On August 5th, 2019, the Indian government issued a Presidential Order to abolish Article 370, which is a constitutional provision granting Jammu and Kashmir special status. Its abrogation, without any bilateral discussion is an extremely aggressive action. The Indian government expressed that this step was the first of the “Kashmir Solution”, while on the other hand even the Indian Congress has challenged the decision and it has been taken up in the Indian Supreme Court. This shows that even their own elected members and judiciary believe that the action is unlawful.

How is it a “solution” when a government sends in thousands of troops in addition to the 800,000 already present? It is not a solution when one of the most watched television anchors in India, Arnab Ghoswami, states on national media that they are ready for thousands to die as “collateral damage”. It is not a solution when people in positions of power decide that the Kashmiri people are collateral damage. It is definitely not a solution when they are denied their right to self-determination. It is an occupation. India is not a government in Kashmir; it is a dictator.

Pakistan has condemned and rejected the decision on various platforms and the United Nations (UN) has issued a statement saying that both sides should practice restraint and recall all their bilateral agreements on the matter. Pakistan has also gone as far as cutting off any and all bilateral relations with India; also asking the Indian High Commissioner to return immediately. We have also decided to take the case up with the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Director General InterServices Public Relations (DGISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor has also issued a statement saying that we are ready to go to any extent for Kashmir. However, spokespersons for the government have said that we will look for a political and diplomatic solution first.

In addition to Kashmir, other states in India like Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Sikkim and Mizoram also have special status under Article 371, by which outsiders are debarred from settling here. Why was Kashmir having a similar status an issue? Does the sanctity of the Kashmiri people’s land not matter?

India has always claimed to be a secular state. However, their anti-muslim agenda is obvious in their recent activities, with anti-muslim rallies being hosted by members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as well as members of the Lok Sabha openly making statements to provke violence against muslim citizens in India.

It is important to openly and clearly recognize the Indian government’s racist ideology. It is important to call it what it is; which is ethinic and religious violence to gain the supremacy of one religion over the other. It is most significant to recognize that the Kashmir issue is more than just about a victory for Pakistan or India. It is about listening to the Kashmiri people and granting them their rights.

As the Pakistan Ambassador to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi has stated that this issue is about a people have been denied the right to live how they want and be governed how they want.

Among the many questions the Indian government needs to answer is that if this action was in the best interest of the Kashmiri people, as the Indian spokespeople have said, then why the blanket curfew? Why imprison citizens and leaders in their own homes? The answer is simple. It is because they know that no Kashmiri, regardless of which side they are on, would support this illegitimate occupation bordering on dictatorship.

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