Jammu and Kashmir is no longer a state. In a historic move, the Bharatiya Janata Party government scrapped Article 370 of the Indian constitution that accorded "special status" to the state. After announcing the revocation in Parliament on August 5, Home Minister Amit Shah further added that Ladakh, formerly a part of J&K, would now be a Union Territory with no legislature and J&K itself will cease to be a state and instead be a UT with a legislature.
While many have hailed the move as an undoing of a "Nehruvian blunder" and step toward integration, not all think the move is for the benefit of the people of J&K. In fact, a disquiet has been brewing in Kashmir over the last week, even as the government increased deployment of security forces in the former state and also imposed curfew-like conditions and a media/communication black-out across Kashmir.
In response, some on social media have been sharing the hashtag #RedForKAshmir in dissent against the government's move to "integrate" the state with the rest of India. #RedForKashmir is a movement that grew on social media, despite the near-total media and telecommunication black-out in Kashmir that was implemented over the weekend. Instagram, Twitter and Facebook have been filled with images of a red background that people put up as their display picture.
A text template that has been going viral along with the hashtag spelt out the fears and anxieties of the Kashmiri people and the reason behind the hashtag. "In the last week, repression of Kashmir heightened. Deployment of an additional 35,000 Indian troops (to add to an existing 500,000)", the post read. The post went on to point out that internet services had been suspended, "pro-freedom leaders detained" and long lines for fuel, food and basic supplies. Why red? "Red is the colour of our blood. Red is the colour of our history. Red is all of us," one of the posts read.
People also shared artworks in support of the hashtag. One such artwork was shared by an Instagrammer. "My sister Zarina Teli created this beautiful resistance art, showing the map of Kashmir as the tilla design on the neckline of a woman wearing a Red pheran, inspired by one of my #bringingkashmiriback photos and the trending hashtag #redforkashmir," he wrote.