Since March 10 2020, the sounds of gunfire have erupted across the Line of Control (LoC) yet again.

Indian fire across the LoC – indiscriminate and aimed at civilian population centres – has resulted in heart-rending loss of life and limb of the non-combatants it has targeted. One of its targets; a two-year-old child.

But let us digress, slightly.

Currently, India is staring at its worst financial crisis in the past thirty odd years. Its joblessness in October 2019 was at a four-decade high at 8.1 percent; meaning that almost 110 million Indians – more than the entire population of the Philippines, or Ethiopia – are currently unemployed. In February 2020, Moody’s decided to slash India’s projected economic growth rate from 6.6 percent to an 11-year low at 5.4 percent. Estimates suggest that over 4 million more Indians are likely to be added to these unemployment figures, annually. The BJP led regime of Narendra Modi – which had touted itself as a worker of economic miracles – seems to be in very dire economic straits, indeed.

Added to this is how India’s Citizen (Amendment) Act of 2019 has targeted its very own Muslim population and left them at the mercy of an increasingly xenophobic Hindu majority. The United Nations has called it “fundamentally discriminatory in nature” and that it appears to “undermine India’s commitment to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination”.

Saba Naqvi from India tells us via a now-viral video, how patients afflicted by the coronavirus in India have become prone to segregation along religious lines. Muslims are just not being admitted in hospitals across the length and breadth of the country. The death of secularism in India, seems to be accompanied by the death of humaneness, decency, and its very own Muslim population, too. That the policies of the current Indian regime are responsible for this incredibly-polarised state of affairs, is beyond doubt.

Concurrently, the same regime and its cronies have swiftly – and viciously – moved to quell dissent to these draconian policies. IOJK continues to remain in a virtual state of lockdown since August 2019 – its 253rd day – and over 4000 Kashmiris have been incarcerated since then. This has been doubled-down by the violence that continues to be perpetrated against Muslims across the length and breadth of India. As Modi and Donald Trump bro-hugged each other during the latter’s recent visit to India, “Hindu-nationalist mobs roamed the streets of New Delhi a few miles away, murdering Muslims and attacking their businesses and places of worship.”

It is ominous, and some might say convenient; that the current military lockdown – reinforced by the ongoing pandemic-related curfew in India – has been used to suppress, stifle and muzzle political opposition to the Modi regime and its saffron-clad supporters. Ironically, those who have been locked down the longest – the hapless Kashmiris to the north of India – are the ones who have received the least medical attention. One wonders then, how India’s spokespersons manage to keep straight faces whilst telling the world that the unrest in Kashmir comes from “across the border”.

But then, this sort of innuendo on India’s part is not just restricted to its politicians. In a recent interview, Lieutenant General B.S. Raju – commander of India’s 15th Corps – stated in an interview on BBC Hindi, that “Pakistan is pushing COVID-19 people into PoK” and that “people coming from across (the LoC) could be carriers of COVID-19”. I refrain from calling it outright “stupidity” to maintain decorum – but this statement tries just a little too hard at pinning blame on Pakistan by way of cross-border terrorism, and the infiltration of human beings as living biological weapons, in one fell swoop. Needless to say, it has had considerable scorn heaped upon it within India and without.

But then, pinning the blame on Pakistan has always been a national pastime in India. Its favourite stay-at-home game, perhaps. After all, Modi has thrived by building up a political persona as being “tough” on Pakistan; which appeals to his hardline Hindu base. An escalation of hostilities – and making sure they’re regular in frequency – are politically expedient for any incumbent regime in Delhi. They’re just…well…convenient. How the BJP may have insidiously “spun” the 2019 elections in its favour by successfully playing the failed Balakot airstrikes, and the false “heroism” attributed by India to its shot-down-and-captured pilot Abhinandan, clearly exemplify this.

There is also the very real possibility that the Indian military build-up and concentration of its troops in the areas adjacent to the LOC is part of a greater design to dispossess, displace, and later “ethnically cleanse” these areas. Across the border, our good friend Amit Shah has all but stated as much; with a gradual “repopulation” of Kashmir with Hindus, a well-defined objective of the BJP government.

It is small wonder then, that the Modi regime may wish to divert attention – worldwide and domestically – from its dismal performance in virtually all facets of governance and stability, by raising the spectre of war with Pakistan, yet again.

So, yes. The spectre of war may truly be raised…again.

Let the world take note. Or not. Perhaps the demise of secularism, tolerance, and harmony in India, also coincides with the death of humankind’s conscience.