Post-annexation, Kashmir is beyond recognition

With no elected leadership at the helm in disputed Kashmir, New Delhi has unilaterally passed a slew of laws to alter the majority-Muslim demography of the region.

On August 5 last year, the Indian parliament abrogated Article 370, which allowed the disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir to have a separate constitution, flag and legislature that could ultimately make laws independent of India’s federal oversight.

The key reasons cited in parliament for the move were that Kashmiri laws were discriminatory, strengthened secession and were a hurdle in the economic development of the region.

One year on, the outcome begs to tell a different tale. New Delhi has amended 109 laws and scrapped 29 more in the region that has been a nuclear flashpoint between India and Pakistan since 1947. No such legal changes were made in Ladakh, despite the disputed region, which lies between India and China, proving yet another Kashmir-like conundrum.

Article 370 was not a favour granted by the Indian state to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Instead, it formed the basis of administrative relations between the two, and this reality was not lost on the Hindu supremacist government. It is the reason behind a rhetoric smacking of triumphalism, despite brazenness being the Hindu right-wing’s defining characteristic.


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