Analysis: Enforced political abyss in Kashmir
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Published: 08-Feb-2020

Preface from Patrick B. McGuigan, CapitolBeatOK founder and publisher/editor, The City Sentinel newspaper: As a student of history and “the course of human events” for all of my life, I watch with heavy heart the decimation of civil liberties, representative government and fair play in Jammu and Kashmir. Prime Minister Narenda Modi’s government is excluding from full exercise of the rights of citizenship – in one of the world’s great nations – millions of citizens who trace their lineage and affections to the Kashmir (and the state of Jammu and Kashmir). Modi imprisons political leaders in Kashmir. His errors lay the ground work for worse than “merely” oppressive government misbehavior. Cynical forces are at work as the federalist structure of India’s constitutional system passes into memory. Concerned Americans remain focused on our “backyard” to seek a more perfect union -- a stronger Republic true to our own Founders vision and purpose. Still, millions in the Indian subcontinent deserve the attention of our national government. People of good will pray for justice in Kashmir – and offer to U.S. officials peaceful petitions for Kashmir. This should be a cause for unity in our land of the free. God loves the people of Kashmir, India, America and every land. May the Almighty give wisdom, forbearance and courage to all in this time of crisis for the people of that beautiful land. And, may the hearts of the haughty be gentled – and soon. Read here the words of a daughter of Kashmir, now our ‘sister’ and friend in Oklahoma.

Prime Minister Modi's BJP-led federal government is intent on creating a political abyss in Jammu and Kashmir. 

With the continued detention of several elected legislators and parliamentarians in the union territory, any potential opposition to the revocation of the autonomous status of J & K is being nipped in the bud. 

Indigenous political institutions, which were already eroded, are now being decimated. 
While regional political parties in J & K might have had eroded mass bases, it cannot be denied that they are cadre-based.

A democracy should be about strengthening grass-roots institutions, which are not limited to Village Councils and Block Development Councils.

Much to the BJP's chagrin, Village Councils and Block Development Councils cannot replace cadre-based political parties. Nor can legitimate political dissent be stifled forever. 
Democracies thrive on differences of opinions, not on gagging those who might not be on the same page.

Instead of deterring the growth of democracy and depoliticizing the people, the goal should have been to empower the populace of Jammu and Kashmir. 
The creation of a "third-front," comprising carpetbaggers, will not fill the enforced political vacuum in J & K.

The people of J & K should be sufficiently empowered to induce satisfaction with the Kashmir constituency’s role within current geopolitical realities, such that a dis-empowered populace does not succumb to ministrations of destructive ideologies.
Prime Minister Modi's BJP-led federal government is intent on creating a political abyss in Jammu and Kashmir. 

With the continued detention of several elected legislators and parliamentarians in the union territory, any potential opposition to the revocation of the autonomous status of J & K is being nipped in the bud. 
Indigenous political institutions, which were already eroded, are now being decimated. 

While regional political parties in J & K might have had eroded mass bases, it cannot be denied that they are cadre-based.
A democracy should be about strengthening grass-roots institutions, which are not limited to Village Councils and Block Development Councils.

Much to the BJP's chagrin, Village Councils and Block Development Councils cannot replace cadre-based political parties. Nor can legitimate political dissent be stifled forever. 
Democracies thrive on differences of opinions, not on gagging those who might not be on the same page.

Instead of deterring the growth of democracy and depoliticizing the people, the goal should have been to empower the populace of Jammu and Kashmir. 
The creation of a "third-front," comprising carpetbaggers, will not fill the enforced political vacuum in J & K.

The people of J & K should be sufficiently empowered to induce satisfaction with the Kashmir constituency’s role within current geopolitical realities, such that a dis-empowered populace does not succumb to ministrations of destructive ideologies.

NOTE: A native of Kashmir, Dr. Nyla Ali Khan is a professor at Rose State College in Midwest City and visiting professor at the University of Oklahoma in Norman. Her essays and analyses have appeared in publications around the world, including in The City Sentinel newspaper and on the CapitolBeatOK.com website. This essay is adapted from a recent online post, and the preface is added with her kind permission. 

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