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News Analysis: Kashmiris wary of a Modi-led India

English.news.cn   2014-05-18 19:11:21

 • The majority of people in the region have fears that Narendra Modi would follow an anti-Muslim agenda.
 • People in the region have fears that BJP would try to abrogate Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.
 • Modi is a controversial figure and has been blamed for doing little to stop 2002 religious riots in Gujarat.

By Peerzada Arshad Hamid

SRINAGAR, Indian-controlled Kashmir, May 18 (Xinhua)-- As rightwing Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) swept polls across India and Narendra Modi all set to become the next prime minister, the majority of people in the restive region have fears that he would follow an anti-Muslim agenda.

Indian-controlled Kashmir is a Muslim majority region and with BJP winning with absolute majority, people have apprehensions that Modi would work toward fulfilling the BJP election manifesto. "We have example of Gujarat carnage 2002 to judge Modi and then there is BJP's communal manifesto,"said Ghulam Mohammed, a Srinagar resident."We have our own fears and BJP has a communal agenda, let us hope he proves us wrong this time."

People in the region have fears that BJP would try to abrogate Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.

The Article 370 is a special provision that grants special status to Indian-controlled Kashmir, which otherwise is not applicable to any other Indian state within the Union of India.

Though Modi, during his visit to the restive region last year, said they would like to initiate a debate over Article 370, a demand then seen as the departure from BJP's long-held position.

However, Modi's words seemed short-lived as the demand for abrogation of Article 370 figured conspicuously in BJP's 2014 election manifesto. The BJP has always demanded the abrogation of Article 370.

The construction of Ram Temple in Indian state of Uttar Pradesh on the disputed site of Babri Mosque has also figured in their agenda.

However, separatist groups are divided over Modi's rise with hardliners saying he would maintain a status quo and moderates hoping that the BJP would try to emulate former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's posture vis--vis Kashmir.

The moderate faction of the separatist alliance Hurriyat ( Freedom)Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said he hopes the new government in New Delhi would start a meaningful dialogue with Islamabad involving Kashmiris aimed at resolving the Kashmir dispute. "I am hopeful that contrary to past, the new dispensation in New Delhi would apprise people in India about the historical issues connected with Kashmir dispute and would take bold steps to start a meaningful dialogue with Islamabad involving Kashmiris to resolve the Kashmir dispute once and all,"Farooq said. "The change of government in India is meaningless for Kashmiris unless it brings changes in its policies and attitude toward the lingering Kashmir issue."

Farooq said the BJP and its allies won the elections in India on the agenda of development and a promise to end poverty but, according to him, poverty in India cannot be eradicated without resolving the Kashmir issue. "It is a stark reality that poverty and poor economy of Indians and millions of people residing in South Asia will not end until the Kashmir issue gets resolved as per the wishes and aspirations of people,"he said."Indian defense expenditure has already passed the 48 billion dollar mark and more than 40 percent of Indian population lives below the poverty line."

Indian history is chequered with Hindu-Muslim riots. Hindu nationalists, reports said, fanned the enmity and polarized the situation in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar as the two states witnessed killings of Muslims.

Modi is a controversial figure in Indian politics and has been blamed for doing little to stop 2002 religious riots in Gujarat.

The pogrom, worst in recent Indian history, saw more than 1000 Muslims killed and thousands more displaced across Gujarat in 2002. Modi has consistently denied any wrongdoing during riots.

But Syed Ali Geelani, chairman of hardliner Hurriyat Conference, said the election results in India would have little impact on Kashmir. "The BJP and Congress are two facets of the same coin and the transfer of power from Congress to BJP doesn't matter for us because we are striving for complete freedom of Indian-controlled Kashmir from Indian rule,"Geelani said.

He said Congress, wearing the secular mask, has over the past 67 years massacred innocent Muslims of India and Kashmir and 36, 000 anti-Muslim riots have taken place during its rule. "The shameful act of Babri Masjid demolition was performed by BJP and Shiv Sena under the patronage of Congress government," Geelani said."Sikhs and Christians were massacred during Congress rule and Congress, by force and military might, had brought the whole South Asia on the verge of nuclear war."

Rights activists in the region said Modi's victory in elections means the unmasking of India's secular image. "Congress party was doing everything wearing a secular mask but now that Modi will be the Indian prime minister, the real face of India will be visible," said Khurram Parvez, coordinator Coalition of Civil Societies.

However, political analysts said it was too early to comment on Modi's governance and his policies. "We will have to wait and watch,"said Sheikh Showkat, a political analyst."With the new Modi-led NDA government in India, Kashmir issue will either get solved or the problem will worsen."

Related:

Modi may be sworn in as new Indian PM on May 21

NEW DELHI, May 16 (Xinhua) -- India's hardline Hindu politician Narendra Modi, prime ministerial candidate of the country's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), may be sworn in as the next prime minister on May 21, sources said Friday.

"Modi will be formally elected as the BJP leader by the party Saturday. And the next BJP government is likely to take oath on May 21," said the sources, as the party sets to win 278 seats on its own, six more than the majority mark. Full story

India's main opposition BJP's Modi wins two parliamentary seats

NEW DELHI, May 16 (Xinhua) -- India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi Friday won the seats in two parliamentary constituencies -- Vadodara in western state of Gujarat and Varanasi in northern state of Uttar Pradesh -- where he contested the general elections.

A senior election official confirmed Modi's win, saying he won Vadodara by a record 300,000 votes against his rival Congress candidate while he also got a good number of votes in the holy town of Varanasi, the official said. Full story

 

Editor: Bi Mingxin
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