Hindu nationalist trolls have boasted about finding wives in Kashmir after BJP government stripped the region of constitutional protections.
Since India’s ruling Hindu nationalist party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), unilaterally scrapped Article 370 of the Indian Constitution - a law that gave Kashmir semi-autonomous status -many Indians are eyeing anything and everything that’s Kashmiri.
That includes Kashmiri women.
There is a complete communication clampdown in the valley, which prevents residents from accessing the internet, little do they know what is in the offing for them.
As #Article 370 trended globally, there was a sharp increase in bizarre online posts asserting Hindu supremacy and claiming ownership of women. The posts reeked of objectification with many across India fantasising about marrying ‘white skinned’ Kashmiri girls. Some were even equating property with women.
Article 370 is abolished. Wonderful. Kashmir is now free for those who want to marry (read: rape) Kashmiri women. Who want to buy (grab) Kashmiri land. They are the ones rejoicing the most. These 'tolerant' people. And the best part, it is Naag Panchami today. pic.twitter.com/CTvxrGXFlQ— Hitler Saala Bhadwa Hai 🌈 (@Helga_HuffPuff) August 6, 2019
According to Huffington Post, TikTok, in particular, was full of desperate Indian Hindu men asserting ‘victory’ by claiming that they could now ‘get girls’ from Kashmir. There has been a surge in similar content on Facebook and Twitter.
Some even took it offline. While addressing a gathering about Article 370, Vikram Singh Saini, a politician from the ruling BJP, said the party workers were “excited” by the change as they can now marry “fair girls from Kashmir”. His statement was met with applause.
Nationalists: Win over Kashmiris.— Zainab Sikander (@zainabsikander) August 6, 2019
Show them you care!
BJP MLA VikramSaini: 𝗢.𝗞.
"..party workers are very excited there(Kashmir),those who are bachelor get them married thr I don't have any problem..
...I'm saying this to all Muslim-Hindu boys,go marry with WHITE GIRLS now..." pic.twitter.com/cOw1rnRi3M
The scrapped constitutional provision was a formalisation of the then independent princely state's 1947 accession treaty with India.
The law, Article 370 of the constitution, forbids Indians outside the state from permanently settling, buying land, holding local government jobs, and securing education scholarships.
Critics of such a measure say that in doing away with Article 370, New Delhi hopes to change India-administered Kashmir's Muslim-majority demographics by allowing in a flood of new Hindu residents.
In the last few days, the top searches on Google were ‘Kashmiri women’ or ‘how to marry Kashmiri women’. ‘Kashmir girl pic’ topped the Google trend list in India.
As per real-time google trends in India: Guys from all over India are now looking for Kashmiri girl for marriage and want to buy plot/house/property in Kashmir.— irfan (@simplyirfan) August 6, 2019
After the scrapping of Article 370, Don't know why paid News media is hiding this massive information.#370Article pic.twitter.com/bN4DSOpMxV
The sexist social media posts and searches represent a brazen display of Hindu nationalist male chauvinism towards Kashmiri women. Many right-wingers celebrated the idea of ‘getting’ a Kashmiri woman as if they are objects with no agency.
You don't need to spend money on buying land in kashmir when you can simply marry a kashmiri girl and ask land in dowry pic.twitter.com/QDS2MTWud9— Utkarsh Dixit (@utkarshdixit__) August 6, 2019
Many analysts argue that misogyny is deep-rooted in Indian society. Right-wing trolls seized the moment after the BJP announcement to direct their hatred towards Kashmiri women. As celebrations over the acquisition of Kashmiri land and obtaining Kashmiri women merged, the lines between patriarchy and patriotism became blurred.
Most of these trolls enjoy political patronage, with many members from the ruling BJP, including the prime minister following them online.