Modi's brutal annexation of state follows the letter Israel-Palestine to the letter


Last week we saw the British television personality Bear Grylls turn pale with Narendra Modi for his latest naturalistic adventure, Man vs Wild. The unlikely couple smiled at the cameras as the Indian prime minister was questioned about a series of problems during a survival special that opened at the foot of the Himalayas.

As was predictable, the dialogue was supercile and invented. What amounted to the reality of television propaganda made no reference to the millions of Muslims who feared for their future in Jammu and Kashmir, a much more dangerous region than the Asian mountain range.

The notoriously warlike Modi – an extremist Hindu nationalist – deprived Jammu and Kashmir of his autonomous status, spilling tens of thousands more Indian troops into the already heavily militarized region. The dissidents were arrested without trial, as a communications blackout and curfew intensified the blockade.

Those who organize public protests have complained increase violence against them, including the use of pellet guns that can easily cause blindness. Indian forces are accused of kidnapping and detaining hundreds of Kashmir boys and harassing women and girls in nightly incursions.

India and Pakistan claim Kashmir (which is also partially shared with China) in its entirety, and have often gone to war against it. About 70,000 people have been killed and many more injured during the related ailments over the past 40 years.

The end of a status that Muslims living there took for 71 years could not be more provocative. Modi wants the occupation to result in non-Kashmiri Indians moving into the region, thus contributing to suffocating long-standing aspiration to Kashmir independence.

As the repression becomes more savage, Grylls' bizarre decision to act as a propagandist for Modi is overshadowed by the collaboration of the Indian leader with his Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu. Their deformed advertising shots include a series of images of the portly couple splashing around in the sea. They visited each other and exchanged trivial compliments on social media.

"I hope our friendship continues to thrive and grow further," Modi told Netanyahu on Twitter.

The stories of modern India and Israel are certainly very similar. It was in July 1949 that, after the exit of Great Britain from the subcontinent, India and Muslim Pakistan declared a ceasefire line within Kashmir. This was a year after the founding of Israel led to the forced expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their own homeland. In both cases, the result was a state of permanent conflict.

Now the politicians of the opposition in the Pakistani National Assembly are among those who have accused Modi of wanting the global flashpoint of Kashmir to be even more like Israel-Palestine. The ethnic cleansing and colonialism of the settlers will characterize the new planned order imposed by the direct rule of New Delhi. As in Palestine, a ruthless army full of weapons provided by Western powers will repress all forms of dissent, including possible Kashmir intifada attempts.

Modi's long-standing hatred of Muslims will allow the radical Hindus who support him to change the demographic data of Kashmir, introducing the kind of ultranationalist fanatics who are currently taking part in illegal land seizures in Palestine.

He recalls that Modi was the governor of the Indian state of Gujarat when a mass pogrom led to the murder of about 2,000 Muslims in 2002. An angry mob carried out the carnage in response to allegations that 58 Hindu pilgrims had been killed when it was mounted a fire railway carriage. The savage attacks also included rape, as thousands of Muslims were forced to flee their homes.

Anyone who has studied the figures of the victims of the recent Israeli-Palestinian conflicts will notice the parallel with what happened in Gujarat. In 2014, Israeli forces killed more than 2,000 Palestinians, including over 850 children, women and OAPs. Infrastructures, including homes and medical facilities, have been decimated. Israel lost six civilians (one of whom was a Thai citizen) due to bombs fired from Gaza and 67 soldiers due to attacks, following their invasion of the ruined Strip.

The experience of such asymmetric clashes has ensured strong ties between Kashmir and the Palestinians, with both peoples seeing themselves victims of the ruthless expansionism of an imperialist neighbor. In turn, and as shown by the love of Modi-Netanyahu, India sees Israel as a dear ally with which it can exchange ideas on everything from forced repression to the expropriation of territory.

Israel is particularly adept at representing any kind of Palestinian resistance as part of an awakening of Islamic extremism that threatens security around the world. All opponents of the Israeli aggression are seen as terrorists intent on massacring. This is precisely the kind of myth that Modi also likes when he considers the Kashmiris as impoverished enemies, arrears that deserve to be destroyed.

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In a televised speech this month, Modi said it was essential to revoke Articles 35A and 370 of the Indian Constitution, which guaranteed a special status for Kashmir. "We will free Jammu and Kashmir from terrorism," he said.

Pakistan has downgraded diplomatic relations, while insisting in the short term "Don't look at military options". As the tensions increase, a more aggressive position is inevitable.

The Israeli model necessarily requires an expansion in the Indian security state to "protect" only Hindu settlements in Jammu and Kashmir. Meanwhile, like the Israelis, Indians are pushing the narrative that they are exceptional democrats who need to resist majority-Muslim states. It is a brutal narrative that ultimately aims to present the victims of an ambitious and cruel regime as aggressors.

As Modi and Netanyahu's colonial policies progress, they will continue to look to each other for support, desperately trying to convince the world that what they are doing is right and appropriate. It is a monstrous collaboration that will intensify conflicts in some parts of the world where peace now looks farther than ever.

. (tagsToTranslate) Narendra Modi (t) Bear Grylls (t) Benjamin Netanyahu (t) Jammu and Kashmir (t) Voices


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