“Says renaming every landmark, removing all signs of Muslim identity, changing language and culture, rebranding of demogrpahics, is a deliberate attempt to calibrate new ground realities”
Altaf Hamid Rao
Islamabad/ MIRPUR (AJK), (Parliament Times) : Chairman Kashmir Institute of International Relations (KIIR) Mr. Altaf Hussain Wani has presented his research paper on “Impact of Hindutva on Kashmir” at an international conference hosted by the Department of International Relations- National Defence University (NDU) here on Wednesday.
Highlighting the key elements of the research paper, the KIIR chief said that the rise of Hindutva mindset and the aggressive pursuit of hardline Hindu agenda by the RSS and BJP had actually led to the forced and illegal integration of Kashmir in 2019, which, he said, was rightly censored as an act of colonization.
“Amid the rising trend of Hindu nationalism, the BJP government remorselessly continued to capitalizing on anti-Muslim sentiment to push forward its vicious agenda in Kashmir”, Wani said.
Terming the change in the status of the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir as yet another manifestation of the Hindutva ideology Wani said that changing forever the political nature of the Kashmir dispute through demographic changes, political manoeuvrings and administrative machinations has been the sole agenda of the fascist regime led by Naredar Modi. “Kashmir since 1947 has been on the target list of the Hindu extremist groups; article 370 under which the state enjoyed “special status” has been the greatest eye-sore for them and the BJP considered it as the main obstacle in the complete merger of disputed territory into Indian Union”, Wani said.
“It is with this intention and mindset that the BJP incorporated abrogation of the Article as part of its party manifesto for the 2014 general elections”, he said.
Referring to BJP’s role in institutionalization of the Hindutva ideology he said, “There is no doubt that Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was the man who introduced the idea as a rule but the BJP, which is the political face of Hindu fundamentalists in India, is wholly responsible for institutionalization of this toxic ideology. “It is this RSS influenced regime that actually brought Hindutva to the centre of politics”, Wani said adding that it took nearly 70 years for BJP to implement RSS’s core agenda in Kashmir.
Elaborating on the main ideas behind the suspension of article 370 and 35-A, he said, “The main motive behind the forced integration of the state was to strengthen India’s grip over the territory, taking advantage of state resources and denying its people the right to self-determination promised to them by the international community.
About the terrible impacts of Hindutva on Kashmir he pointed out that the BJP and RSS leaders’ wish of a Hindu Rashtra has left no facet of life unaffected in Kashmir. “Caging people en masse in their houses, arbitrary arrests and imprisonment of political activists and leaders, ruthless suppression of dissent, inhuman siege and information blockade, suspension of essential fundamental freedoms, propagation of violence, incitement of religious hatred and demographic rebranding in IOK are the obvious manifestations of right-wing extremism that pose a serious existential threat to Kashmiris”, he said.
He said that the ongoing social, cultural and religious onslaught against Kashmiris was another disturbing aspect of the Hindu nationalism was the saffronisation of the Kashmiri society.
“The Saffronisation of Jammu and Kashmir is the most worrisome aspect of Hindutva that seeks to dismantle each and everything that symbolizes Kashmiri ethos and culture, the history and its distinctive identity”, the KIIR chief said.
“Renaming every landmark in Jammu and Kashmir, removing all signs of Islamic and Muslim identity, rewriting the history and changing language and culture is a deliberate attempt to calibrate new ground realities in the occupied Jammu and Kashmir”, the KIIR chairman said adding that all these changes were part of the BJP’s grand conspiracy to dissociate Kashmiri masses from their religion, history, ethos and culture. “It is a malicious attempt of Indianization of the region having far reaching socio-political ramifications”, he said.
“The plan to build over 50,000 temples in the Kashmir valley and identification of new sites for Hindu pilgrims are seen in the context of the BJP’s expansionistic designs to change the region’s Muslim identity”, he said.
“It seems a well thought out plan to reshape the religious landscape of the area and any such exercise is bound to trigger communal violence that would further vitiate the interfaith harmony in the region”, he warned.