The Modi Government’s move to rescind Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution was not unanticipated. It has been the longstanding plan of the ruling BJP-RSS coalition to transform Muslim Jammu and Kashmir into a Hindu-majority state to appease the Hindu ideologues and end Kashmiri resistance to India’s occupation of the former Princely State.
This move is a violation of a series of UN Security Council resolutions which: a) designate Jammu and Kashmir as “internationally disputed territory”; b) prescribe a UN-supervised plebiscite as a means to enable the people of Jammu and Kashmir to decide whether they wish to join India or Pakistan; and c) require both State Parties not to unilaterally alter the status of the disputed territory until the final resolution of the dispute.
Likewise, the Simla Agreement between Pakistani and India committed both sides to not unilaterally change the situation in Jammu and Kashmir or along the LOC (ceasefire line).
Since December 1989, India has been engaged in massive oppression and human rights violations, perpetrated by 700,000 troops, to defeat the struggle for freedom in occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
This reckless step taken by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), to rescind Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution, is the latest and most blatant of India’s continuing violations of the letter, spirit and purpose of the UN Resolutions and India’s commitments under the Simla Agreement.
The Indian decision has, moreover, discarded the justification offered by India itself for the questionable and unproven “accession” of the Maharajah of Kashmir to India in 1947. According to Indian officials and historians, Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, providing a special status for Jammu and Kashmir, was the “condition” under which the Kashmiri Maharajah signed the document of “accession” to India (although the signed document has never been produced). With the removal of this “condition”, India’s claim to Kashmir has been invalidated by its own justification. India’s presence in Jammu and Kashmir now is naked foreign military occupation.
This decision by the Modi Government has been universally condemned by the people and leadership of Kashmir, including by the political parties and leaders who had collaborated in the past with the Indian occupation authorities. The move will further intensify the popular struggle for Kashmiri freedom amid India’s repression and human rights violations.
Indian oppression is bound to provoke attacks by the Kashmiri freedom fighters against India’s occupation forces. In a now familiar sequence, India will blame Pakistan for such Kashmiri attacks and provoke the kind of India-Pakistan crisis faced last February and on several previous occasions. Such a crisis can easily escalate into a general war with the inherent danger of the use of nuclear weapons, which both countries possess.
The February crisis was successfully defused due the self-restraint displayed by Pakistan and its PM, including by the gesture of unilaterally releasing the captured Indian fighter pilot. The people of India and Pakistan may not be as fortunate next time.