Two years ago, on 5 August 2019, India revoked Article 370 and Article 35A of the Indian constitution relating to the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir, effectively dividing the state into two Union territories. Two years later, a barrage of questions still lurks and await answers. Why would India make such a move when it knew that this would evoke an across-the-board resistance by the Kashmiris? What good could possibly come out of assaulting the very identity of Kashmiris? How would the Modi government extricate itself from this messy situation that it brought upon itself? So many questions, yet so few answers. We need to address these troubling questions for the larger interest of peace in South Asia.
Let us first try to understand the motives behind India’s 5 August 2019 actions. Ideologically, this move was aligned with the goal of the Modi-led BJP government to create a Hindu Rashtra, which by definition has little space for minorities. Jammu and Kashmir being a Muslim majority state was viewed as an obstacle to the BJP ambition, and was thus annexed as two Union territories. The RSS philosophy, which drives the politics of BJP, is an exclusionary ideology, and has posed a direct challenge to those Indians who want to see India identified with secularism and pluralism. That means the Indian polity is now poised for a commotion that could threaten its internal peace and harmony.