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Mainstream, VOL LVII No 40, New Delhi, September 21, 2019

Where Are We Heading?

Monday 23 September 2019, by SC


Today is September 19, 2019. Precisely 46 days ago the Government of India had abrogated the Articles 370 and 35A of our Constitution thereby divesting Kashmir of its special status in the Indian Union. Yesterday PM Narendra Modi, in a speech at a rally at the site of the Statue of Unity (dedicated to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel) in Gujarat’s Kevadia Colony, declared:

Today, India is trying to complete all the tasks that have remained incomplete since independence. For 70 years, the people of Jammu and Kashmir were discriminated against, as a result of which the entire country suffered in the form of violence, sepratism and incomplete aspirations.

A decision was taken after decades to walk on a new path to solve this issue. I have complete faith that with the active cooperation of lakhs of friends from Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh and Kargil, we will be able to successfully chart a new course of development and confidence (vikas aur vishwas).

He did not think the inconvenience caused to the J&K citizens following the abrogation of the Articles and clampdown in Kashmir alongside massive deployment of troops there was of any consequence. That indeed is the jingoist mindset which is articulated by Modi and his cohorts, especially Home Minister Amit Shah.

But this is not all. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, in his statement on August 18, disclosed in Haryana that should bilateral talks with Pakistan take place, “it will now be on PoK”. And day before yesterday, that is, on September 17, S. Jaishankar, the career diplomat now functioning as the External Affairs Minister, said at a press conference in the Capital to mark the 100 days of the new Modi Government, that India expects it will have “physical jurisdiction” over PoK ”one day”. As The Indian Express correctly observed:

This is the first time in recent years that an External Affairs Minister has spoken of taking physical possession of PoK...

While even Jaishankar, an alumnus of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, is parroting the jingoist sentiments of the BJP leaders headed by Modi, look at how Pakistan’s PM is speaking. He told reporters in Islamabad yesterday that a Pakistani should not go to Kashmir “to fight jihad... he will be the first to do an injustice to Kashmiris, he will be the enemy of Kashmiris” because India needed just “an excuse to launch a crackdown on the besieged people of Kashmir”. Indeed Imran’s cool statesmanship comes out in sharp contrast to the angry 1outbursts of India’s govern-ment functionaries.

Meanwhile a couple of days ago Raja Singh, the sole BJP MLA in Telangana, is reported to have informed that an “army of youths” was being set up to deal with traitors inside the country and ensure that youngsters come forward for the nation’s secturity. He spoke of a camp, planned six months ago, and in a video message stated: “The resolve taken in this camp is that if India is secure, it is because of our Army. Like the Army, the Indian youth should become brave soldiers. Should there be a requirement for India, our youth should come forward for India’s security,” adding: “The Army is taking care of the terrorists and betrayers outside the country, but an army is required to take care of terrorists in the house as well. Such an army is being built.” Raja Singh is well known for his hardline Hindutva stance.

In the light of such utterances our legitimate query is: where are we heading?

September 19 S.C.

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