Article 370: Kashmir issue calls for a swift resolution

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The alliance between the BJP and the PDP collapsed on the question of terrorism. But the experiment and experiences of the coalition between the parties, having diametrically opposite views, need to be re-examined from a larger perspective in order to understand the problems Jammu and Kashmir is facing. The critics of the alliance consider it as opportunistic politics by both. It is not only unjust but a classic case of ‘grapes are sour’. The Congress’s tryst with a coalition with the PDP is not unhidden.

The formation of the government in 2014 had demolished the propaganda by Pakistan at international forums that the voice of the people remained unheard due to the Indian military’s dominant role in the Valley.

Pakistan had never expected that the imperative of national interests would lead both parties to transcend embarrassments and criticisms from their respective political constituencies. Moreover, Mehbooba Mufti’s dilemma whether PDP should be Sanskritised or continue as a political hub of separatists was visible for a few months after her party forged the alliance. However, she has lost a golden opportunity to position herself as a crusader against terrorism.

There are certain myths and misinformation which impact our national discourse on J&K. One widely held notion is that J&K is facing separatism, terrorism and disturbances. This is as untrue as saying that the entire country is facing Maoism. Out of 22 districts of the state, only five, namely, Anantnag, Pulwama, Kulgam, Shopian and Srinagar are under the shadow of violence. Mehbooba’s claim that she had not allowed Article 370 to be scrapped is farcical. This is merely an escape route for the PDP to lessen the stigma of its dualism and hypocrisy. Article 370 has been increasingly diluted. Now the time is ripe to scrap this Article, which symbolises psychological division on the one hand, and legitimises discrimination on the other hand. It is due to this Article that gender-equality remains inapplicable. It also protects the rich and the feudal in the Valley. Article 370 creates an impediment for the Urban Land Ceiling Act. All the valuable land in the Valley is under the control of a few families who dominate its politics and, therefore, use this provision for their protection. This Article has an immoral foundation and exists in the Constitution as a medicine past its expiry date. It was introduced as a temporary provision to address a crisis. This has given a fillip to the rhetoric that the merger of J&K was conditional. The fact is that the instrument of accession was common for all the states, including J&K, which merged with India. It would not be wrong to say that Jawaharlal Nehru was no less responsible for the genesis of the crisis. He did not like Sardar Patel paying attention to J&K. Patel was the Home minister then but Kashmir’s affairs were tended to by Nehru’s trusted minister N Gopalswami Ayyangar.

In 1948, the UN resolution asking Pakistan to vacate PoK reaffirmed India’s right on the entire Valley. The resolution remained unpublicised even within the country. After more than four and a half decades, Indian Parliament demonstrated unity on the question of Kashmir. On September 22, 1994, a resolution was passed reiterating that J&K was an integral part of India with the determination to get PoK vacated. That spirit is missing now. Pseudo-secular parties and intellectuals’ tacit support to the azadi brigade offers theoretical opposition to Indian Army and the central government. It’s time to discard the conventional mode of mendicancy to resolve the crisis.

The state does not mean just the Valley but also Jammu, Ladakh and Leh. The Valley’s veto power in the democratic process of the state betrays the aspirations of two-thirds of the population. The Valley is overrun by propagandists and Wahabis who stand for ‘pure’ Islam and now they have extended their jihad against co-religionists who practice moderation. The killing of Shujaat Bukhari is a message to moderate Muslims. No terrorist arrested or killed had ever shown loyalty to Pakistan. They are indoctrinated by the Wahabis, radical Islamists and they attack in the name of Allah. The mosques have increasingly emerged as breeding grounds for Wahabism.

Unfortunately, successive Union governments couldn’t reinvent political engineering in the Valley. PoK remained unrepresented in the state assembly despite the fact that 24 seats are reserved for the people from that part of Kashmir. The Act needs to be amended to give a fair representation to those who migrated from PoK and are living in the state. It should accommodate at least four representations from the Kashmiri pandits who were thrown out from the state. This would change the dynamics of democracy in the state and dilute the Valley’s power in the formation of the government. Now the million-dollar question is: Are we ready to come out from the Nehruvian orbit and play a decisive role? The nation was witness to the first martyrdom for national integration in J&K. Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee sacrificed his life which weakened the Nehruvian framework. The time has come to revive Mookerjee’s spirit to defeat the jihadis and establish full control over India. The people of Jammu, Ladakh and Leh cannot be at the mercy of the Valley.

Source : DNA



Categories: National

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