India’s move to change the status of the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir is another manifestation of the Narendra Modi-led BJP Government’s Hindutva ideology, which is aimed at “saffronising” India and turning it into a Hindu-dominated “Hindustan”. In so doing, it has not only manipulated its own Constitution, but has also trampled democratic norms and debased the United Nations Security Council resolutions recognising the territory as an international dispute, to which Pakistan is also a legitimate party, and promising the people of Kashmir an opportunity to determine their own future through a free and fair plebiscite under UN auspices. That promise was reiterated by Prime Minister Nehru on several occasions, with the assurance that he would respect the verdict of the Kashmiri people and that, if they were to tell India to leave, it would quit Kashmir without hesitation. As a consequence, the conditional accession of the state to the Indian Union was guaranteed through Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution.
This article was published in the Future Directions International, Australia on August 27, 2019.