Saffronisation is not a new phenomenon, in fact, it has seeped into the national conscience of India. It refers to the policies of Hindu right-wing nationalists (Hindutva) to recognize the glory of ancient Hindu culture. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has frequently alleged for its fascist policies especially during the era of Nerendra Modi and now in the revocation of the Article 370.

The government’s abrogation of the provisions of Article 370 and the bifurcation of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) into two union territories – Ladakh and J&K has evoked little response from governments across the world. Pakistan has been the only country to condemn India’s move. Declaring that Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir is an internationally recognized disputed territory, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) in Islamabad stated, “As the party to this international dispute, Pakistan will exercise all possible options to counter the illegal steps.”

While Pakistan has long sought to internationalise the Kashmir dispute, it will be introspecting about whether Prime Minister Imran Khan meeting with President Donald Trump to offer his services in mediating the Kashmir dispute will have any solid foundation or not?

The people of Kashmir expressed apprehensions about a new cycle of violence in the Valley, with many saying that scrapping of Article 370, which gave special status to the state, could lead to change in its Muslim-majority identity. They are shocked and disappointed by the decision, the scrapping means that the state will lose its Muslim-majority character. Though the state’s ruling parties rendered the Article a mere skeleton over the last 70 years in collusion with the different governments at the centre, its scrapping is bound to aggravate the people to vent their anger. It is very unfortunate that the BJP government has taken a decision which is going to create more resentment among the masses rather than bringing peace.

A senior Congress leader and Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha - the upper house of India’s parliament said, ‘’the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has murdered the constitution. It has murdered democracy. These people (the BJP) have come to power lately. They do not know, have not considered the strategic aspects to play around with border state, its people, it is being a traitor to the country. The Congress never imagined that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government can go this far to wipe out the existence of Jammu and Kashmir State.”

While international human rights groups swiftly condemned the action, Hindu nationalists celebrated, saying this could bring peace and investment to the war-torn region. The voice of the Kashmiris was silenced, as government authorities cut off practically all communication from the area. The moves to change Kashmir’s status were only the first steps in a broader plan to erode Kashmir’s core rights and seed the area with non-Kashmiris, altering the demographics and eventually destroying its character. Previous laws barred outsiders from owning property. This is a clear violation of human rights of Kashmiris.

The Indian government knows how provocative its actions are, which is why, before making the announcement on Monday, it ordered tens of thousands more troops into Kashmir, put major political figures under house arrest, ordered tourists to leave, closed schools and cut off internet services.

Several top Kashmiri politicians were taken into custody. Mehbooba Mufti, a former chief minister of Kashmir, managed to get out a message shortly before she was arrested on Monday night. “The Fifth of August is the blackest day of Indian democracy when its Parliament, like thieves, snatched away everything from the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” she said.

The Indian government claimed it was acting to prevent a planned terrorist attack. But Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP, deeply rooted in Hindu nationalist ideology, have long made no secret of their intention to revoke the articles in the Indian Constitution granting the predominantly Muslim Kashmir a special status - a move the B.J.P. sees as “correcting a historical blunder.”

In this volatile state, India’s latest action provoked instant vows of resistance. The Kashmiris are especially enraged by the lifting of a ban they had long imposed on the purchase of land by non-residents, to prevent their land from being bought up by Indians.

Pakistan is the loudest to voice its opinion against change. Pakistan is always respond promptly when it comes to Kashmir and stated, ‘’Pakistan will exercise all possible options to counter the illegal steps. Kashmir is the jugular vein of Pakistan, and anyone laying a hand on our jugular vein will meet a frightful end.” It will, doubtlessly, accelerate its efforts to further internationalize the issue, arguing, as it has done recently, that there is great danger to regional peace and stability due to India-Pakistan differences on this subject.

India needs to understand that there are a number of international players who have been eager to mediate. US President Donald Trump is only the latest in a longish list. China has in recent times been attempting to play mediator between India and Pakistan, moreover, the current Secretary General of the United Nations António Guterres has also, on numerous occasions in private, offered to help out on this matter, despite being told on all these occasions that the subject will be handled bilaterally. Pakistan will definitely step up its efforts to get any or all of these personalities to play a role to resolve the Kashmir issue.

There is still a good chance that the changes to the Constitution will end up before India’s Supreme Court. But the fires are already lit. The United States and China must not allow Kashmir to become a pawn in their ongoing disputes; on the contrary, the United States, China, the United Nations and other powers with influence over India and Pakistan must urgently do what they can to prevent India’s folly from escalating into a perilous and unpredictable regional crisis.

The writer is a Social Scientist, Research Scholar, Public Policy Analyst and a contributing writer for several international and national newspapers.

In this volatile state, India’s latest action provoked instant vows of resistance