“Kashmir is a signal for us, It’s a warning for us to be very careful about this government”; Akhu Chingangbam

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The BJP led government abrogated articles 370 and 35 A and Kashmir is enduring an unprecedented siege. As a Manipuri how do you see this situation?

I feel article 370 was just there for namesake as India never respected it. Whatever the Indian government and Indian army had been doing in Kashmir was the same, they had been treating Kashmiris in a similar way for the past seven decades. I think people are more aware of the situation now as they scrapped these articles. Before that itself they were treating the people in the same manner. I think here the Indian government would be exposed, now everyone globally is getting to know the way they treat a particular community.

Manipur also is militarized in the similar way, every nook and corner is occupied by the Indian army from before. Kashmir is a good example now to prove they can do anything wherever they want. Specifically in North East, which is not part of ‘cow belt area’, they can do whatever they want. It’s a signal for us. It’s a warning for us to be very careful about this government. That’s what India had been doing towards the minorities. 

Regarding North East, Indians are now talking about article 371 and how they fantasise of scrapping it. But for the North East the real scary thing is the Citizenship Amendment Bill (2016). Imagine they scrap 371 and pass CAB. demographically north east will become the ‘cow belt’. It will totally destroy our culture, history, identity, etc. And I am sure it must be one of the dreams of this government under their one nation one religion goal.

Media houses like NDTV made their stand clear that they consider Kashmir as an integral part of india. What you have to say about this and the arrest and attack on press rights of Kashmiri journalists?

It is funny we have seen it before. The liberal Indians would support Palestine but they would never support Kashmir’s fight for self determination. The Indian media is an example of that.

A series of constitutional amendments were executed in parliament recently. What do you have to say about Indians who are silently watching these aggressive developments?

More than half of Indians selected this fascist government. So I am not surprised the whole country is quiet. And I believe UAPA bill is a real threat to all the activists and concerned citizens. The government knows how people would react to what they are doing with Kashmir that’s why they need such draconian and inhuman bill.

Akhu Chingangbam is the founder of Manipuri political rock band Imphal Talkies.

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