Democracy,  Essays

Was the reorganisation of J&K a precursor to something bigger?

“When deals of weapons become profit-oriented, they foster conflicts simply to justify and continue that profit-making through weapons and war.”

We Indians consider our system to be isolated in all regards, be it geographically, culturally or economically. However, irrespective of our considerations, we are much more integrated into the global social-economic paradigm that ever. While this has been enabling the connection of Indian economy to global markets we have also witnessed increased penetration on trans-national corporation in our economy. Apart from people in high income groups and investors, others seldom think globally; prime reason being absolute shielding of information about the global events by the main stream media. As a result, we are unaware of most of the activities underpinning the global events. In the absence of a complete picture, we have the only option of relying on the rhetoric created by the media. Indian Media has been showing a blatant disregard for ethics and moral values for almost a decade now. The talk has been going on for so long that all that could have been said, has been said already. Perhaps the only thing to add can be that the sheer number of media outlets often conceals the fact there is complete dominance by a few players over all major markets and market segments. The regional channels are no exception. In other words, the markets have turned oligopolistic.

Weaponising Media

With the government spending increasing in leaps and bounce, TV anchors turned into advocates of government policies, legitimizing every act of the government with a nationalistic-religious touch. In the past years, we have seen the masquerading of prominent journalists and even entire channels by the government over their routine job of broadcasting the news!

Undoubtedly this has piled up an element of fear over the existing system of rewards for the media houses. Quite naturally, we see media favoring the establishments and official narratives all the time. At a time when India was heading for the General Elections and economy was already slacking, the news of improvement in ranks of India by global agencies (to some of which India is a debtor) and awarding of Seoul Peace Price to the PM for growth (after inauguration of a South-Korean factory in India) had a very positive impact on the BJP’s election campaign by projecting the image of a progressive government. The inauguration of National War Memorial at Delhi or anti-satellite missile test baffled people’s minds, shaping the nationalist narrative for General Elections 2019.

Irresponsible behavior, use of provocative language, fear mongering and emotional exploitation by the mass media has gradually turned the people of the nation into silent spectators devoid of reason. Add the dissatisfaction of personal life of it and you create a mob which has no conscience. The entire chain stemming from raw information, getting translated into a form suitable to the agenda and ending up in nukkad discussions can be made accomplish a defined goal. If the raw information is treated with the principals of psycho-analysis, one can break the information into simpler forms and fine tune the choice of words. Depending on groups that are to consume the information, his can be done regionally, communally, ethnically, linguistically or for any other desired classification.  Social media has empowered the ruling elite to micro-target these groups and deliver the information on time. All of this, if controlled centrally, as is perceivable, creates a formula of mass exploitation, a weapon! The recent phenomenon of “mob lynching” is an example of how such a mechanism can be put to use.

Anti-people Legislations

The Modi government has been on a spree to amend the constitution. With complete majority and current momentum, we may soon be witnessing a version of constitution re-written entirely. In its first session, the 17th Lok Sabha has worked late into the evening on most days. But the worrying trend here is that in this rush to pass listed bills, there is not enough scrutiny of them – a crucial aspect in the entire process where parliamentary committees assess the merits and demerits of the bill in question. The non-scrutiny of bills by committees is an alarming factor. Fewer bills are being referred to parliamentary committees. While the 14th and 15th Lok Sabha (from 2004 to 2014) had scrutinized 60 per cent and 71 per cent bills, the 16th Lok Sabha had scrutinized only 26 per cent of the total number of bills passed in Parliament.

Other pressing concern is the nature of amendments. Most of the bills have been labeled anti-people by policy experts. While Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019 can be directly used to target vulnerable Muslim men. The women from the Muslim community itself are speaking against the irrationality of this legislation. However, The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019 and The National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2019 are outright weapons in the hand of security forces, whose moral integrity have been found to be cloudy on multiple occasions. Moreover, with an interconnected web of bureaucracy and politics, it isn’t hard to conceive that these laws will be misused. The basic premise set behind these laws is around the issue of National Security. For the rulers, it servers the dual purpose of drafting a tool to curb opposition as well as the headlines that projects them in a nationalistic fervor.

With the ending of first quarter of F.Y.2019 news of an impending economic crisis began to surface. All industry verticals except IT services industry have registered huge losses in revenues. NPAs continue to rise, FIIs continue to flee, fiscal deficit and foreign debt is soaring, stock markets continue to bleed and government is reluctant to even accept the fact let alone resolve it. The news about economic crisis was gaining momentum with the prominent industrialists speaking publicly but before it could have evolved as a common discourse, we witnessed sudden revival of the nationalistic dogma. The crisis level in J&K was escalated!

Cobwebs of the ‘evil industry’

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s factsheet, reveals India’s “India was the #1 importer of Arms and Ammunition in the world in 2017” and in 2018 we were the 2nd on the list. This very information is highly unsettling, but there is more to be added. Right from his first term as a PM, Narendra Modi has actively supported the development of military industrial complex in India. The then Defense Minister of India, Mr. Arun Jatiley, strongly advocated Strategic Partnership (SP) mode to promote the private sector in defense manufacturing. As a result, many Indian private companies have already diverted their manufacturing businesses from consumer goods to war machines. Some of the examples are: Tata Advanced Systems, Reliance Defence and Mahindra.

Infographic: How Military Spending Has Changed Since 2009 | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

These are all the worrying signs of the dangerous military industrial complex sinking its roots deep in the Indian economy. It needs to be stated clearly that a burgeoning private military industrial complex dramatically alters policy-level priorities.Even without this aspect, India’s spending is dangerously skewed towards defence.  Our economy, in the present state, has a resource gap. This scarcity necessitates judicious use of what is available by public representatives and policy makers. Extravagance expenditure by the government on manufacturing war weapons is absurd and antithetical to the present context (budgetary allocation to Ministry of Defence in 2017-18 was INR 3,59,854 crore).

The people of a nation caught in war will be mute spectators as he perpetrators of evil drain the economy till their last dime while the local government acts as their accomplice. The US finds ample space in such discussion as it is the prime example of the perils of this military industrial complex. US goes on waging wars, one after another, all over the globe, because of the influence of military industrial complex. This complex has such strongholds that they can ‘create’ wars just to ensure that their produce has buyers at all times. They are well known to legitimize human suffering and destruction of nations attacked by them in the name of fighting terrorism. US has so many vested interests in the sector now that simply shutting it down is no longer an option. It will collapse only after it collapses the whole American economy and the society. Evidently, in such a scenario, respect for human rights and human lives endangered through conflict become worthless for those reaping benefits.

If we combine the elements of corrupt media, oppressive laws and military-industrial complex, we get a clearer picture of what the governments are capable of. Terrorism has evolved as a global threat, mostly due to state-sponsored oppression but biased media often portrays the victims as the culprits. To curb this element of fear, far-right governments across the globe have promulgated laws that rather intend to strip people off their rights, making them more vulnerable. Developed nations have a fully developed military industrial complex with enormous powers, politically, financially or otherwise. They also have lobbyists in the system and can “coerce” the elements of the system in co-ordination to “create” situations leading to wars.

Indians are not very different from Americans from a basic psychological perspective. Hence, the same tools and tactics can be used to shape their opinions. The above methodology has been used by US multiple times to wage wars. One doesn’t need to stress to recall how US used the buildup around 9/11 to wage war against Afghanistan and which is now the most widely recognized example of a state-sponsored false-flag operation. The world blames US for “seeding” terrorism and we may expect India to be classified in the category in near future as we are headed in the exact same direction!

Humanity is a witness to the fact that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Not to mention that the NDA government is in absolute power!

The way in which this entire chapter of reorganization of J&K has been brought about is a shady act in itself. The chapter seems to begin with the news of cease fire violation by Pakistan. Mortar shelling caused 2 deaths on Pakistan’s side and one Indian soldier was martyred. It was followed by the news of an IED blast in which an Army vehicle was reportedly damaged with no causalities. Army in its subsequent search operations found of weapons along the Amarnath Yatra trail. Afterwards, we heard of the government deploying another 250 companies of armed forces in J&K. The information coming in intermittently soon made it evident that the government was planning something “huge”. Rumors of all sorts were already doing rounds when the resolution to scrap provisions of Article 370 was tabled by Amit Shah.

With the scrapping of Article 370, reorganization and deployment of more and more troops in the already militarized state, we are witnessing India morph into an occupying settler-colonial Hindu project. It has never been made this obvious on every single front, be it Jammu&Kashmir, Assam or Bastar. Much like Israel, it is now deciding when and how to take over which land, when to militarize and how much, when to revoke and amend laws and articles, when to build segregated colonies, who to keep in detention centers, and what land to partition without the consent of its inhabitants. In fact, in the sheer scale of its various occupations, India could almost put Israel to shame.

The curtailment of the citizen’s personal freedoms, the closing down of communications, the arrest of political leaders, it can all happen in other parts of India too; using force to impose the will of not just the government but also of a particular ideology. That mindset can drive the ruling party to put down all other forms of legitimate protest and dissent, even the peaceful ones. If the government is bringing about change for the people of Jammu&Kashmir, then what caused them to house arrest pro-democracy leaders of J&K? Why the curfew and ban on all forms of communication? What kind of good requires keeping the beneficiaries in the dark?

After this order, the road to reorganization of the state has now become easier, which is a long standing wish of the Sangh. But the basic question still stands. The merger of Kashmir is considered ‘special’ due to some technical shortcomings, will all those shortcomings be overcome by just one presidential order? Article 35a will be abolished by this order, but many other privileges enjoyed by Kashmir will still continue. The issue of reorganization is bound to be treated as a dictatorial decision without going through a judicial and constitutional review, which will weaken the side of India internationally.

Kashmir issue has been a bilateral problem between India and Pakistan. While India continues to oppress the people using brute force, Pakistan has extended its arms in support of the Kashmiri people. Undoubtedly, the separatists will get enough material from this decision and the methods of its implementation that might empower them to drag yet another generation into violence.

The fire of separatism in the valley is at its peak today. The common youth of Kashmir does not identify himself with India, rather most of them have a strong feeling of alienation. For them, it’s a fact that they have been slaves to the strength of Indian Army which sabotaged their freedom. With these pretext, it is not difficult to guess the upcoming dire consequences of the decision.

How long can the army deployments in Kashmir be sustained? Right now there are no TVs, internet, or mobile communication, but they will have to be resumed sooner or later. Once the guns will drop and the watchdogs removed, the separatists will not leave any stone unturned in starting a coup. Kashmir can be won by this decision but not Kashmiris. Therefore, before deciding to claiming this decision to be bold and audacious, we must evaluate the unsavory motives of the ruling and its long term consequences.

These is a huge possibility that whole episode of scrapping Article 370 all of a sudden is aimed at ‘manufacturing’ conflict. This will not only create opportunities for large scale deployment of troops for longer periods but also possibilities of extended civil conflict like the ones in Palestine or Syria. The present state of events present a likelihood that India will attempt the annexation of PoK or at-least provoke Pakistan for a war. We must stay vigilant as no evil is too big for the entrenched military industrial complex. Any extremist development in J&K will be used by the government as an excuse for further sabotage.

In the earlier version of this article published here I made the case that reorganization of J&K is a precursor to something bigger. While it definitely served the purpose of deepening the rift b/w two major communities, now I also see it as a prototype for execution of the Globa; Lockdown that we are facing.

Just let that sink in for a moment. Over 6 Billion now stand caged in their homes by official orders, more or less involuntarily. Didn’t the same happen with Kashmiris? All the delegates that visited Kashmir with no apparent reason? Meanwhile one can congratulate BJP for offering the awaam of Kashmir as lab rats.

References:

  1. https://www.livemint.com/Industry/FLQDiv0sdMc2Io61PEaCFL/Inside-Indian-industrys-big-defence-play.html
  2. https://electronicintifada.net/content/india-employing-israeli-oppression-tactics-kashmir/8985
  3. https://www.livemint.com/Opinion/hyZTcoqxVOXpJu58dtYc9H/An-Indian-militaryindustrial-complex.html
  4. https://www.sipri.org/publications/2019/sipri-fact-sheets/trends-international-arms-transfers-2018
Date Written: 07-08-2019
Author:Surya Kant Singh
Title: The Reorganization of J&K can be a precursor to something bigger
First Published: State Herald

Author is a voracious reader and an autodidact. He is studying Statistics and Philosophy and works as an Analytics Consultant. He has published columns on Public Policy, Governance, Politics, Economics and Philosophy among others. When in leisure he listen's to 70's rock and engage in pro-people talk. He can be contacted on surya@columnist.com

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