India’s judges are ignoring the government’s abuses in Kashmir

Oct 03, 2019

TWO MONTHS ago Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, boldly scrapped seven decades of legal precedent. Voiding Jammu & Kashmir’s semi-autonomous status, his government abolished its legislature, sliced the state in two and demoted the new parts to “union territories”, subject to direct rule by the national government in Delhi. The move prompted cheers in much of India, and fury in the former state. It also, inevitably, raised pressing constitutional questions.

But pressing to whom? The 7m people of the Kashmir valley certainly feel some urgency. Since August 5th this overwhelmingly Muslim slice of the state has been under virtual siege, painfully squeezed between some 500,000 itchy-fingered Indian troops and a few hundred armed militants. Wielding draconian anti-terror laws, the government has arrested hundreds, not for any crime but to prevent protests. It has also restricted movement into, out of and around the state and imposed a total block on mobile phones and the internet. Militants and their supporters are enforcing their own blockade in response, forcing schools, shops and markets to close in an open-ended protest strike. “It is suffocating and unbearable,” says a Kashmiri civil servant who is opting to stay with relatives in Delhi. “Young people especially are going crazy, with nothing to do except dream of revenge.”...

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