Journal : Global Times (Chinese) Date : Author : Special Correspondent in India Xiao Yun Page No. : 2

Construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya and abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution (abolishing the special status of Indian-administered Kashmir) are regarded as two “Brahmastras” of the Modi government to exploit Hindu nationalist sentiments to “unite” the people. According to the “Times of India” report of the 5th, the first anniversary of repeal of the special status of India-controlled Kashmir, Indian Prime Minister Modi flew to Ayodhya on the same day to attend the foundation stone laying ceremony of the Ram temple and delivered a speech despite the controversy. Modi stressed that the construction of the Rama temple is a “tool” for achieving national unity, and that social harmony is the essence of the spirit of Ram and “also the basis of our culture”.

Agence France-Presse published an article titled, “Kashmir and Ayodhya: Double Victory of Modi and the Hindu Nationalists”, saying that for Modi’s “fans”, both Kashmir and Ayodhya vindicated him as a bold and visionary leader. But his critics believe that Modi is “transforming India into a Hindu country” much to the chagrin of the 200 million Muslims in India. Kugelman, an expert on South Asia at the Wilson Center in the United States, believes that India is facing the dual challenges of the economy and the epidemic. In this context, the Government’s attention to social issues with a nationalist color helps it diffuse pressure and win political support from voters.

Before the ground breaking ceremony, Modi also presided over the launch of the commemorative stamps. Bhagwat, the head of the Hindu nationalist “RSS”, said, “In order to realize the dream of building the Ram temple in Ayodhya, we have worked together with other like-minded organizations for nearly 30 years. Today’s success brings the confidence that India needs for self-reliance”. However, some critics have criticised Modi for attending controversial religious activities as the Prime Minister of the country, for the opposition and tearing of the social fabric this step may arouse in India. For nearly 30 years, Hindus and Muslims have been contesting ownership of the temple site.

August 5 is also the first anniversary of the Modi government’s repealing of Article 370 of the Constitution. The Indian Scroll News Network issued an article on the same day that since August 5 last year, the “government has tried to cover up the terror and control of Kashmir with a picture of a peaceful atmosphere”, while hundreds of politicians and critics identified by the Government as dissidents were under arrest. Telephone landlines, mobile phones and Internet communication services had been interrupted since long and “local citizens’ rights and freedoms violated”. ZeeNews TV station quoted government sources as saying that although the curfew in the capital Srinagar had been lifted, no local political leaders would be allowed to leave their residences on August 5.

A report by a news agency showed that as of July this year, there were a total of about 120 terrorism-related cases reported in the area, compared with 188 cases during the same period last year. Taking into account the impact of the new corona pneumonia epidemic this year, these figures show that the security situation in India-controlled Kashmir had not changed much in the past year. According to statistics from the Indian Health Ministry, the cumulative number of confirmed cases of new corona pneumonia in India had reached approximately 1.908 million, as of the morning of the 5th, of which the cumulative number of confirmed cases in the Indian-Kashmir region was 23,881.

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