Scrapping of Art 370 proven ‘big failure’: Panellists in Webinar

The prominent voices in the country have called August 5, 2019, decisions by the Modi government in the centre as a ‘big failure’.

This was stated by the prominent voices in the country on Wednesday during a webinar conducted by ‘The Newsletter’ and the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) on the first anniversary of abrogation of Article 370 and reorganization of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories.

A group of prominent voices comprising of Kapil Kak (retired Air Vice-Marshal), Radha Kumar (academician and former member of Group of Interlocutors for Jammu and Kashmir), Justice Hasnain Masoodi (Member of Parliament, a former judge of the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir), Salam Nizami (Politician, INC), Nadir Ali (social activist and director of CPJ), Sajad Kargili (political activist from Kargil), Aadil Nazir Khan (social activist and political analyst) unanimously maintained that the scrapping of Article 370 and forceful creation of two Union Territories by downgrading Statehood status of Jammu and Kashmir has proven one of the biggest failures of the Modi administration.

The webinar was hosted by Hamid Rather, a Kashmir-based journalist and author.

While assessing the legal and the constitutional developments in Jammu and Kashmir, Hasnain Masoodi, who is Member of Parliament from Anantnag constituency, said, “Scrapping of Article 370 was a big betrayal with the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The reading down of Article 370 has opened a Pandora box for the government of India where it has no idea how to come out of it as the decision has legal, constitutional, political, social, and foreign implications.”

Masoodi while commenting on the legal and constitutional history of the erstwhile State said, “From the baseline of August 15, 1947, and before the birth of Pakistan and India, Jammu and Kashmir were an independent country.”

Replying to a question what is the way forward to the current political impasse in Jammu and Kashmir, Masoodi said that a realization that injustice has been heaped on Jammu and Kashmir in the NDA government and all the political parties in the country is the first potential step towards any engagement and dialogue on Kashmir.

Radha Kumar, academician and former member of Group of Interlocutors for Jammu and Kashmir called the social, political, economic, and international impacts of August 5 decisions as “ disastrous”.

She explained vividly the situation in Kashmir after August 5, 2019, and said, “Post August 2019, the intensification of security force operations and rising number of cordon and search operations — conducted every single day from the beginning of June 2020 to around mid-July — have exacerbated the pain and suffering that the people of Kashmir have endured over three long decades.”

On the economic loss suffered due to the lockdowns, Radha Kumar said, “Local and regional industries have suffered large losses in every sector. Many companies that are heavily or solely reliant on 4G networks that are available in the rest of the country, such as tourism and cottage industries, have been forced out of business. The new domicile rules introduced by the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Jammu and Kashmir administration, moreover, erode prior employment protections for permanent residents of the former state.”

She further added that China’s attempts to mobilise the U.N. Security Council and May 2020 intrusions are direct ramifications of August 5 decisions that lead to a tri-lateralization of the dispute over Kashmir between India, Pakistan, and China.

Kapil Kak retired Air Vice-Marshal has maintained that the last one year since the abrogation of Article 370 was the blackest year in the history of India. “Kashmir has seen many blots from 1947 but the last one year after 5th August 2019, was extremely horrible for every Kashmiri”, he said.

Kak seems optimistic and sees a way forward while pointing out the remarks made by the guardian of the constitution, Supreme court, recently “It is time to heal the wounds of the people of Jammu and Kashmir” by saying that government of India must rethink over the post-4 August decisions taken unilaterally and start the positive engagement and dialogue with all the stakeholders.

Salman Nizami, a young politician from INC has questioned the step-motherly treatment of the Modi government with the people of Jammu and Kashmir. He questioned, “Why step-motherly treatment is only with the people of Jammu and Kashmir? Why not same treatment with other states that enjoy some sort of special status in the same pattern as enjoyed by the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir?”BJP has got exposed by abrogating the special status of Jammu and Kashmir only and not other states because J&K is the only Muslim-dominated state in the country, Nizami added.

While commenting on Ram Mandir Bhoomi Pujan at Ayodha on 5th August 2020, Nizami said that it was pre-planned to conduct it on the first anniversary of the abrogation of Article 370, only to hide the failures of the Modi government in Jammu and Kashmir.

“There is no normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir as BJP leaders are claiming in the country,” he added.

Nadir Ali has demystified the claims made by the government of India behind the abrogation of Article 370. “We have seen no progress in zeroing militancy, bringing development and creating jobs in the last year since the reading down of Article 370,” said Nadir Ali.

Ali maintained that militants were active in Kashmir before August 4, 2019, and continues to remain active in the region. Making the military fight against its own citizens in killing its morale. There is no end in sight in Jammu and Kashmir with new discontent and distrust. New Delhi must start positive engagement and dialogue with the stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir.

Sajad Kargili, a political and social activist said, “The people of Ladakh especially Kargil whole-heartedly rejected and opposed the forceful August 5 decisions of the Modi government. He added that by scrapping Article 370 government of India has achieved nothing but involved China as a third party in Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

Aadil Nazir Khan, social activist and political analyst said, “We the people of Jammu and Kashmir will never accept the forceful and unilateral August 5 decisions of the government of India.

He further said that the August 5 decision has proven disastrous for the people of Jammu and Kashmir in the last one year which destroyed the local economy and has badly affected education and health sectors as well.

Khan said, “The government of India can bifurcate us on the political map, can cut us into pieces and can take over autonomy and statehood but by heart we the people from all three regions – Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh are one.”

In his concluding remarks, he asked what type of peace is this, when people are not allowed to speak out when there is no Internet connection when many people are still under detention including political leaders and on 5th August 2019, whole Kashmir was under curfew and on 5th August 2020 Kashmir is still under curfew which in itself says that the August 5 decision was a big failure of the Modi government