Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dramatic decision to abrogate the special status of Jammu and Kashmir enshrined in Article 370 of the Indian Constitution seems to have taken the world by surprise. It is an extension of the strategy adopted by Narendra Modi in his statecraft, where the dominant factor dictating his policies is its impact on the Hindutva constituency, who openly root for India to adopt a majoritarian character.
Since 5 August 2019, the situation Kashmir Valley, which has been on a lockdown, is tense. While the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Hindutva backers are rejoicing over the decision, many others are justifying it by arguing that Article 370 had not been able to bring peace in the Valley for seven decades, and how this decision could bring about a change. This argument is problematic, as nowhere in the world has a country brought sustainable peace in a region bedeviled by separatism by taking away whatever limited autonomy that the region enjoyed.
This sort of arbitrary centralization has only two outcomes—a violent insurrection leading to the independence of the territory or brutal state repression resulting in massive human rights violation of the rebelling population. As regional geostrategic political environment dictates such outcomes, the first possibility appears bleak in the case of Kashmir, at least at this point of time. Thus, the second outcome is most likely.