Why Jammu Kashmir is Union Territory

Sunil Sethi
The struggle of seven decades which saw atleast three generations fighting with whatever was at their disposal to reach the goal of Akhand Bharat, stood realised on 5th of August with introduction in Rajya Sabha the bill to recommend to the President of India to abrogate Art 370 to give strength to faith and resolve of Nation to not permit any conceptual provisions to support or promote separatism tendencies in this great country . Resolution having being passed by both houses and Presidential Order being issued under Art 370 (1) to annul the part of Art 370 which created hurdles for total integration in national mainstream, is now part of history. The task that looked tedious only few months back stood achieved . Difficult which some say was impossible stood achieved. It stood proved that every peak can be scaled however difficult it looks . It’s will power which takes one to scale peaks and will power of steel was exhibited by the Govt led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Missed historical opportunities and deliberate political blunders stood rectified.
While nation rejoices including vast population of Jammu and Kashmir including Ladakh on this historic development, with the exception of few who can be numbered and who had their own motives of continuation of illegalities , some questions are being raised on the decision of the Govt to divide the state in two Union Territories. Jammu Kashmir being one and Ladakh being other . While UT status to Ladakh had been consistent demand from that region for geopolitical reasons and the topography of the area , making Jammu Kashmir as Union Territory certainly raised lot many question as the need and motive behind such move of making a big state as UT . In independent India it was happening for first time that a state was being reorganized into Union Territories. Converse had happened though on a number of occasions. Legality of the move is not questionable but political expediency of it is required to be debated and understood.
Political restructuring
State of Jammu and Kashmir had seen seven decades of misrule by various regimes where corruption , nepotism and favoritism had been the order of the day. There had been no accountability leading to the state occupying infamously the place of being most corrupt state of the country. In development sector also, it lagged far behing despite getting more central aids and Grants than any other state . Accountability had never been allowed to take take roots in the state and Govt of the day had always exploited the instruments and institutions to fight corruption to make it toothless. In last seven decades, there is hardly any detection and investigation into political corruptions though corruption had been always existing at top of table for the state compared to rest of the country. Politicians who had been in power particularly some political families who had enjoyed powers between themselves have amassed large and unaccounted wealth without there being any source . The way to give stability and progress to the state after abrogation of Art 370 which had protected these misadventures , was to destroy the whole corrupt political edifice and to create new political setup to allow honest and competent politicians and administrators to take over the reins of the state to steer it to bright future . This was not possible by mere replacement of old Government with equally corrupt and inefficient political system . For that it was imperative to work out the wrongs and allow new and good system to take over and for that short spell of direct rule by Central Govt would really help .
Seven decades of misgovernance, which had been thrusted upon state and protected by Art 370 had brought the state to almost bankruptcy where all major institutions including JK Bank are just breaking down under pressure of large scale corruption . Example of JK Bank is big example to show how system had been drained financially for benefit of political forces and their recommendees . Huge amount of public money has been siphoned without any accountability. Loan worth crores granted to power brokers and political families had been written off at the cost of common man but none bothered to even care about sufferings of masses. It seems everyone in power or nearer to it was only interested in devising ways to loot public money . It needs control over UT by the centre to bring to book all corrupts and recover public money looted . Two former Chief ministers already being investigated is just indicator of things to come under transparent system .
Development and Growth
The large scale corruption has led to uneven growth in the state. Some of the regions of the state had not even got attention and had remained untouched by development , leading to disenchantment amongst masses of being second class citizens . This is apart the fact that the amount spent on development and growth was only fraction of what was coming from Central Govt in the shape of funds for the welfare of masses. In a responsive state all regions should have atleast the feel that they are being dealt equitably but this was lacking and led to unrest among Jammu and Ladakh people who felt cheated by the leaders of Valley and their stooges in Jammu and Ladakh who were no more than ” His Masters Voice ” .
Now with removal of old structure which had caused large scale anomalies and restricted equitable growth , some time is needed for the Central Govt to ensure equitable development of all regions to remove disparities done over so many decades to give feel of real justice to masses .
Separatism and militancy
The main threat of Art 370 was its support to propagate and protecting Separatist ideologies and giving a misfeeling to certain people in the state that they are different within Nation. This laid foundation for vested elements to propagate that apart from Indian Nationalism there is distinct Kashmir Nationalism also and people were misled to believe possibility of Nation within Nation, which ultimately led to propaganda of independence or other such anti national ideas, of course with support from across border, Art 370 never allowed the complete amalgamation of the state in National mainstream. State stood apart and stopped all avenues of growth with the nation because of vested interests of some politicians who were enjoying power by misleading people with emotive and radical thoughts . It was these ingredients which turned into militancy with aid and support of Pakistan and caused large scale destruction in scale leading to death of thousands and uprooting of minorities from their motherland . After Art 370 it is time to deal with separatists and militants with iron hands, without showing any mercy. Central govt control being there in UT will ensure complete eradication of militancy and seaparatism in comparatively shorter period leading to return of long lasting peace and normalcy in territory and restoration of its statehood , as promised by Prime Minister .
Infrastructure and Investments
With Art 370 and Art 35 A, gone decks have been cleared for people from rest of India to own land in the State and to invest majorly in the state which has all the natural resources to allow benefit of progress and growth to the people of the state which had been denied to them so far . The roadblock to such investments and creation of infrastructure so far was not bestowing right on land to investors and no guarantee to people coming in the state where non state subjects were not having even right to education to professional and technical institutions run or controlled by the state. With Central Govt control and better avenues created the confidence of the investors will be there to make investments in the state . Central Govt in control of UT will be in position to frame better schemes and rally around industry to come to Territory. Some big Industrial houses have already started process of making investments. Coming days will see more investments which interalia will translate into more jobs and business for locals .
Settlement of Displaced and Migrants
Because of situation created by Art 370 which was conducive for creating disturbances in the valley and some areas of Jammu, migration was forced upon minorities to create unipolar society with aid and instructions from enemies of the Nation sitting across border . There was already large population of displaced persons from areas under Illegal Pakistan and Chinese occupation whose genuine demands and concerns couldn’t be addressed because of misgovernance and lack of will and sympathetic attitude of successive governments . There were other large number of communities which had been waiting for justice for more than seven decades namely Refugees from areas which are now in Pakistan called West Pak Refugees, Valmikis and Gurkhas who didn’t get justice because of lack of being state subjects . There will be huge responsibility to settle all these segments lest they will be cheated even after death of Art 370 . Efforts will be made expeditiously to settle Kashmiri Pandit Migrants back in their homes in valley in a manner which may be worked out with community.Working out packages for other segments will be uphill task which can be meaningfully done in UT under central govt rather than leaving it to the corrupt political system of Jammu and Kashmir. Much more such infrastructure may be needed for harmonious and orderly mannered settlement so that it doesn’t cause concern to locals also . Its new situation. With Central Govt control on UT things will work out smoothly and in orderly manner. Confidence of people from outside territory will also be high in UT with Central Govt control for sometime till they settle down and then things will start happening on their own and chart out course by themselves.
(The author is a senior advocate)