Kashmiris have every reason to worry that the protests in India will preempt political focus on the occupation & lockdown of Kashmir. They worked tirelessly for years on social media to overcome the news blackout that had prevailed for decades only to have the internet shut down. But the two struggles are yoked by India’s thrust toward Hindutva fascism using Kashmiris & Indian Muslims as Nazi Germany used Jews & Roma.

The protests against the Citizenship Act & National Register of Citizens are not a case of ‘chickens coming home to roost’ but a chance for Kashmiri activists to finally drive home the solidarity they’ve been trying to build for 72 years. The fate of Kashmiris (in their majority but not all Muslims) is inextricably linked to the struggle against pogroms, mob violence, & lynchings of Muslims in India. They are also yoked within the broader arena of the Islamophobic ‘war on terror’, tying them to the struggles of the Uyghur, Rohingya, Somalians, Palestinians, Yemenis, Syrians, Iraqis, Afghans, Sri Lankans, & so many others enduring colonial wars & genocide.

What happens in India regarding Kashmir & the anti-Muslim legislation will not stay in India but has far-reaching international repercussions for advancing or thrusting back the tsunami of extreme right governments on every continent.

Kashmiris have long been in the vanguard of international solidarity with the oppressed despite the brutal occupation & attacks on protesters. We cannot, for one moment, turn our attention away from the occupation & lockdown or four months will become permanent. Their struggle remains one of the most important freedom struggles of our times.

This is a Kashmiri woman protester with salt on her face against tear gas. This photo is from late November taken at a protest during the lockdown. International media is no longer reporting from Kashmir most likely because they’re afraid of Indian genocide. The telecommunications blockade is a call to action, not a cause to turn our attention from Kashmir. Through solidarity, the protests in India present an opportunity to broaden the Kashmiri struggle, not weaken it.

#StandWithKashmir #StandWithTheProtestersInIndia

(Photo by Masrat Zahra/TRT World)

This moment when three young women & one man student surrounded a mate & defied police truncheons to protect her from attack by Indian police in New Delhi will become an iconic historic moment not only in the struggle against Hindutva fascism but in the history of human resistance to tyranny.

“I rebel, therefore we exist.” –Albert Camus

(Photographer has not been identified)

This is a really excellent explanation by Anmol Chawla of what the Citizenship Act & National Register of Citizens means for Muslims, especially working class & poor, across India. It resonates in a thundering way with what Nazi Germany did to Jews, Roma, the disabled, homosexuals, socialists & communists.

I’ve been seeing this question pop up on quite a few timelines, maybe innocently or maybe just to confuse people. Regardless, let me try and explain in very simple terms, why this Act is ominous and is tearing apart our country.

Firstly, it’s not a Bill anymore (CAB), it’s been passed by both Houses of Parliament and it is now an Act (CAA). Also, the CAA is toothless without the NRC. To see the bigger picture, you have to look at BOTH of these together.

FACT1: The Home Minister of our Country has announced that NRC, which was implemented in Assam, is now going to be rolled out across the country. Everyone living in India will soon need to prove their citizenship.

FACT2: A PAN card or an AADHAR card is not proof that you are an Indian citizen.

FACT3: Detention centres are being built all across the nation.

These are facts and they are undisputed. Digest that for a minute.

Now let’s look at what happened in Assam when the NRC was rolled out. These are the words of Harsh Mander “I have witnessed the incredible levels of suffering created by the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam. Impoverished rural people, often landless and unlettered, staked all their meagre belongings and many years to gather documents to prove that they were citizens. These certificates of birth, schooling, land-ownership and voters’ lists dating back several decades are such that most of us would find impossible to muster. Even a small discrepancy in spelling was sufficient for these documents to be rejected. The consequences of such rejection were catastrophic. You could be sent to detention centres for years, with no hope of release. Finding names missing from the NRC lists, or when loved ones were exiled to detention centres, several committed suicide in despair.”

19 lakh (1.9 million) people were not able to prove their citizenship. Right now, we’re still talking about human beings across caste, creed and colour. In fact, out of these 1.9 million people, only less than one-third were found to be Muslims.

It is this that the CAA will change. In the nationwide NRC declared by Union home minister Amit Shah, now undocumented people of any religious identity EXCEPT Muslim will be treated as refugees and given citizenship. Only undocumented Muslims will be treated as illegal immigrants, carted away to detention centres and in all likelihood divested of all citizenship rights — of voting, land ownership and social security. This is only Assam; extrapolate this across the country! Millions of Muslims, from the poorest sections of our country, who are unable to produce the necessary documents, are going to get stuffed into detention centres all over India.

The process that has been devised is like a funnel. At the top-of-the-funnel (TOFU) there’s all of us. In the middle-of-the-funnel (MOFU) there’s everyone unable to prove (and unable to afford to buy the necessary papers to prove) their citizenship. Right at the bottom-of-the-funnel (BOFU) there’s only the Muslims who can’t prove (and can’t afford to buy the necessary papers to prove) their citizenship.

Going from TOFU to MOFU is itself going to be a herculean, massively expensive and massively corrupt process. Do you remember demonetization? The people that did the jugaar got away scot free, and the politicians, middle men and some corrupt bankers got rich. How will this be different? Does India have the money to carry out this exercise? Has anyone budgeted it? Has anyone estimated the expense? Has anyone planned anything except meaningless, jingoistic, rhetorical statements?

And then, after hundreds of thousands of crores have been spent, and all 1.3 billion of us have been whetted by the powers that be, there will be a final report card, leaving millions of people at the bottom of the funnel, who will be carted away to detention centres. Every single one of those people will be Muslim, because that is what this evil Act has been designed to do.

For the first time, in the history of Free India, a very specific section of the country is being openly targeted. This is what the students are protesting about. This is why India is burning right now. Do you think the students at IIT Madras, IIT Bombay and scores of other academic institutions of this country are BRAINWASHED MASSES? They are at the forefront, leading the country through Protest. More power to them!

I’ll end with Harsh Mander’s words “This graded citizenship brings back, among other histories, terrifying memories of Nazi Germany. Another remembrance of those times is the silence and indifference of non-Jew Germans. Anguished young Germans interrogate their parents and grandparents even today: “How could you have remained silent? What did you do to resist?” Decades later, these same questions will doubtless be asked of us. What answers will we give our later generations?”

#CAA #NRC #WeAreAllInTheFunnelNow #SpreadAwareness

Undercover & uniformed police in India are vandalizing, torching busses, & now smashing bikes, which they blame on protesters. But video documentation shows police doing it. That’s why they’re snapping the internet all over India. As in Kashmir, so goes India.

One of the hardest things to swallow is seeing some Palestinian activists saluting the Assad dictatorship’s flag & smearing the Syrian Arab Spring as terrorist.

Some Indian knuckleheads are tweeting that protesters have a right to peacefully protest their opinions but their violence & disruption is undermining Indian democracy. Do you laugh, do you cry, or do you just write them off as political halfwits? Undermining Indian democracy is not grasping that the violence comes entirely from police attacks on unarmed protesters, not understanding that the occupation & lockdown of Kashmir & the legalization of persecuting Indian Muslims is a giant step toward fascism, & from not being out there with those protesters.

Kashmiri activists have often expressed indignation at the lack of active solidarity from Indian Muslims who have sustained horrific pogroms, mob violence, & lynchings. This article by Ashok Swain is quite useful in elaborating the role Indian Muslims are now playing in the struggle against the Citizenship Law & National Register of Citizens which legalize the persecution of Muslims. This can change the relationship of Indian Muslims to the Kashmiri struggle since they are now, beyond question, inextricably related.