‘Rogue’ Modi

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s
reasoning for his attack on Kashmir’s
constitutional status may have fed right
into his Hindu nationalist base, but the
world media seems to be having none of
Mili Mitra, The Washington Post Global
Opinions editor wrote last week that “as
the Modi government places political
leaders under house arrest, risks violence
along the Pakistan border and reneges on
a constitution promise without debate
or deliberation, Indians can no longer
afford to stay silent. The administration is
making India less democratic and stable,
one authoritarian step at a time.”
She writes that Kashmiri Muslims fears
regarding the saffronisation of the state
are warranted based on Modi and his
party’s past practices, and that “flagrant
disregard for democracy and secularism
is not new” for the BJP under Modi and
Amit Shah.
The New York Times marked Indian
Independence Day by publishing a
scathing rebuke of the BJP’s lockdown
of Kashmir, penned by award-winning
Indian author Arundhati Roy.
“…it looks very much as though our
government has gone rogue,” she writes,
by turning “Kashmir into a giant prison
“The passing of the act was welcomed in
Parliament by the very British tradition of
desk-thumping. There was a distinct whiff
of colonialism in the air. The masters were
pleased that a recalcitrant colony had
finally, formally, been brought under the
crown. For its own good. Of course.”

“In the 72 years since [independence],
successive Indian governments have
undermined terms of the Instrument of
Accession until all that was left of it was
the skeletal structure. Now even that has
been shot to hell.”
She also slams India’s refusal to help
displaced Kashmiri Pandits – lest
they lose an important prop for their
propaganda – and the state’s use of
torture on separatists.
Roy had also written that “Like true

colonials, many in India who are so alert
to infringements of their own rights and
liberties, have a completely different
standard for Kashmiris.”
An editorial in The Globe and Mail –
Canada’s most widely read newspaper –
notes that “Modi has parlayed democratic
success into the fist of a strongman.”
It also draws parallels between Kashmir
and Quebec. “Imagine if…Ottawa
had responded to the rise of Quebec
separatism by stripping the government
Vaqas Asghar

in Quebec City of most of its powers,
running the province by force and then…
unilaterally rewriting the Constitution to
end Quebec’s provincial status. Imagine
how well that might have worked out,”
the paper’s editorial says, before noting
that Modi “has taken a big step away from
liberal democracy, and toward illiberal
The Toronto Star editorial opens by
noting that India, which calls itself
the ‘world’s biggest democracy’, “is
heading down a dangerous and decidedly
undemocratic road with its decision to
impose direct rule on Kashmir.”
A gloves-off attack detailing recent Indian
actions in the region follows – curfew,
censorship, troop surge – before noting
that the decision to split the state was
made “without bothering to consult
anyone in Kashmir itself.”
As India’s only Muslim-majority territory,
Kashmir acts as an essential barometer
for the country’s claims to be secular,
tolerant and democratic. And on that
front, the Modi government’s decision
to take unilateral action is decidedly
The Star’s editorial board also questions
the legality of the Indian government’s
abolition of Article 370, while noting
that the assault on Kashmir’s status is
“another sign that India under Modi

is moving further away from its proud
record as a [diverse and secular] country…
instead [being] increasingly inspired by…
Hindutva, essentially the idea that India’s
values and Hindu values are one and the
same.” Britain’s The observer noted that
“This was a very Indian coup, but one with
a global context.”
It adds that “Modi failed to consult
Kashmir’s political leaders, whether
pro-independence or pro-India or the
Kashmiri people. Quite the opposite, in
fact. Political leaders were placed under
house arrest.”
The editorial also mentions how, by
subverting the constitution and ignoring
the Simla Agreement, the UN Charter and
its resolutions, and removing Kashmiris’
right to self-governance, “Modi has placed
himself squarely in the wrong. To argue,
as he does, that Kashmir is solely an
internal matter is to ignore the realities of
70-plus years of strife.”
The paper slams the British foreign
secretary in particular and the US and
EU in general for their “insouciant”
responses. “The US and EU reiterated
their Delhi-appeasing view that Kashmir
is a bilateral, not an international issue.
Britain’s response was feeble. Dominic
Raab… “meekly thanked India for a ‘clear
readout of the situation’.” It slams the
world powers by saying, “Not a word of
public criticism of Modi’s high-handed

behaviour. Not a thought, apparently,
for the dire implications for the UN’s
authority, international law and the
so-called rules-based global order. Not
an iota of understanding that India’s
enhanced military occupation may revive
a conflict that weaponises religion,
race and identity in place of democratic
dialogue and inclusion.”
The observer editorial goes on to say, “In
this harsh, ugly world, Modi the hardline
Hindu nationalist and his Muslim-baiting
BJP colleagues are a good fit.”
Writing for the BBC, academic Sumantra
Bose notes that in 2002, long before the
rise of Modi, “the Rashtriya Swayamsevak
Sangh (RSS), the core organisation of the
Hindu nationalist movement, demanded
the state be divided into three parts.” Of
the move, the author writes, “In the sheer
radicalism of their approach, they may
have bitten off more than they can chew.
The Kashmir gambit may help the BJP’s
prospects in elections in a few Indian
states in October, and it may temporarily
deflect attention from India’s faltering
economy. But its radicalism may have
reinvigorated the Kashmir conflict
in a way the dynamic duo (Modi and
Shah) will find difficult to manage going
Meanwhile, in a story titled “Did BBC,
Al Jazeera, Reuters fabricate reports of
unrest in Kashmir?”, Indian fact-checking
website Alt Newsbrilliantly rubbishes
the claims of India’s government and its
‘independent’ propaganda media that
footage of unrest and violence against
protesters was fabricated with point
by point provision of proof to back up
the authenticity of the footage. The
story notes the Indian government’s
backtracking on its claims after being
proven to be in the wrong.
Clearly, while the world media is well
aware of India’s abusive actions in
Kashmir, the world’s leaders, it seems,
are more concerned with the massive
Indian market than any semblance of
human rights, democracy, and other such

10 September 2019



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