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India has entered the new year on many negatives. Its economy is simmering and showing no signs of recovery. And protests are everywhere happening in the country and these are increasing with each passing day and first started by common people are now joined by students of various colleges and universities across the country.

The right-wing party BJP came again to power in May 2019 and within few months started its Hindutva agenda under Modi-Amit Shah duo without caring for the consequences. First by revoking Kashmir’s seminal autonomy and then by passing controversial laws thus degrading its minorities and creating an atmosphere of fear.

Kashmir is still under a communication lock down and cut off from the world even after almost six months. Kashmiris have been denied internet and pre-paid mobile services since August 5, 2019, when Article 370 was struck down by the Indian government.

Postpaid mobile services have recently restarted. It is pertinent to mention here that students in Kashmir appeared in examinations with going to school in the second half of the last year. They had to reach examinations on foot and crossing many blockades and concertina wires spread by forces. Jammu and Kashmir’s economy has suffered a massive blow. According to Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry, businesses have suffered a loss close to ₹20000 crore and lakhs of young people have lost jobs due to the internet shutdown.

After assuming that it has won the people of India by scrapping Article 370 and by demonising Pakistan and Kashmiris in the eyes of masses, BJP, a right-wing political party passed a controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) which gives citizenship to persons and refugees and immigrants belonging to several Hindus, Parsis, Sikhs, Buddhists and Christians except Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

The first reaction came from Assam where people reminded the government about the consequences of this act and the Assam Accord. Several protestors were killed in police firing and internet and mobile services were shut down for several days to bring about the “normalcy.”

India is a country of over a hundred crore in population and protests are continuing against the unjust citizenship law. Students are on the streets and joined by common people. Over thirty people have been killed in police firing in Uttar Pradesh, yet there is no backing off from protestors. At some of the places, protestors, women, children, young and old are braving the cold nights and without eating anything to sit on roads during the whole night. Section 144 was promulgated in the whole of Uttar Pradesh to curb the information flow and suppress the people further.

On December 15, Delhi Police entered the library of one of the prestigious university of India, Jamia Millia Islamia University and beat up students, including women. Later in the evening, the police beat up students in hostels in another minority institution Aligarh Muslim University which attracted widespread condemnation locally and internationally.

Some renowned academicians writing letters expressing solidarity with the students who were protesting against the discriminatory law CAA. Internet and phone services were snapped in some Muslim majority areas of Delhi including Jamia Nagar, Okhla, and Shaheen Bagh for several days to prevent the people from assembling.

The Indian government has been criticised by many countries over the revocation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and robbing of its autonomy and then caging its population through a mass crackdown and communication shut down for months and for the controversial acts passed by its parliament. The United Nations has criticised India many times.

The USA, Turkey, Malaysia and many countries have also criticised India for its anti-Muslim and Kashmir policies.

Recently, there was an incident at Jawaharlal Nehru University incident. where some goons with the help of ABVP, the BJP’s student wing, entered the campus and beat up students and professors with many sustaining serious injuries.

BJP-aligned Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath has warned protestors, mostly Muslims, of revenge and grave consequences of confiscating their property and other assets for the losses incurred during protests. This has also drawn criticism from various quarters, but to no avail, as police have started to confiscate the property of suspected Muslim protestors. And some BJP ministers have openly threatened those who will oppose the Modi and Yogi government.

Before the recent development of passing acts in parliament, India’s present government was changing the names of roads and other places to Hindu names (which is ongoing) and due to Muslims being lynched across several states and cities, the minorities, especially the Muslims are living under constant fear and threat.

India is slowly inching closer towards Nazi Germany in matters of treating its minorities and other marginalised communities with state-supported acts and legislations to demean and discourage them and eventually pave the way for a Hindu Rashtra in which minorities have to migrate to some other place or to live on the mercy of the majority.

It is high time in the midst of a do-or-die situation for the Indian progressive people, intellectuals, academicians and progressive political parties to stop this menace, hate-mongering and the right-wing juggernaut. Otherwise, we must be ready for the disaster which will engulf the entire subcontinent.

Dr. Ashraf Lone, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi


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