Issue Brief on “Modi’s (Partial) Kashmir Conference: Little Hope and More Fears”

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On June 24, 2021, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a meeting with the partial and selected pro-India political leadership of the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) in New Delhi. It was the first political engagement by the ruling Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in nearly 2 years following the revocation of Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution on August 5, 2019, and a strict lockdown and suspension of civil liberties that followed. The latter denied IIOJK of the autonomy and the special status guaranteed constitutionally. In the almost 3-hour long meeting, PM Modi was flanked by his close aide Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah, and the Lieutenant Governor of IIOJK Manoj Sinha. The selected pro-India leadership of the IIOJK comprised of 14 politicians including Mehbooba Mufti of the Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic party (JKPDP), Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah of the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (JKNC), and Ghulam Nabi Azad of the Indian National Congress (INC). Farooq Abdullah of the JKNC is also the President of the electoral alliance named as the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) which seeks the restoration of IIOJK’s statehood. Regrettably, the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC – an alliance of 26 socio-political parties seeking independence from illegal Indian rule) was completely, yet deliberately ignored, whose leaders are jailed.[1] PM Modi’s meeting yielded nothing solid, but fake promises and false assurances.

The intentional and remorseless disregard of the ruling BJP to not inviting leaders belonging to the 26-party APHC to the Kashmir Conference reveal that the Centre is not sincere in normalizing the volatile situation in the IIOJK. Also, the Muslim-politico-religious outlook of the APHC is not acceptable to the Hindu-nationalist BJP, which is in fact a question mark on the secular and pluralist position of the contemporary India. The situation in IIOJK is a matter of grave concern for the international stakeholders as Jammu and the Kashmir valley present a gloomy example of modern-day ghetto, only to be comparable with the Gaza strip under siege.

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