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Why To Abrogate Article 370?

By Ishaq Begh

23 November, 2014
Countercurrents.org

After the Election commission of India announced the poll dates in the flood hit state of Jammu and Kashmir, and once again this unfortunate state is being brutally ravaged by the opportunistic politics of two regional parties (PDP, NC) under the patronisation of BJP. For political reimbursement BJP has now started to beat the drum of article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir. It is an incontrovertible fact that article 370 of the Indian constitution has remunerated the Indian state to a great extent in over all political aspects. It is the only tool which has changed the political ambience in India during the times of partition. Due to this very article it is only Jammu and Kashmir which is exercising a special status in the union of India and is even called as a sole bridge between India and Kashmir. Despite granting the speciality to Jammu and Kashmir article 370 is allowing India to have defence, foreign affairs, finance and communication in its hands while other Indian laws directly applicable to other Indian states needs a special consent from JK assembly. In 1947 at the time of independence the Indian sub continent was partitioned on the basis of religion professed by the people to form two independent nations, a Hindu India and a Muslim Pakistan. Only the state of Jammu and Kashmir predominantly Muslim in population and ruled by a Hindu ruler was left on the mercy of god, later on was acceded to India by its rulers in defiance of the basic principle governing the partition. Indian commentators call this accession unexceptionable as according to them it fits well within the framework of Indian constitution, but the main stakeholder’s i.e the people of Kashmir call it a tool which was against the will of general public. Now leave this debate aside and take the matter of Indian constitution which realised the importance of accession of Jammu and Kashmir with the Union of India during its signing process. After Maharaja Hari Singh and the leadership of National conference jointly signed the instrument of accession with India, Indian congress leaders accepted it whole heartedly and soon were fully aware of the tremendous difficulties which the accession was sure to encounter in integrating the state with Indian union. They realised the fact that constitutional and legal accession is totally meaningless without the emotional and well hearted integration of the Kashmiris in the mainstream of India’s political and social existence. India at this juncture sighted it as a bond that may vanish hence called it a final and a irrevocable one. That is why on the floor of Indian parliament Jawarhar Lal Nehru on august 7 1956 said that “The strongest bonds that bind will not be your armies or even your constitution..... but bonds which are stronger than he constitution, laws and armies are the bonds of love, affection and mutual understanding”. Beyond any scepticism every figure from India and Kashmir perceived accession a crucial matter that needs to be handled with extra care because it was a huge task ahead to absorb a Muslim dominated Kashmir with India which was totally different than Indian style of life. Soon after the acceptance of instrument in 1947, Indian leaders started to adopt a soft method in handling the Kashmir issue. Indian constituent assembly produced a liberal constitution surprisingly after the two years of independence and inserted an article (Article 370) to assure the people of Jammu and Kashmir that they are free to shape their own destiny as they desired within the Indian constitution and nothing adverse will be imposed upon them by the Indian Parliament where Hindus are in overwhelming majority.

It is a well established fact that in the union of India, it is only Jammu and Kashmir State where draconian laws are still used as the tools of governance. APSFA and Distributed Area Act are two infamous laws which have made the Indian grip on Kashmir very firm. Now despite knowing all the facts BJP has once again started to abuse the article 370 and it seems that article 370 serves as a sole lifeline and a vote bank for BJP. They live and enjoy the power only by touching the boundaries of this abused Article 370. While campaigning for the elections of other Indian states and Lok Saba elections BJP raises the issues of Ram Mandir and article 370. On every election they talk about these hot issues and gain vote bank with an enormous speed. Recently BJP leader Subramaniyum Swami while talking about Kashmir and article 370 said that Article 370 is temporary clause which had a scope of rethink, he even said that India can settle 10000 retired army officers in Kashmir after revoking article 370. Even it has been circulated in the political spheres of state that it is BJP which has recruited about 28000 men in the infamous Village Defence Committees. They surpassed all the laws and norms while dealing with the local issues. BJP with the help of RSS ideology has politically and religiously polarized the state in terms of mutual understanding and communal harmony. In the guise of secularism BJP is trying to hindunise and indianise the state of Jammu and Kashmir as Ram Rajya is their mission. BJP leader Indreesh Kumar (BJP leader, infamously mentioned in the samjota Blast investigation) at a book lunch in Jammu said that “2014 elections are giving India an opportunity to get back the lost Kashmir and Kashmiriyat in the mainstream, time has come for the people of Kashmir who have faced terrorism, discrimination and separatism to get Indianisation”. Is he surpassing the realty of Kashmir issue and giving it a new look. What kind of indianisation he is talking despite knowing the inner of Kashmiris. Kumar who has been actively working in Jammu and Kashmir for the last decade, significantly in Jammu is strengthening the RSS roots. He even disclosed the fact that some Muslim face of RSS has played a significant role in the allotment of seats to BJP candidates in Jammu region. This is totally nonsense that some of its leaders have directed its brigade to do away with the article 370, when internally they are on the mission of its abrogation. These days BJP’s spokespersons are clearly caught in a dilemma on several TV channels with their NO COMMENT and apologetic stance on crucial topics like APSFA and article 370. This airs nothing but their double standard and negative political standards towards Kashmir. On one side they want to please their RSS leaders backing them and on the other side do not want to alienate Muslim voters in Jammu and Kashmir. So it is unclear from their side what they want to achieve here in this militancy hit state. During this election, BJP is contesting 70 out of the 87 assembly seats, has fielded 32 Muslim faces for the first time (highest ever). BJP allegedly in a strategic move is working on religion, sectarian and caste calculations and seems have done a good home work. According to political analysts the deepening rift between the Muslim sects in Kashmir (Shia-sunni face offs, between sufi tradition and alleged advent of Wahabism) is being carried out by some hidden hands in order to destroy and neutralize the separatism prevailing in Kashmir. This societal schism along with sectarian rifts is now being used by the BJP’s top brass in order to split the Muslim voters across Jammu and Kashmir and it will undoubtedly benefit communal powers if not handled with care by the Muslim voters and leaders. But at the same time it is totally ironic to see the regional parties at the receiving end.

Abrogation of article 370 will surely erode the special image of Jammu and Kashmir. Interestingly BJP call it a hurdle in developing the state but it is a fact that they are befooling the common masses as there is no such hurdle which can bar the development in Jammu and Kashmir. India can do a lot here if they wish, as there is no article in the constitution of Jammu and Kashmir which may stop Indian investment in Kashmir. Rajnath singh, Jitinder Singh, Subramaniyum Swami, Uma Bharti, L K Adwani, Arun Jately, Nitin Gadkari, Amit Shah and even Narendra Modi know it clearly that any assault on article 370 will bring miseries to the Indian Union and will definitely renew the bloodshed in Kashmir. Modi and his team should know and acknowledge the facts that when everything is going smoothly in conflict ridden state of Jammu and Kashmir, any attempt towards the revocation of article 370 will not make their job easier. Even BJP’s state wing has opposed all the moves of revocation as they know that it is the sole lifeline which connects Kashmir with rest of the India. It is beyond our comprehension that whole population of Jammu and Kashmir is willingly or unwillingly supports the existence of article 370 as a bridge and any move to break this will open new insurgence in Kashmir. How people of Kashmir will forget the authenticity of their indigenous place which is the hotbed of tourism industry and can’t afford any destruction of its fragile climate and environmental scenery. Communal powers keep the sole aim to polarise the vote bank in Jammu and Kashmir which will definitely bifurcate further the three regions of Jammu and Kashmir.

Ishaq Begh is a Kashmir based political analyst Email: ishaqbeghkullar@gmail.com

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