Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to deliberate Jammu and Kashmir’s autonomy

Farooq Khan EPA

Photo: Farooq Khan/EPA

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet with political leaders in New Delhi today to discuss the restoration of autonomy to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).

In August of 2019 India’s lower house passed the J&K Reorganization Act, which transformed the special semi-autonomous status of the region into two union territories: J&K and Ladakh. The bill prompted protests from regional activists, and New Delhi responded with arrests and internet blackouts. In today’s meeting the Gupkar Declaration will demand for the release of political prisoners and for the return of J&K’s semi-autonomy.

For J&K, a return to the status-quo ante is unlikely. India’s parliament, led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), opposes reversing the revocation of Article 370, which reserved the region’s autonomy. Although Modi aims to restore relations and resume political talks with the Gupkar Alliance he will refrain from making any commitments such as reinstating autonomy as Modi’s aim is for the region to remain administered under New Delhi’s influence. New Delhi’s medium- to long term-scheme is to redraw the boundaries J&K which will tilt future elections in the territory towards the Hindu majority in Jammu, thereby ensuring BJP can continue its repression and absorption of Muslim majority Kashmir.

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