The Protests In Kashmir That India Didn't Want You To See
- 🎬 Video
- ℹ️ Description
As Indian’s celebrated the birth of the world's biggest democracy, members of Modi’s massive fanbase hailed his recent revision to the constitution -- ending the state of Jammu and Kashmir’s special autonomy.
“I must say Modi is like a god to India today. Terrorism will end. The fact is that Kashmir is ours now.” Vijay Rashtravadi, a in New Delhi told VICE News.
Modi’s decision splits India’s only Muslim-majority state in two parts -- and into ‘Union Territories’ -- which means Kashmir will lose representatives in parliament, and the central government will have directly control.
The move has angered Pakistan, which lays claim to Kashmir. Their leader compared Modi’s “arrogance” to that of Hitler’s in a tweet on Thursday.
“It’s my hope that Pakistan-occupied Kashmir will be ours soon, also” Rashtravadi said. “It’s my hope Modi will quickly make it ours, too.”
While people paraded in the nation’s capital, independence celebrations in Srinagar, Kashmir’s capital, were orchestrated -- largely missing attendance by folks who actually live there.
“Kashmiri’s have lost 5,000 years of history as a country.” Hameeda Nayeem, a professor at Kashmir University told VICE News. “Overnight their identity, their dignity, their everything has been lost.”
The valley has been under lockdown for 12 days, as the government moved an additional 35,000 soldiers into the region. Internet and communications are blacked out, opposition politicians have been detained, and large public gatherings were banned.
“This is all bullshit,” Nayeem said. “They are actually hiding a dark Hindu fantasy of destroying Kashmiri Muslims and reducing them to a miniscule minority, so that they can always rule them and they will be enslaved.”
Kashmiri’s still protested --many waived Pakistani flags, and some were seen unfurling banners of a local Islamic-state affiliate.
While India initially denied protests last week, calling media reports “fabricated” they eventually recognized “widespread unrest.” Today, India announced it would start to ease its restrictions in Kashmir gradually.
“You are creating a dynamic which is pushing violence forward. Why is that done? That is also done deliberately to provoke this violence.” Dr. Ajai Sahni, Executive Director at the Institute for Conflict Management told VICE News. “So you create this whole demonization of the Muslim which assists in your Hindutva consolidation.”
Downgrading democracy is Kashmir is likely to push people towards an insurgency that Pakistan is accused of sponsoring -- feeding the popularity of recently re-elected Modi, who has styled himself as India’s Chowkidar, or “Guardian.”
Video produced by: Angad Singh, Zubair Ahmed Dar, Supreet J. Bargi and Akash Bisht
Video Editing by: Adam Deniston
This segment originally aired on VICE News Tonight on HBO on August 15th, 2019.
Follow VICE News here: