This year, August 5 marked the one-year anniversary of occupied Kashmir’s illegal annexation and subsequent lockdown.
Last year, India changed the special status of the troubled valley to union territories. The gross human rights violations that followed and are still taking place is no secret. Pakistan has tried highlighting the issue internationally. Unfortunately, the international community is least bothered because of economic reasons; every country wants a share in the Indian market pie.
The myth of Muslim Ummah was also shattered when except for countries like Turkey and Malaysia, nobody raised voice for the plight of the Kashmiris. The same led to what appeared to be a major foreign policy shift for Pakistan as Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi asked Saudi Arabia-led Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to stop dragging feet on the convening of a meeting of its Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) on the Kashmir issue.
Revoking the special status of held Kashmir was a step towards establishing Modi’s Hindu Rashtra. The first five years of Modi paved the way for an India that shattered all foundations of secularism. Modi regime’s six years have resulted in a wave of palpable fear amongst the Muslim minority in India. Modi’s Gujarat — where Muslims were killed as if it was a sport — is now being replicated in other parts of India; from beef lynchings to riots, the Muslim minority in India is being subjugated endlessly.
Modi chose August 5, 2020, as the day of laying down the foundation of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. As the New York Times put it, “In a moment of triumph that India’s Hindu nationalists had worked toward for years, Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi on Wednesday set the ceremonial cornerstone for a new Hindu temple at the site of a destroyed mosque in Ayodhya.”
This gesture was a slap in the face of the Muslim minority of India as well as the last nail in the coffin of Indian secularism. Modi’s Hindu nationalism has destroyed the fabric of Nehruvian secularism. It is a reminder that when a fascist ruler is in power, even strong traditions and constitutions cannot guarantee fundamental rights, human rights, freedom of speech and all other traditions of a free society.
The cataclysmic shift of the Indian polity towards the right under Modi’s rule is not a surprise. In fact, what was surprising was the denial of Indian liberals when Modi was first elected in 2014. They were of the view that India’s secular traditions and constitution could never be destroyed but many pointed out how Modi’s victory was an indictment of the majoritarianism in India.
This is happening all over the world. From Trump’s America to Brexit in Britain, the world’s shift to right-wing politics is quite disappointing. We hope that some day, sane voices of India and the world will take a stand against Modi’s fascism.