'New Kashmir Looks Frightening': Kashmir Times Editor Anuradha Bhasin On A Year After Article 370

Rohini Chatterji
·2-min read
Anuradha Bhasin, editor of Kashmir Times during a discussion on the implications of Kashmir's Media and Communication blackout, organised by Mumbai Press at Azad Maidan, on September 19, 2019 in Mumbai, India. 
Anuradha Bhasin, editor of Kashmir Times during a discussion on the implications of Kashmir's Media and Communication blackout, organised by Mumbai Press at Azad Maidan, on September 19, 2019 in Mumbai, India.

Day after the Narendra Modi government abrogated Article 370 in a shock move, Anuradha Bhasin, the editor of Kashmir Times, approached the Supreme Court. At a time when the then-state of Jammu and Kashmir had been put under complete lockdown — with suspension of telephone services, internet and mobile phone connectivity — Bhasin filed a writ petition demanding the lifting of the restrictions, arguing that it was impossible for journalists to do their jobs under the circumstances.

A year later, while the suspended services are now somewhat functional, Bhasin says the future and the present of the media in Kashmir have never been bleaker, with journalists being charged under terror laws and under the Public Safety Act.

As Prime Minister Modi visits Ayodhya to lay the foundation stone for the Ram Mandir on the anniversary of the abrogation of Article 370, Bhasin said it was a calculated move linked to the assertion of Hindutva.

As Jammu and Kashmir, India’s only Muslim majority state which was demoted into two union territories, stuggles to come to terms with the events of the past year, Bhasin said the BJP and RSS’s idea of a “new” Kashmir was nothing but frightening.

In an interview with HuffPost India over the phone, Bhasin looked back on the year that has been, the grim state of the media at the moment, and the anxieties that the abrogation of Article 370 has triggered.

Edited excerpts:

It has been a year since Article 370 was abrogated. Thousands of Kashmiris are still under detention, including prominent political leaders. In the meantime, the Modi government is going ahead with holding the Ram Temple ceremony in Ayodhya on the same day. Can you tell us the significance of this?

The fusion of the construction of Ram temple and the anniversary of Kashmir is something which is very, very calculated. Both the agendas have been the long-cherished dream of the BJP and the RSS. Both are linked in the sense that they are to the Hindu assertion in one...

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