One year ago on August 5 2019,the Narendra Modi government abrogated article 370 and 35A and the abrogation of article 370 and 35A has made the way for strengthening of the voices of India in a more effective way in the union territory. When parliament passed the resolution that turned article 370 into a dead letter, the office of then Governor Satyapal malik removed the red state flag form his table,leaving the tricolour as the lone sentinel. There is a section of the population in the valley that is influenced by the separatist agenda and there are some leaders who had predicted that if any one tries to touch this article 370,the people will come on roads and there would be a blood bath and street violence in the state.But in the last near about 12 months, nothing of what they had predicted has happened. As for the people of UT are concerned, things are moving in a very peaceful way allowing the administration to focus on the development. No doubt leaders like former C.M.G.M.Azad said the government had chopped off the head of country, destroyed history and said that integration happens by the heart and not by legislation. Former Home minister P.Chidambaram called it a cardinal blunder and fatal legal error, former C.M. Mehbooba Mufti had tweeted GoI intention is clear and sinister, they want to change the demography of the only Muslim majority state. The MHA document however hacks back to history to show Kashmir didn’t always use its powers in the past with democratic ethics in the mind. In 1981 the state assembly passed the JK Resettlement Act, opening the doors to those Kashmiris and their descendants who had migrated to Pakistan or Pok in 1947,to return as legitimate citizens and take charge of their ancestral properties.However, refugees from PoK and their descendants, numbering about 1.5 million today, have consistently been kept beyond the pale, been denied the status of “state subjects”, and never allowed to settle. (These communities have been demanding their right to the 24 assembly seats left vacant in the name of PoK.) “Ironically, Muslim refugees from Xinjiang and Tibet, who had migrated to Kashmir following Chinese occupation of their countries in 1949 and 1959 respectively, have been granted ‘state subject’ status, along with voting rights,” the document points out. “The communal agenda of previous state administrations was, thus, clear…. Article 35A was the instrument.”JamyangTsering Namgyal, the young BJP MP from Ladakh, adds another regional angle. “You talk of demographics? Do you know what happened in Ladakh? The Muslim population has increased and Buddhists, who were in majority, have gone down. Is this secularism?” he asks. He’s happy Ladakh will now be liberated. The Home Minister introduced a Reorganisation Bill in the Indian Parliament, seeking to divide the state into two union territories to be governed by a Lieutenant Governor and a unicameral legislature. The resolution seeking the revocation of the special status under Article 370 and the bill for the state’s reorganisation was debated and passed by the Rajya Sabha – India’s upper house of parliament – on 5 August 2019. On 6 August, the Lok Sabha – India’s lower house of parliament – debated and passed the reorganisation bill along with the resolution recommending the revocation.The partial abrogation of Article 370 and nullifying the ill effects of Article 35A required a steely resolve and a firm political will which was absent for the past 72 years. Due to the ill effects of Articles 370 and 35A, Jammu and Kashmir could not be fully integrated with India even after 72 years of freedom, and discrimination was writ large.Separate constitution, separate flag and separate identity of the state was fully exploited by the mainstream political parties of the Valley, the Congress, the separatists and a rogue nation like Pakistan. Meticulous planning and ideological clarity on the part of home minister Amit Shah paved the way for this historic decision, correcting the historical blunder committed by the Congress Government. Separatist forces tried to spread the illusion that it was in the interest of the people of J&K to continue with their separate identity. The reality is far from it. Kashmiris suffered when separatist leaders flourished, amassed wealth, sent their children abroad for jobs and education at the cost of the Kashmiris. Every Indian contributed to the growth story of Kashmir and taxpayers’ money was pumped into Kashmir even when there were other economically backward states in the country which equally needed the funds from the Centre, but no Indian complained. 106 central legislations will now apply to J&K, many of which deal with protecting fundamental rights of citizens which were not applicable before, such as on manual scavenging and child labour.
The move will openup vistas of growth for the Kashmiri people byencouraging private businessmen and industrialists to set up industries and businesses there and provide jobs to the local people. People from allover the country will feel more secure now giving a fillip to tourism in the state.The fear of ethnic cleansing is voiced by those who gained from the ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pundits, thousands of whom are still living as refugees in their own country. The perpetrators of the crimes against the Pundit community are only possessed by the guilt complex. The successive State Governments winked as the terror outfits threatened and drove out the Pundit community. Now is the time for meting out justice tothe Pundits by bringing them back home.Pakistan’s hue and cry are understandable but not justifiable considering that it was not a party to the settlement between Pandit Nehru and Sheikh Abdullah. On the international stage, Pakistan will now lose the semblance of locus standi, which it believed it had.The only losers will be the three political families which have held the future of the Kashmiri people to ransom. They have their own children studying abroad while they pamper the terrorists to torch the schools inthe valley. It is a hard fact that lakhs and crores of rupees sent by the Centre for the betterment of the state have ended up in the coffers of corrupt politicians and bureaucrats. Had this money been utilized properly, the situation at the ground level would not have been so dismal. Moreover, terrorism grew there due to these leaders and their parties who failed to keep the trust of the people. They should now atone for their misdeeds andIt is a signal of development and a new era forJammu & Kashmir.
The author is State Spokesperson BJP (UT)