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Kashmir matters

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RELATIONS between India and Pakistan have nosedived since Narendra Modi became prime minister in 2014. If anyone thought that he would make up the loss by a conciliatory policy towards Kashmiris, they were mistaken. It was never part of his agenda. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) would have none of it. The game is to accuse dissent within Kashmir as a movement that is Pakistani sponsored, and ruthlessly crush it.

At least a decade ago, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq had warned that alienation was on the rise and leaders of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference were fast losing influence over the insurgents. He has nothing to offer them except snubs.

Muslim-majority Kashmir was an eyesore. Modi aspired to plant an RSS-led government there backed by a massive Jammu vote and a few seats from the Valley won by hirelings. Coalition was the first step. The goal is to fulfil the aim of repealing Article 370 of India’s constitution, which guarantees Kashmir’s autonomy, and its corollary Article 35-A. It guarantees its “permanent resid­ents” special rights and privileges on acquisition of immoveable property on employment by the government, barring non-Kashmiris.

No conflict rooted in the people’s sentiments can be crushed by force.

Petitions are........

© Dawn