ISRAELI MODEL FOR KASHMIR

BJP-government’s silence on Israeli model advocated by Indian diplomat is a manifestation of tacit approval
A serving Indian diplomat in the United States advocating the pernicious Israeli model of apartheid in Gaza strip for Kashmir is a matter of grave concern. The gravity of the situation is further enhanced because the BJP-government has chosen to maintain silence over such remarks that signify a virtual subversion of the Indian Constitution and the principles on which it is structured. The deafening silence is a manifestation of the tacit approval of this rather dangerous, communal, racist and inhuman desire to not only alter the demography of Kashmir but also turn its residents into second rate citizens.

One needs to only skim through the surface of the Israeli handling of its West Bank area where the Palestinians have been walled out after usurping their land to understand the brutal and savage nature of such a policy that is now being shamelessly and openly espoused. The diplomat was addressing a gathering of Kashmiri Pandits in New York.

The return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits who were driven out of their homes in 1990s is indeed important and unfortunately has not been taken up by successive governments in the last three decades. However, their tragedy cannot be used as a weapon to demonise the Muslims of the Valley and give legitimacy to the case of pushing them out of the Valley. It is in fitness of things to point out that a proper accounting of the circumstances and reasons for the flight of the Pandits has never been done. Though one of the biggest tragedies of Kashmir, it remains contested between many extreme perceptions that need to be reconciled, not used to perpetuate the pernicious idea of propping up one community against the other. Secondly, with the special status of the state gone, it is less likely that those advocating such a dangerous idea have only Kashmiri Pandits in mind in their vision of new settlers.

The silence of the government over the remarks of the Indian diplomat raises pertinent questions of whether the abrogation of Article 370 is the stepping stone for emulating the ugly policy of brutalization that Israel follows against its Palestinian citizens in abject violation of international laws and humanity. Stripping Jammu and Kashmir of its special status now puts the Centre in absolute command of the ownership of land in Kashmir. India is not Israel. India is a democratic country where the centre-piece of the constitution is the fundamental rights of the citizens based on the principles of equality, justice, liberty and secularism. Opposed to this, Israel is a fascist country that promotes divisive politics, hatred and war. Such an idea, therefore, is an onslaught on constitutional values. The Israel model does not only jeopardise the interests of the Kashmiri Muslims but also those of the Jammuites irrespective of their religious affiliations. Besides, it also lowers the prestige and image of India internationally. Such a thought process of the fascist forces in India should be an eye-opener and warning signal to those, who vouch and appreciate for diversity of the country. With India’s economy sliding and slipping into an abyss, soon the international significance of the country for the global economy is going to end. Whatever, some in the BJP government may wish to project, the fact is that its Kashmir actions have already received much flak in the international community. The BJP government has important lessons to learn before its xenophobic Kashmir obsession adversely impacts the entire country.