In the final week of October, the Narendra Modi-led government trumpeted the news that it was finally relaxing restrictions on international observers entering Kashmir, which has been under a communications blockade since August 5. Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) fulfilled the 70-year-old vision of its parent organization, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), to scrap the region’s special status and end its political autonomy completely by reading down Article 370.
Earlier this week, a delegation of European Union Members of Parliament, announced Modi’s government, would tour Kashmir. The announcement swiftly gathered political storm as more details emerged: It was not an official delegation, but rather a sponsored trip arranged by a private party friendly to Modi. Moreover, the majority of the two dozen visiting MEPs hailed from extreme right-wing political parties, including Germany’s neo-Nazi Alternative für Deutschland—a party which will likely soon be headed by Björn Höcke, who has criticized Germany’s Holocaust commemoration policies and declared as his platform: “We want Germany to remain German.”
The delegation was clearly a handpicked assortment of right wing EU parliamentarians willing to accept an all-expenses paid Potemkin village tour of Kashmir in exchange pumping pro-RSS propaganda on their return to Europe— a ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch your back’ initiative which mutually legitimized the far-right in both India and Europe.