Distinguished Professor Ali Riaz has published two commentaries on the ongoing crisis in the Indian administered state of Jammu and Kashmir.
He warned that the Indian government’s measures will have serious repercussions not only for India but also for the entire South Asia region. Hindu nationalist BJP government abrogated the constitutional provisions which provided limited autonomy to the state and allowed the state government to decide who are the permanent residents of the state. On 5 August, the parliament revoked Articles 370 and 35A, effective since 1954. The new law also downgraded the state to a union territory, meaning establishing a complete control of New Delhi.
Riaz, in his commentary titled ‘Revocation of Article 379: Why Now?’ published in the Daily Star on August 16 argued that the unilateral decision of the central government is an indication of authoritarian bent of the Narendra Modi-led government. He writes that the step is a part of the belligerent-exclusionary ultra-nationalist agenda of the BJP. He also described the proximate factors such as the weakness of the Indian opposition parties.
Riaz, in his commentary published in Bengali in the website of the Deutsche Walle, the German international broadcaster, mentioned that neighboring Pakistan’s economic woes have also played into timing of the decision. India and Pakistan have fought thrice over Kashmir since 1947. Riaz referring to the complete communication blackout and presence of military forces in the state, writes, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi has described the revocation as “unshackling of Kashmiris”, Kashmiris are witnessing shackles all around them.
Riaz was also interviewed by the BBC Bangla radio on the crisis on August 16.