Ram Temple overlaps Kashmir

Kashmir Times. Dated: 8/7/2020 10:49:16 AM

Doing away with special status of J&K and Ram Temple have been long-cherished dreams of BJP and RSS

The overlapping of the day for the launch of the construction of Ram temple and the anniversary of Kashmir is something which is very, very calculated. Both the agendas have been the long-cherished dream of the BJP and the RSS. Both are linked in the sense that they are to the Hindu assertion in one way or the other. They are driven by the pathological contempt of Muslims and both are also based on the destruction of existing structures. Whereas, in the case of Ram temple, there was the Babri mosque demolished several years ago, in the case of Kashmir, a new Kashmir is being built by destroying the existing structures — socially, politically and economically. The central government’s claim has been that this vision of a new Jammu and Kashmir is based on equality, on making the citizens of India equal. But the fact that this vision’s foundations were laid by scant respect for the asymmetric federalism of the country and its liberal traditions, also by exclusion of the people. This is a democratic country and democracy does not mean just holding elections. It means continuous participation of the public in policies, in legislations that are going to impact them, that are going to impact their day-to-day lives, that are going to impact their existence, their collective lives. Not only were they excluded in the process, they had been put under barbed wires and unannounced curfew that existed in various degrees in different parts of Jammu and Kashmir. Added to this, the fact that the civil liberties of the people have existed only in breach in the last one year puts a question mark on this new vision of equality. In fact, instead of paying attention to the plight and sufferings of the people in J&K, the ring wing followers have been celebrating the first anniversary on August 5 of stripping J&K of its special status and abrogation of Article 370.
Though last year, diverse regions of the erstwhile state viewed the August 5, 2019 moves differently and the reactions were mixed depending upon the divergent political affiliations of the different regions. But gradually even in Jammu and Leh regions which looked at the move with some optimism, even celebration, gradually anxieties and fears of losing certain privileges that the people of Jammu and Kashmir have enjoyed with respect to jobs, land rights and economic interests are on the rise. There are genuine, and slightly different concerns, today, in all the regions about how the people stand to lose from the possible demographic flooding in the future. There is a deepening feeling that their jobs are at stake, their economy is at stake, their business interests are at stake, the question of land ownership is at stake. As the government celebrates the anniversary of its historic move, Jammu and Kashmir is shut down – part of it in the name of security and part of it in the name of Covid. The deadly pandemic is indeed on the rise in this region as it is in the rest of the country the data reveals that it is not even 2% of what is happening in rest of the country. Whereas the rest of the country is opening up, why should J&K be locked down, that is a question that the government needs to answer. That pretexts need to be used for keeping the region under lockdown, one year on, should prompt the government to think about whether it has got it wrong in Jammu and Kashmir? Is its handling something that is flawed that they have to keep people locked up when they have to take decisions about them and celebrate their ‘betterment’?

 

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