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Winning Kashmir and Losing India

How Modi Is Gutting Indian Democracy

An Indian paramilitary soldier in Srinagar, the capital of Indian-administered Kashmir, in September 2019 Javed Dar / Xinhua / eyevine /​ Redux

In a sweeping and controversial move on August 5, India transformed its relationship to the disputed territory of Kashmir. The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose to eliminate Article 370 of the Indian constitution, which for seven decades had granted Kashmir a special status within India. The decision effectively quashed any lingering Kashmiri hopes for self-determination and bound Kashmir more closely to India, reducing it from a state to a “union territory” administered directly from New Delhi. Anticipating outrage and protest, the Indian government placed the Kashmir Valley—where most of the state’s Muslim-majority population lives—under lockdown, arresting local politicians, cutting off communications, limiting movement, and flooding Kashmir with troops. 

Though it took many by surprise, the decision to abrogate Article 370 didn’t come out of nowhere. Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had long harbored the desire to revoke Kashmir’s nominal autonomy and normalize its status

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