The panic, scare, confusion, chaos and unprecedented circumstances were created by the state administration by inducting hordes of paramilitary forces and advising the Amaranth yatris and the tourists to leave the valley immediately under the garb of “heightened threat perceptions” on Friday August 2, 2019 after the purported recovery of some ammunition on the yatra track. Officials said that the ammunition was meant to derail the yatra.
The threat slipped into the background and the stage was set for an announcement by the Home Minister of the country in the Parliament, scrapping Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, and bifurcating the state of Jammu and Kashmir that existed for more than 170 years into two Union Territories.
Had we been befooled under the pretext of attack on yatris? Didn’t the people know that such type of threats had been emanating previously too and the yatras had actually been attacked? Is it not a fact that the valley remained burning for weeks together in 2016 after the killing of Burhan Wani. No such drastic steps were taken by the government ever. Obviously, the administration and the central government were in know of the coming events and had taken precautionary measures.
Although the “rumours” were ripe that the Centre may think of tinkering with the special status of the state, the administration knowingly went on parroting that it was only due to “threat perception”. Should it be perceived that thousands of freshly inducted forces were not able to face this threat perception? That is undermining the efficiency and efficacy of the Indian forces.
It may not be out of place to mention that if any other non-BJP government would have curtailed or stopped Amarnath yatra, hell would been let loose throughout the country under the patronage of the so called “nationalists”. Not a word of objection from any quarter. Why? Even otherwise, is it asking too much if the action taken by the central government on the political re-orientation of J&K could have been delayed for about two weeks when the yatra would have been completed?
An editor of an English daily in the issue of August 4 had prophesied: “Is there truth in the speculation about revocation of Article 35 A, Union Territory Status for Kashmir or further augmenting of military method of dealing with Kashmir”
By abrogating Article 370 and bifurcating the State, the Centre has “fulfilled” its general election manifesto. It was a dire necessity for them. First they wanted to convey that they have stood true to their commitment. Secondly, they are bent upon, as per their party’s and their patron’s RSS hardcore agenda, to subjugate and show down the second major majority community of the country in every possible way. What better way than to erase the words of Muslim majority state in India from the forehead of Jammu & Kashmir. While speaking on the floor of the house the Home Minister had given a very rosy, of course self-deceptive, reasons for scrapping Art 370 and Art 35 A that stood incorporated in the Indian Constitution for the last 65 years by asserting that unemployment, poverty, backwardness, laxity in educational sector, lack of development would be things of the past and that people of the state would realize in the days to come. Let us hope so against hopes.
But it would have been appreciated if the honourable minister would have strengthened his arguments with authenticated figures of all these parameters in other states/ UTs of the country. He would have known that at least in this state of Jammu and Kashmir poverty, unemployment, lack of education facilities are not as high as would be in other states/UTs. So is it only about a Muslim Majority State and Muslims whom the BJP-RSS wish to reduce to second class citizens. Their contrary sermons are just for public consumptions not coming out of hearts.
Another reason for scrapping of Art 370 given by the Home Minister was that if this Article would not have been there, 41,000 people would not have not lost their lives. Is not the defence sector under the control of central government as per the Article 370? Then how come Article 370 is being made responsible for mass massacre? Why didn’t the forces prevent these killings? And how the abrogation of the article is going to help in it?
In reality, the Article 370 otherwise was existing only on paper. Noted jurist AG Noorani has observed that in J&K State “by 2019, 94 of the 97 entries in the union list and 26 of the 47 in the concurrent list has been applied to Kashmir. As many as 260 of 395 articles of India’s constitution have been applied, all in the name of integration”. Noorani wonders, “why Hindu right wing RSS was obsessed with abrogating this right in Kashmir only when it existed in tribal areas of Indian Southern provinces of Telengana, Northern hill state of Himachal Pradesh and in North-Eastern provinces of Nagaland and Sikkim”?
To add salt to the injury the state has been bifurcated and two Union Territories have been carved out, giving untenable reasons as enumerated in the foregoing. If analyzed unbiasedly one would come to the undeniable conclusion that this is unconstitutional, without taking the stakeholders and done in haste. Nevertheless let us hope that the wishful assertions of the BJP government would bear fruits in reality, with a pinch of salt of course, and the much talked of “Naya Kashmir” by the Prime Minister would get materialized. Next in line is the uniform civil code and construction of temple at Ayodhya.