The house arrest of pro-India leaders in Jammu and Kashmir has deprived New Delhi of its only reliable asset in the Muslim-majority state, where an insurgency has been going on for decades. On Aug. 5, India revoked Article 370 of its legislation guaranteeing autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir, drawing angry reactions from Pakistan and China.
Government authorities severed internet connections, mobile phone lines and even landlines, casting Kashmir into an information black hole that made it very difficult to discern what was unfolding.
Several top Kashmiri politicians were taken into custody. Indian authorities jailed three former chief ministers; Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti; several former ministers and Sajad Lone, a former ally of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Mehbooba Mufti, a former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, managed to get out a message shortly before she was arrested. During the protests, several women including Farooq Abdullah’s sister and daughter were arrested and let off only after signing a no-protest agreement. Another of his sisters is still under house detention.
Farooq Abdullah, the former chief minister had previously said Kashmir’s relation with India would no longer exist if its special status were to be withdrawn. In his support, Mehbooba Mufti warned “no one would be left in Kashmir to raise the Indian flag” if the special status was removed.
There are various reasons to why Indian government virtually overthrew its support base and risked the political vacuum in the insurgency-ridden region. One of the major factors was that pro-India politicians were the only ones left to oppose the scrapping of the special status, as separatist leaders are currently in jail and a security lockdown has made public uprisings nearly impossible.
And if pro-India politicians were able to mobilize international support regarding this latest move, it would have been difficult for the Indian state to call five of its own parliamentarians “proxies of Pakistan”, as separatists are frequently referred to.
BJP declared long ago, its purpose to scrap the special legislations the day it formed a coalition government with Mehbooba Mufti’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
According to experts, the BJP wants to introduce a new class of politicians who can counter separatist sentiments in the region. Hussain said “Like the British, India too had manufactured and nurtured a class of collaborators.
What the BJP wants to do differently is to create a class that would unequivocally endorse the Indian policies on Kashmir. But the earlier class of pro-India politicians still had some weight. The BJP is clutching at straws. The new crop of individuals they are banking on are nobodies”
However, to negate that, according to BJP’s Jammu and Kashmir general secretary Ashok Kaul, “You will see that within six months or a year, genuine pro-India voices will emerge from Kashmir. We will make it happen through good governance, building schools and hospitals.
Our party will be in the front seat now. There will be our chief minister. There will be leaders. Their stature might not be big but it will happen.” Kaul mentioned this in an interview with the Turkish News Agency.
Via: Anadolu Agency. Edited By EurAsian Times