Dispossessed & disempowered.

A compelling new book chronicles the latest, ongoing chapter in occupied Kashmir's decades-long tragedy. A Dismantled State: the untold story of Kashmir after Article 370 by Anurudha Bhasin is a scathing indictment of Indian actions in Jammu and Kashmir following its annexation and bifurcation by abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian constitution on Aug 5, 2019. As a prominent journalist, executive editor of Kashmir Times and resident of Kashmir, Anurudha has long witnessed the turmoil, violence, injustices and vicissitudes of political life there. But post-August 2019, which saw J and K's dismemberment and disempowerment, was a fundamental break from the past. She describes her book's aim as discovering how this period that drastically altered the sociopolitical and economic landscape 'impacted the people of J and K in their day-to-day lives'. The book is an effort to 'combat disinformation in Kashmir's dangerous information desert'.

I asked the author in an email exchange what motivated her to write this ground-breaking book, the first and only one to detail the trials and tribulations of Kashmir and its people post-August 2019. Anurudha said almost a year after Kashmir lost its special status, she began trying to make sense of what was happening on the ground. The geographical and political map of the state had been altered and what followed a year later were drastic and radical legal changes with a momentous impact on the lives of people there. But as very little was known and there was little media coverage, she began digging for facts in a 'complete desert of information'. Among the impediments she faced was people's reluctance to be interviewed due to the climate of fear.

In the book, Anurudha provides a vivid window into the atmosphere of J and K when the Aug 5 action was taken. The deployment of additional troops and 'sound of regular chopper sorties' preceding the move had already created panic, fear and foreboding among people. She shows how the Pulwama incident and the officially sponsored narrative of antipathy towards Kashmiri Muslims prepared the ground for August 2019. In fact, through many political, military and administrative manoeuvres 'the ground was being readied for bulldozing Kashmir's special status, a year before it happened'.

The untold story of post-2019 trials and tribulations of the Kashmiri people.

When the 'constitutional fraud' was imposed, people's world was 'suddenly turned upside down while they were...

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