Arriving at the helm of India seven years ago, Narendra Modi made two ambitious promises to the most radical fringe of the Hindu nationalist sphere, the unwavering base of his electorate: to build a Hindu temple on the ruins of the Ayodhya Mosque, and make irreversible India’s sovereignty over Kashmir, the country’s only Muslim-majority region, which Pakistan has claimed since the partition of 1947.

The first of these projects is becoming reality, since, despite the Covid-19 epidemic, the excavators have been at work for almost a year in the holy city of Uttar Pradesh, to bring out earth a monumental religious building to the glory of the divinity Rama, symbol, according to the Minister of the Interior Amit Shah, of “The opening of a new era” in India.

The second project has just taken a decisive step, with the reception of the main leaders of Jammu and Kashmir, the Indian part of Kashmir, by the Prime Minister, on June 24, in Delhi. For the first time since the coup of August 5, 2019, following which they had been placed under house arrest and cut off from the world for several months, leading politicians, including several former heads of the regional executive, were are found facing the two men who had ordered their arrest: Narendra Modi and Amit Shah.

Surrealist encounter

One can imagine how the tension must have been palpable. Among them, Mehbooba Mufti, president of the Democratic People’s Party of Jammu and Kashmir (PDP), who had ruled the region in coalition with the ruling Indian People’s Party (BJP), since the death of her father Mufti Mohammad. Sayeed, in January 2016, until the defection of said BJP, in June 2018. Also present were Farooq Abdullah, member of the Lok Sabha, the Federal Chamber of Deputies, and president of the National Conference of Jammu and Kashmir (JKNC ), as well as his son Omar, former secretary of state for trade and industry, then for foreign affairs, under the government of the late Atal Bihari Vajpayee, a great figure of the BJP.

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These personalities, having worked with the nationalist right, can hardly be accused of separatism, not to say terrorism, a term that MM. Modi and Shah to qualify any opinion reluctant to their ideology of Hindutva, the school of thought according to which Indian citizenship is intrinsic to the Hindu faith, and vice versa.

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