Decline of BJP and Opposition to India’s policies 

The tide is turning

The situation in Manipur serves as an example of the human rights violations against minorities in India. The region is facing persistent human rights challenges due to armed conflicts involving insurgent groups, state forces, and paramilitary organizations. Numerous cases of extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detentions, and allegations of torture have raised concerns about accountability and transparency. The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) has been a contentious issue, granting broad powers to security forces and facing criticism for potential human rights abuses. The prolonged conflict in Manipur disproportionately affects women, who often find themselves vulnerable to violence and abuse.

Journalists and activists in Manipur also face challenges in exercising their freedom of expression, with instances of harassment, intimidation, and attacks limiting their ability to report on human rights abuses and other public concerns. A free and vibrant media is crucial for fostering transparency and accountability in any society, but India has failed to ensure it in this context.

The region of Jammu and Kashmir has long been a source of geopolitical tension and conflict between India and Pakistan. In the context of Indian-administered Kashmir, human rights violations have garnered international concern.

Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed intermittent civilian casualties by the Indian army. The substantial presence of the Indian Army has been linked to reports of human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detentions, and allegations of torture. The impact of armed conflict on the civilian population has been a central concern for international observers. The Indian government’s implementation of communication blackouts and internet restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir hvws faced criticism for impeding information flow, limiting freedom of expression, and hindering access to essential services.

The use of pellet guns by security forces has been a contentious issue, resulting in severe injuries, including blindness. This has raised questions about the proportionality of force used in managing protests and civil unrest. Reports of arbitrary detentions and restrictions on individuals’ movement have sparked concerns about civil liberties. Preventive detention laws have been criticized for enabling authorities to detain individuals without formal charges, sometimes for extended periods. Minority communities, such as Kashmiri Pandits and indigenous groups, have encountered challenges due to the conflict, including the forced displacement of Kashmiri Pandits in the early 1990s.

The complex and multifaceted nature of human rights challenges in India has brought the situation in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir to international attention. Various countries and human rights organizations have called for a peaceful resolution and expressed concerns over reported human rights violations. Diplomatic efforts to facilitate dialogue between India and Pakistan are deemed essential for long-term stability and human rights protection in the region, although India has shown reluctance to address human rights concerns in Occupied Kashmir and has not granted the right of self-determination to Kashmiris, as outlined in UN regulations.

The BJP’s electoral setback is seen by some as the beginning of its decline. The failure of the Hindutva ideology in India serves as a lesson that extremism lacks durability and cannot sustain itself in the long run. A gentle approach, addressing all issues equally and transparently, appears to be more effective in winning the hearts of the people. This situation in India serves as an eye-opener for extremists, Anti State elements and Separatists, that to live with Pakistan is better than to be with India or remain independent.

The Indian populace is increasingly aware of Prime Minister Modi’s intentions to transform India from a secular state into a Hindu-centric nation. Frustration with the policies of the Modi government and its human rights violations against minorities has grown, leading to a decline in support for the BJP-led government. Calls for independence from India have been heard in Ladakh/Kargil and other parts of the country. Recently, Kashmiris in the Indian-administered territory showed defiance and mistrust toward the Modi regime. In a recent election in Ladakh, out of 26 seats, the BJP only secured two, signaling a shift in public sentiment.

Earlier this year, India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) faced a significant setback as voters in Karnataka state rejected the Hindu-nationalist policies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party in crucial local elections, marking the loss of its only stronghold in the country’s south. Karnataka had served as a testing ground, or “laboratory,” for the BJP’s right-wing Hindu-nationalist ideology, known as Hindutva. Some analysts view this defeat as a potential sign of challenges for Modi as he seeks to secure a momentous second decade in power.

In the state’s legislative assembly, the opposition Congress party emerged victorious with 135 seats, compared to the BJP’s 66 seats, providing Modi’s opponents with momentum as they gear up to challenge the populist leader in next year’s general election. Karnataka, with an 84% Hindu population among its 65 million residents, witnessed a BJP campaign heavily tailored to appeal to this majority. In recent years, the state has enacted legislation rooted in Hindutva, such as banning the sale and slaughter of cows, considered sacred to Hindus. Additionally, a controversial anti-conversion bill was passed, making it more challenging for interfaith couples to marry. Last year, Karnataka also banned Muslim girls from wearing the hijab in educational institutes, leading to protests and deepening religious tensions.

The BJP’s electoral setback is seen by some as the beginning of its decline. The failure of the Hindutva ideology in India serves as a lesson that extremism lacks durability and cannot sustain itself in the long run. A gentle approach, addressing all issues equally and transparently, appears to be more effective in winning the hearts of the people. This situation in India serves as an eye-opener for extremists, Anti State elements and Separatists, that to live with Pakistan is better than to be with India or remain independent.

The conditions in Pakistan seem more favorable than those in India, providing all citizens with the freedom to move, reside, and work anywhere in Pakistan and AJK. The law and order situation is deemed satisfactory, with minorities enjoying respect and equal rights. The overall improved situation is attributed to the security and safety measures upheld by Pakistan and the Pakistan Army. People in Pakistan acknowledge the advantages of residing in the country and actively contributing to its strength.

Abdul Basit Alvi
Abdul Basit Alvi
The writer is a freelance columnist

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