaders
made the bearded ones stay, which is why we are in trouble today…had they left, all this land would
have belonged to us.”
Vinay Katiyar, member of Rajya Sabha and founding president of Bajrang Dal from Uttar Pradesh, had
said that “ Muslims have been given their share of land — Pakistan and Bangladesh — they should go
there”. Although, the list contains many more, but one can grasp the idea of animosity prevailing in
India. This hate is not only limited to words but physical violence too.
Modi’s regime is stained with communal conflicts, hatred dispersed by Hindu politicians manifested
itself on various occasions and was translated into ferocious acts of physical violence. Where cow
vigilantes would punish Muslims for consuming beef, where even being a Muslim is a sin, where upper-

caste members of the society would chastise the lower-caste members of the society for highlighting the
issues of caste-based discrimination. Even if we only consider the incidents after BJP’s victory, they
would be enough to substantiate the cruelty towards minorities and lower-caste members in past 5-
years and what could be expected in next 5-years.
Sometimes being a Muslim can turn out to be the biggest nightmare of your life when you are in Modi’s
India. On May 26, a Hindu hardliner — Rajiv Yadav — shot a fire on Mohammad Qasim for just being a
Muslim and asked him to “go to Pakistan”. He was shot in the back and was fortunate enough to flee
before Rajiv Yadav could load another cartridge.
On May 24, three Muslims — two men and one woman — were allegedly attacked by cow vigilantes for
carrying beef in Senoi district. After beating the men, they were forced to hit the woman with slipper
while chanting “jai shri ram”.
Even lower-caste members of the society are treated as “others” in Modi’s India. On May 23, a
complaint was filed in Vadodara district. A Dalit couple — Pravin Makwana and Tarulata Makwana —
accused 200-300 upper-caste members for beating them in their house because of a post on Facebook
about an alleged caste-based discrimination of local authorities, thwarting the Dalits from using the
temples for weddings.
Modi and his aides have unshackled the darkest of emotions; permitting his supporters to hate anyone
but Hindus. So far, all of this fuss and exhibition of hatred and violence has reaped a lot — victory — for
BJP. But if BJP continues to choke minorities, it would result in anarchy, lack of trust and harmony. And
the cost could be very high, because a country with heaps of ethnicities cannot afford to have communal
skirmishes as it weakens the cohesion required from different ethnicities to run the country’s wheel.
Above all, such communal distress would stigmatise India’s stature — aspiring to be the regional
hegemon and major global actor — in International world. Apart from India, Modi and his acolytes have
special plans for Jammu and Kashmir too.
Another aspect of Modi’s Hindutva based multi-faceted campaign was to repeal the Article 370 and 35A
— which enables Jammu and Kashmir to have special status in Indian constitution, giving special
privileges and special rights to Kashmiris. Abrogation of these articles would only result in anarchy and
would be a serious threat not only to the stability of India and Kashmir but to the region too.
BJP or INC, both are the two sides of a coin for Kashmiris. Because they had even suffered under a
secular regime what they can expect from a communal regime. However, A.B Vajpaye expressed a will
to solve the Kashmir issue amicably in Musharraf’s era, but Modi does not intend to fill in his shoes.
Unlike Vajpaye, Modi exercised extreme military measures to choke the freedom movements in
Kashmir. But as we know, resistance becomes inevitable when you are pushed towards the edge. That is
exactly what Burhan Vani and his comrades demonstrated. His killing in 2016 only intensified freedom
fight, young and educated Kashmiris took arms to resist the Indian military. His legacy is carried out by

Kashmiri youth — yearning for freedom and are ready to go for that extra mile even if that includes
armed struggle.
Therefore, if Modi intends to exercise military supremacism or abrogation of Article 370 and 35A in his
second term, it would only intensify the sense of otherness in Kashmiris, enticing them to stick to the
armed struggle. But nothing would come out of this instead of a vicious cycle of violence and chaos.
Modi’s hard-liner approach of pushing Kashmiris to the wall has only compelled them to fight back.
Therefore, he needs to come up with a new harmonious approach towards Jammu and Kashmir.
“A nation tormented by its enemies can rise again but one that crumbles within, that’s dead.” If only
Modi and his acolytes could apprehend the gist of aforementioned quote, things could get better not
only for India but region too. A country aspiring to be the major global actor needs to organise itself
internally, because communal tussles would enfeeble India’s stature internationally. Modi, obviously is
more stronger than before and he can bring harmony among different ethnicities if he rises above his
cherished Hindutva ideology because choking minorities would only result in more radical response. As
far as Kashmir is related, Modi can learn a thing or two from history that Kashmiris have never
succumbed to any harsh approach. Therfore, depriving Kashmiris of their special status would only
exacerbate the current situation of distrust. Instead Modi can amicably resolve issues in Kashmir.
However, it would require a great sense of statesmanship and courage!

(The author is an engineer based in Muzaffarabad Azad Kashmir)

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