Ever since the second consecutive victory of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party in the May 2019 general elections, the Indian government’s stance on key issues has developed into one of increasingly Hindu Nationalistic sympathies.
Following the reversal of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution on August 5, 2019, an act that revoked the basic autonomy the Muslim majority province of Jammu and Kashmir had been given, the Indian government adopted the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), which expedited the process of foreigners gaining citizenship, provided they followed one of six “approved” religions. Both these acts subsequently caused tensions to flare in India, especially among Muslims, who as India’s largest minority group fear that the government is straying even further from their promise of a secular nation, leaving Muslims even more vulnerable to both discrimination and religious persecution.
After the reversing of Kashmir’s special status in 2019, the government followed up by deploying 46,000 troops, arresting regional political leaders and thousands of activists, suspending the internet and communications across the valley, and shutting down schools and colleges. By effectively cutting it off from the rest of the world, the government placed Kashmir in complete lockdown.
The military forces occupying Kashmir, in an attempt at ethnic cleansing, have showcased a gross misuse of authority and power, massacring thousands of innocent citizens and burying their corpses in unmarked mass graves to hide the extent of their cruelty. According to a deposition submitted by Parvez Imroz, a human rights lawyer, and his field workers in 2011, the total number of unmarked graves was more than 6,000. The soldiers regularly use torture and rape as a means of keeping the population in check. Imroz’s report states that 1 in 6 Kashmiris have been tortured.
Soldiers often abduct male citizens for interrogation and dispose of the bodies in mass graves. The extent of male disappearances has become so common that a new term, “half-widows” has been created for their wives who end up with no information on their husbands’ whereabouts.
Kashmir’s citizens are suffering, having their fundamental human rights violated every day. In a state where soldiers execute infants without hesitation, how much longer do the victims have to suffer before their justice is delivered?