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RSS-BJP’s IIOJK Doctrine: Narrative Fabrication & Economic Deprivation

Khalid Iqbal

The underlying cause of the Kashmir conflict is neither a territorial dispute nor a law-and-order concern. The core issue is the granting of the right of self-determination to the people of Kashmir as stipulated in various UN resolutions.Notwithstanding this, during the eight years of RSS-BJPruleover India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s regime has kept Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) under military siege and is hell-bent on crushing the Kashmiri people’s desire for the right to self-determination through the use of brute military force and cruel bureaucratic machinations.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s and Bharatiya Janata Party’s (RSS-BJP) Kashmir policy rests of four pillars:  narrative fabrication to give a false impression of normalcy; demeaning the peaceful struggle of Kashmiri people by portraying it as a terrorist enterprise;politico-economic deprivation of Kashmiri Muslims; transforming the demographic map of IIOJK; and demoralising Kashmiri Muslims through never ending physical and mental torture. Modi-led fascist Indian regime is in an over-drive mode to distort the truth and twist the facts to promote deceitful RSS narrative on Kashmir. It is crafting false impression of huge investment and development to justify its illegal actions of August 05, 2019, which led to annexation of the illegally occupied State of Jammu and Kashmir.

Going beyond rhetoric, India is perpetrating systemic economic repression in IIOJK through remapping its socioeconomic order by formalizing inter-faith hatred as State policy. Leading Indian newspaper, The Hindu quoted Rahul Gandhi on December 24: “…hatred is hurting our country…”The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Bharatiya Janata Party are spreading fear among people and using hate as a weapon to divert attention from ‘actual’ issues”’ He claimed that while walking hundreds of kilometres from Kanyakumari to Delhi, “I did not see any violence or hate during the Yatra, but when I watch the TV (news), all I see [is] violence and hatred,” said Rahul Gandhi during  Bharat Jodo Yatra (Unite India Procession).

The silver lining is that the international community is not oblivious to Modi’s machinations.Periodic statements by the Secretary Generals of the United Nations (UN) and the Organization of Islamic Countries bespeak about the empathy of international community towards pain and agony of Kashmiri Muslims, even though these entities may be helpless with regard to settling the Kashmir dispute.

On November 28, celebrated Israeli film director surprised audience during his speech at the closing ceremony of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa by criticizing the festival for including controversial Hindi-language movie “The Kashmir Files” in competition. While praising the quality of most of the 15 films in competition, Lapid said on behalf of the jury: “We were all of us disturbed and shocked by the 15th film, “The Kashmir Files”, that felt to us like a propaganda, vulgar movie inappropriate for an artistic competitive section of such a prestigious film festival.” He continued: “I feel totally comfortable to share openly these feelings here with you on stage since the spirit of the festival can truly accept also a critical discussion, which is essential for art and for life.” Released in India in March, 2022, the film has stirred up anti-Muslim sentiments, with audiences erupting in hate speeches and calling for the slaughter of Muslims and boycott of Muslim businesses. Nadav Lapid made his remarks in the presence of several Indian government ministers, as the festival was a government-organised event, funded by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting. Three other IFFI jurors said that they stand by Lapid’s views. The winner of British Academy of Film and Television Arts award, Jinko Gotoh, who was part of the five-member jury for the IFFI, has said that she and two of her fellow jurors stand by the statement made by jury chairperson, Nadav Lapid. “And to clarify we were not taking a political stance on the film’s content. We were making an artistic statement, and it saddens us greatly to see the festival platform being used for politics and subsequent personal attacks on Nadav. That was never the intention of the jury.”All of a sudden, the film that induced slogans and a threatening atmosphere in cinemas is back in the news, and not in a complimentary way.The Singapore government banned “The Kashmir Files” in May due to its “potential to cause enmity between different communities”.Lapid has reminded India that the global film community expects that India, as the largest producer of films, will adhere to certain minimum standards and not push forward a mediocre and “vulgar” film. India needs to thank him for that.Many people from the Opposition parties in India have praised the jury head’s remarks. The Congress party has termed Lapid’s remarks as an “embarrassment” for the Modi government, saying that hate eventually gets called out. ‘The Kashmir Files’ was praised by Modi and Hindutva followers while it was flagged by critics and Muslim groups for its hatred towards Muslims.

And to financially disempower Kashmiris permanently, during the third week of December, the J&K government has notified fresh land rules captioned“J&K Land Grant Rules-2022” replacing the “J&K Land Grants Rules-1960”. Local land holders see the move as one which has opened the gateway “to outsiders to buy prime properties in J&K”. According to the new land laws, the current leases of land will not be extended on expiry. And the lease term has been reduced from 99 to 40 years. The government has asked the outgoing lease holders to evict properties or else face evictions under the new rules. The current land holders have termed these rules “exclusive to J&K” where outgoing lessee’s the first right to renew the lease by renegotiating the lease ratewith the lessor has been sequestered.Indian occupation authorities in IIOJK are sealing the properties owned by Muslim Kashmiris including endowments of educational andhealthcare welfare institutions offering free/subsidized facilities to disadvantaged people. Confiscation such properties is taking placeat a fast pace. The sole aim is to constrict fiscal space for the Muslim majority, and to convert IIOJK into aHindu dominatedeconomyzone.

KashmiriMuslims of IIOJK are being decapitated comprehensively.Torturingthem physically as well as psychologically, with impunity, is part of the evolving political culture. Recently concluded unfair delimitation of constituencies has resulted in reducing the Muslim representation and enhancing the Hindu representation, at all tiers of public representative bodies–—disproportionate to their respective population.In parallel, the campaign to change the demographic composition is going on relentlessly. And numerous barriers are being put in place in the way of economic actualization of IIOJK Muslims.

The UN is duty-bound to intervene for arresting and correcting the situation. It is time for the UNSC to take notice of these blatant violations of its Charter by India, leading to a perpetually simmering Human Rights situation in IIOJK,and that too, by a county that aspires to gate-crash the UNSC as its veto empowered member.Above all, the UNSCalso needs to play its role for settling the lingering Kashmir dispute in accordance with the aspirations of the Kashmiri people as guaranteed bythe Security Council resolutions.

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