Image: Flickr/Recuerdos de Pandora
Veteran actor Anupam Kher, one of the strongest voices in favour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, faced criticism when he tweeted about Kashmir on August 5. He was specifically slammed for using the term “Kashmir Solution”, which had a dangerous similarity with a historically notorious term – The Final Solution.
Kher is not the only one to refer to the infamous term. Several right-wing enthusiasts have used the term to define the Centre’s decision to repeal Article 370 and Article 35A of the Indian Constitution that had granted special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Nazi Germany, under the rule of Adolf Hitler, implemented “The Final Solution” in various stages. After Hitler rose to power, there were various steps like anti-Jewish laws, Aryanisation, boycotts and Kristallnacht (a.k.a. the Night of Broken Glass or the November Pogrom). It was Hitler’s well-designed plan to annihilate the Jew population in Germany, as well as in Europe.
“The Final Solution” was legally implemented at the The Wannsee Conference in January 1942 even though it had already been in practice. It consisted of establishing “killing centres” and designed genocides. Around three million Jews were killed in gas chambers. Nazi Germany managed to wipe out two-thirds of the Jewish people in Europe, around six million, through starvation, shootings and other random acts of terror.
Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien, in his speech in Rajya Sabha referred to the term, and said, “In 1942, this was the code name for the Nazi plan for genocide to murder the Jews,” O’Brien said. He also called out the Centre’s resolution as “constitutional immorality” and “procedural hara-kiri”.
Many have claimed that the reference is intentional. However, it is uncertain how many of them are actually aware of the historical significance. The comparison of the Kashmir resolution with “The Final Solution” inherently hints at comparing PM Modi with Hitler. Given that it mostly comes from the pro-Modi camp, it seems unlikely that the reference is deliberate.
In addition to wide-spread appreciation among many, the move has also received harsh criticism from many prominent personalities. Historian Ramachandra Guha has called it “authoritarianism”.
“A straight question: what do you think of shutting down an entire state and detaining former Chief Ministers before taking a fateful decision that affects that state and its peoples? What if it was our
Karnataka next and not their Kashmir now?” Guha tweeted.
Even though it is the NDA government’s move, both the credit and the criticism seemed to be targeted at PM Modi.
“You know what is scary , that One Man thinks that he knows exactly what’s the right thing to do for the benefit of 1,200,000,000 people and has access to the power to execute it,” filmmaker Anurag Kashyap tweeted, apparently referring to the prime minister.
The Centre apparently expects widescale turmoil in Kashmir Valley and, therefore, Section 144 of the CrPC is already implemented in certain parts of the state as a precautionary measure. Former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti have been detained.
There is a complete ban on holding any kind of public meeting or rallies. Mobile internet and landline services have been suspended. Satellite phones have been provided to officials.