Trouble in Kashmir Continues Following India's Reclassification of the Region By Phillip Howard
India’s Hindu nationalist government recently ended autonomy for Kashmir, deploying the military to quell potential uprisings. Authorities severed internet and both mobile and landline phone connections to the region, making it difficult for information about the decision to be known.
India revoked Kashmir’s special status granted under Articles 370 and 35A of its constitution. This allowed the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir to have it’s own decision-making power and its own constitution- a right that the Kashmir region had in place since India’s independence in 1947.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi claimed that the decision to strip Kashmir of it’s special constitutional status was to free the region of “terrorism and separatism.” Modi made further claims that the move will bring the rest of the region in line with India at large, expedite development, create new jobs and more investment opportunities for public and private companies.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan accused Modi of promoting “an ideology that puts Hindus above all other religions and seeks to establish a state that represses all other religious groups.” Khan also announced that Pakistan will halt trade with India and expel India’s top diplomat, and warned of potential war.
Pakistan has struggled to prompt international condemnation of India since the changes were made, while “a communication blackout continues, political leaders remain locked up, and the unrest India feared when announcing the drastic steps still threatens to break loose.” India is a major trading partner with Pakistan’s purported Muslim allies in the Persian Gulf.
Human rights activists in India have decried the move, but recent polling has found that nearly 60 percent of Indians were supportive. 65 percent were confident in Prime Minister Modi’s ability “solve the Kashmir problem in five years.”
Earlier today President Trump “urged restraint” in conversations with political leaders from India and Pakistan. United Nations Spokesperson Rupert Colville has expressed concern about how government authorities “have repeatedly blocked communications networks to muzzle dissent, used arbitrary detention to punish political dissidents and employed excessive force while dealing with protests leading to extra judicial killings and serious injuries."
Phillip Howard is a graduate student at Utica College