Today’s decision by the Indian government to revoke the special status of occupied Kashmir is a setback to peace efforts and institutionalises further the persecution of its inhabitants.
IHRC considers the move to be a further expression of Hindutva nationalism and a sop to its proponents who have inexorably dragged the country down the path of religious exclusivism since the rise to power of the BJP.
The BJP has long advocated the abrogation of the autonomy Kashmir was granted in exchange for joining the Indian union after independence in 1947, a decision that was itself opposed by most of those living in the Muslim majority region and conflict over which has led to several wars between India and Pakistan.
Given the record of the BJP in favouring Hindus and discriminating against India’s religious minorities there is every reason to fear that today’s decision will mark the first step in trying to alter the region’s demographic balance by settling Hindus in the region.
The BJP has made no secret of its desire to settle scores of Hindus in the Kashmir Valley to reduce its 97% Muslim majority. Critics condemned earlier proposals which involved building heavily fortified colonies for Hindus resembled Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.
IHRC is calling on the international community to demand India withdraw both its latest surge of troops and reduce it pre-existing military presence in Kashmir.
UK campaigners are urged to join the demonstration organised by South Asia Solidarity Group in London, UK today and other solidarity actions.
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