Abrogation of controversial Articles 370 and 35 A have been largely welcomed as reported in your popular daily. These articles were so misused by Kashmiri rulers that a loud voice was rising across India against their misuse against Jammu and Ladakh. They were hurdle in the path of development and were frustrating govt efforts in bringing normalcy and development in Kashmir. Hence BJP included their abrogation in election manifesto. Landslide mandate to BJP in the last general election is largely due to nation’s faith in Amit Shah’s promise of their abrogation.
Grant of UT to Ladakh was also promised and is a welcome step. But making the rest of the vast and diverse Jammu and Kashmir another UT has not gone down well in Jammu. Jammu has suffered for 72 years because it was with (under) Kashmir which didn’t treat it well. Kashmiri rulers, starting from Sheikh Abdullah, had been anti Dogras. They drafted a constitution which discriminated Jammu and made laws and systems which not only went against the aspirations of Jammu but changed Jammu’s demography and eroded its rich cultural identity. Since Kashmir had been a curse on Jammu for over seven decades, well known and highlighted by BJP in the past, Jammu expected to be saved of the curse.
Ladakh and Kashmir as UTs and Jammu as a State, in the making, was going on in the social media amidst utter confusion during massive security forces deployment raised Jammu’s expectations. Unanticipated bifurcation of J&K has astonished Jammu. Pakistan has internationalized it. Hence bifurcations has not solved J&K imbroglio, rather complicated it.
Political parties, social organisations and NGOs in Jammu are contesting it too. Another grouse of the people was why curfew type restrictions in nationalist Jammu. Now that the law has come in force, best way forward is to negotiate identity of Jammu. An amendment to the law, making both Jammu and Kashmir as sub-UTs under one legal and constitutional framework (if necessitated by the compulsions of militancy), along with creation of a regional council for addressing regional aspirations in the impending political arrangement may address Jammu’s concerns to an extent. Postponed all party meet, whenever held, may consider how best the identity and aspirations of Jammu can be addressed and take it up with the authorities. Whenever militancy ends, Jammu must be given statehood. Ultimate solution to J&K imbroglio lies in its trifurcation.
Col J P Singh