Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) released its electoral manifesto on Monday, and as expected it contains radical proposals on the country’s Kashmir policy. The Hindu nationalist ruling party vowed to strip decades-old special rights from the people of occupied Kashmir, and pave the way for what would be a complete annexation of the disputed territory.

Article 35A enshrines Kashmir’s special constitutional status and prevents outsiders from buying property there. It also maintains the region as a semi-autonomous part of the country; in anticipation of the plebiscite that will finally decide the fate of the Kashmiri people. Repealing the law, and doubling down on the stringent policing laws which govern the land – as BJP has maintained that it will – will take away the last peg that had held aloft the hope for a peaceful resolution of the crisis and would forcibly integrate the valley into India. Coupled with this would be widespread demographic changes planned by the BJP, which would dilute the ethnic Muslim Kashmiri population to such an extent that their right to self-determination would be irreparably damaged.

The people of Kashmir cannot be expected to take such draconian dictation without a fight. As expected the political leaders of the valley have warned the BJP that following such as policy would have catastrophic consequences. Farooq Abdullah, president of Kashmir’s National Conference party, told an election rally, “Let them do it and it will pave the way for our azadi, they are wrong. We will fight against it.” Meanwhile Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, the leader of a left party in Kashmir, warned of “disastrous and unimaginable repercussions”.

BJP must pay heed to these challenges. Under its reign the valley has become a burning battleground and with this move they intend to recklessly escalate the conflict even further.