Caught in a situation where due to growing factionalism, lack of leadership, ego clashes and charges of corruption against a number of its senior leaders, its very survival as a political force in Indian polity is threatened, the Bahrtiya Janata Party, an offspring of the communal and fascist RSS, has again raised its ante for abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution relating to Jammu and Kashmir and for adopting more hawkish approach on the question of India- Pakistan peace process and that of Jammu and Kashmir. On their usual prowl, the hawks in Indian polity both within the BJP and outside have not only been blaming Article 370 and India’s commitment to the people of Kashmir on the issue of accession as the reason for the Kashmir cauldron but are also advocating strong-arm methods to curb popular voices for democracy in Kashmir.
While talking of closer integration by doing away whatever special position J&K still enjoys in the Indian Union, the chauvinist and ultra-nationalist forces in the country are actually further fortifying the walls of suspicion and mistrust between the people of Kashmir and the Indian state. They are not only demanding abrogation of Article 370 but also advocating strong-arm merthods to deal with the situation in Kashmir. Condoning grave human rights abuses being committed by the armed forces and the State police in the State, these elements are also opposing the demand for scrapping of the draconian laws like the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and J&K Public Safety Act.
While the rulers in New Delhi as also the political leadership in Kashmir cannot be absolved of the responsibility for the troubled situation in the state, the former by failing to honour their commitments to the people made when the Instrument of Accession was signed and the latter for denying democratic rights to the people, the communal and fascist forces in India, championing for Hindu Rashtra and spearheaded by RSS, which are mainly responsible for the alienation of the people of Kashmir from New Delhi. It was the ill-conceived Praja Parishad agitation in Jammu in 1952 on the slogan of Ek Vidhan, Ek Pradhan and Ek Nishan, clandestinely backed by the Union home ministry, that created a wall of suspicion and mistrust between the people of the State, particularly the Muslim majority, and rest of India.
Instead of frustrating the designs of Hindutva brigade the Congress leadership in India bowed before their pressure and gradually eroded the State’s autonomy. What compounded the situation was rigging of election after election, denial of fundamental rights to the people, using of coercive measures to suppress the democratic urges of the people, imposition and removal of state governments by New Delhi and subsequent policy of using strong arm methods to suppress the popular unrest.
The hawks and communal fascists have been making every effort to oppose all sensible suggestions like withdrawal of army, scrapping of draconian laws, release of prisoners, probe into grave human rights abuses and punishment to those found guilty, granting of democratic rights to the citizens, restoration of the State’s eroded autonomy and unconditional dialogue with the leaders of the struggle for azadi in Kashmir to find a peaceful and negotiated settlement of the Kashmir problem. These elements have also been opposing the ongoing dialogue process between India and Pakistan and the measures like relaxation of visa regime, opening of old roues across the Line of Control, withdrawal of troops by India and Pakistan from Siachen Glaciers, closer Indo-Pakistan ties for resolving all outstanding disputes including that of J&K between the two countries.
It were the BJP hawks like L.K.Advani and Sushma Swaraj who had allegedly sabotaged the agreement reached between A.B.Vajpayee and President Musharraf during the Agra summit. For pushing forward the India-Pakistan peace agenda and for finding a democratic and just solution of Kashmir by providing due place to the people of J&K on dialogue table the political leadership both in India and Pakistan must isolate the hawks and fundamental elements, enemies of peace, instead of yielding before their pressure.