India follows Israel’s steps for a demographic change in Kashmir

    Palestine and Kashmir – similar story and sadness. A Palestinian calls India’s decision to revoke Articles 370 and 35-A of the Indian Constitution as “Israel-like steps for a demographic change in Kashmir…”

    Ali Abushbak

    Narendra Modi welcoming Benjamin Netanyahu during his visit to India last year (Photo: Netanyahu Facebook page)

    Palestinians have followed what happened in Jammu and Kashmir closely. They expressed their concern over Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to block the right of the state of Jammu and Kashmir to frame its own laws and not allow non-residents to buy property there.

    “We face the same fate. The similarity is freedom and self-determination, and I think that is the birth-right of us” says Mohammed, a Palestinian student in Al-Azhar University.

    “My heart aches when I read there are people from democratic India who are suffering just because they have a dream called self-determination.”

    Notably, the relation between Palestine and India has been very deep. Historically, India, advocating the Palestinian cause, also supported the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and he visited Delhi in 1982. But now Palestinians feel that Indian and Israeli have a very close relationship, especially after the reciprocal visits between Israeli and Indian Prime Ministers, the days of close relationship between Palestine and India may be nearing its end.

    “In fact, the first time I heard about the Kashmir issue when I was in high school. We studied about it as a disputed territory between India, Pakistan and China.” Esraa Salem, a Palestinian activist on social media wrote.

    “I have many friends from Kashmir, and I used to talk with them, but now I can’t because of the communication blockade.” She continues, “I am so worried about my friends there.”

    Since 5th of August, the Indian government cut off the internet and other communications, after imposing a Curfew and bringing in 30,000 additional troops to the valley. This has made the life of ordinary Kashmiris very miserable.

    In Palestine specifically in Gaza social media activist, they used hashtags as a sign of solidarity with Kashmir and started tweeting about it and highlighted the problems which the people of Kashmir are facing because of incommunicado.

    Mohammed Rashed, who is a Palestinian reporter with a local news website, called India’s decision to revoke Articles 370 and 35-A of the Indian Constitution as “These are Israel-like steps for a demographic change in Kashmir as Israel settlements did in Westbank.”

    “The India and Israel alliance now is a full-blown romance, but Kashmiris and Palestinians are struggling to get the freedom which we still dream. There is no difference between our struggle for liberty.” says Mohammed.

    As many reports in media refer, there is a danger of ethnic cleansing and settler colonialists in Kashmir, which may result in a surge in local militancy, massive intifada (uprising) against the Indian decision.

    Palestinians are afraid of Indian success in Kashmir. They fear that Indian decision may encourage Israel to further change the demography of Palestinian state amid terrible international silence.

    Ali Abushbak is a Palestinian researcher whose work is on the Palestine-Israel conflict and Social Media

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