August 2, 2021

In India, Narendra Modi tries to renew dialogue with Kashmir

Almost two years after the strong takeover of Indian Kashmir claimed by Pakistan, the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, and his Minister of the Interior, Amit Shah, received, Thursday, June 24, in New Delhi , the fourteen main political figures of the Himalayan region. The official photo of the meeting was an event in itself. We see the duo of Hindu nationalist leaders surrounded for the most part by political opponents, most of whom had been placed under house arrest for seven to fourteen months depending on the case, before being released in the course of 2020. .

This is the first time that the latter have seen the artisans of the August 5, 2019 coup, in which Jammu and Kashmir, India’s only Muslim-majority region (65%), was deprived of the partial autonomy conferred on it until then by the Constitution, amputated from the Buddhist province of Ladakh, and dispossessed of its status of federated state to be relegated to the rank of simple territory of the Indian Union, under the direct supervision of Delhi. More than 5,000 people were arrested, Internet access was blocked for 213 days and tens of thousands of soldiers were deployed on the ground, in addition to the 500,000 soldiers usually present.

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Officially, Thursday’s reunion was “Cordial”. MM. Modi et Shah told their guests that their priority is to “Strengthen local democracy” in Kashmir. They told them that a new electoral map was going to be drawn “Quickly” in order to organize local elections to re-establish the Legislative Assembly, thus allow the installation of a new executive in Srinagar, the capital, and ultimately restore the region to its status as a federated state.

“Broken trust”

Jammu and Kashmir has been deprived of government since June 2018. A year before it was put under supervision, Mr. Modi’s Indian People’s Party (BJP) had indeed left the coalition led at the time by Mehbooba Mufti, the president of the People’s Democratic Party of Jammu and Kashmir (PDP), which led to the establishment of the « president’s rule », a mechanism allowing the federal government to dissolve the executive for a temporary period.

Mme Mufti did not specify whether she intended to participate in the construction of the electoral map. She preferred to recall the character “Unconstitutional and illegal” of the operation conducted on August 5, 2019. “The people of Jammu and Kashmir are angry and humiliated, we will fight constitutionally, democratically and peacefully for the reestablishment of the special status which was conferred on us in his time by Nehru”, she said.

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