OPINION

Indian Colonialism in Kashmir: Is 200 years of traumatic Colonial rule not enough for India?

Written by Rishmitha

What about Article 370?

On 5th August 2019, India revoked Articles 370 and 35A which guaranteed special autonomous status to Kashmir and restricted land ownership in the Valley. While your WhatsApp gyan (read: Modern Colonial Rumour Mill) might tell you that this situation is unique to Kashmir and revoking Article 370 is essential for “Indian Unification”.

The Reality is far from it.

Special Status is necessary to preserve the rights and culture of Indigenous people. And it is not unique to Kashmir. Eleven other states enjoy special provisions that include 6 of the 7 sister states, Maharashtra, Goa, AP, Karnataka and Gujarat (cough)

Modern colonizers don’t sweet-talk their way

Around 38,000 additional troops were mobilized into Jammu and Kashmir to enforce the lockdown. Almost 6,000 people were detained. The detained include 144 minors and 3 former chief ministers – Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah, and Mehbooba Mufti. While many have been subsequently released, 400 people still remain in preventive custody under the Public Safety Act (controversial considering the Act allows authorities to detain someone up to 2 years without charge or trial). What do we call it other than “Colonial Reign of Terror”?

From the Colonizer Rulebook: Control Media

Addressing the Government’s Media Policy 2020 in Jammu and Kashmir, a Srinagar based journalist recollects his professor’s words, “If tomorrow I become a journalist, the moment I follow media ethics I will be shown the door”. The Media Policy allows the government to determine what news is “fake” and take action against journalists and media organizations. So basically, the Indian Colonisers in Kashmir are controlling the “news”. The next thing we know, India is not a democratic nation.

From the Colonizer Rulebook: Control Demographics

“Our Distinct social and cultural identity, whether it’s our languages our traditions – everything is in danger,” said Haroon Reshi, a freelancer based in Srinagar. The new domicile law gave more than 25,000 outsiders and refugees domicile certificates. Colonial settlers are now eligible for jobs and owning land in the area which will further cripple the unemployment rates of the indigenous population. Unrestricted, this will lead to a demographic shift and loss of indigenous culture in the valley. 

From the Colonizer Rulebook: “Save” women

Another myth to address from your WhatsApp Gyan – “According to articles 370 and 35A. If a woman who is a state subject of J&K marries a man from outside the state, she forfeits her rights to own land in the state”. The state’s high court in 2000 put this matter to rest clarifying that Women don’t lose their rights to own lands in Kashmir upon marrying outside the state. Negative propaganda against their own rules and culture (read: lies) is just another classic Colonialist move.

From the Colonizer Rulebook: Plunder

On July 24th, the Indian administration allocated 1205 acres of state land to build industrial estates in about 35 locations across the region. This is just the beginning of a massive appropriation of Kashmir’s resources that will lead to further deforestation and environmental crisis. But hey, what do colonialists care about the environment? It’s not their home after all.

From the Colonizer Rulebook: Development

From the assortment of Right Nationalist Myths – “All Kashmiris need is investment and economic development”. Why does this sound so familiar? That’s right! Cause British Colonizers said the exact same thing about India. But no amount of economic development would change people’s minds until their mass sense of anger and humiliation is addressed. How do we do that? The most obvious way is to let Kashmir rule itself! It took 200 years for the British Colonizers to learn that and clearly, India remembered the wrong lessons from our history.

Freedom Struggle = Anti-National

Let’s call it what it is – Genocide and Human Rights Violation. In the traumatizing lockdown with barely any communication and the largest internet shutdown in the middle of a pandemic – Kashmir is going through a lot. Women and Children are being affected the most. Everything has taken a hit, from tourism to agriculture. With the indigenous population not being allowed to run their small-scale businesses for a year, they are thrown into unemployment and poverty. Worst of everything, they’re accused of being anti-national for fighting for their own freedom.

 

Sources

In a land without Internet – The Hindu

Myth No 1 about Article 370: It prevents Indians from buying land in Kashmir – The Scroll

Not Just Jammu and Kashmir, 11 other states enjoy special provisions under constitution of India – Financial Express

India eases rules for security forces to acquire land in Kashmir – Aljazeera

Article 370 Myth Vs Fact: From purchasing land to losing permanent residentship – The Logical Indian

Why journalists are worried about the new media policy in Jammu and Kashmir – The Wire

Kashmir, One year later – Foreign Policy

Kashmir Human Rights Report

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Rishmitha

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