Generally, the ‘policy of Curfew’ is criticized and called a fascist action by the political critiques. Before 1988 there were not many issues of Curfew. Just think why the valley faced curfew frequently after 1988? Were rightists in the center? Was there RSS in Valley? NO! a big NO. It was started because anti-India protests started to intensify after 1988. In 1989, Pakistan helped in providing weapons to the militants and the terror activities had reached on its peak. After that, misuse of power by a few Indian forces were used as justification for the violence done by militants. From then till today it has been oscillating like pendulum. Indian security forces kinetically responds to the potential gain of Militants. One day this pendulum must be stopped.
From the very beginning this structure was engineered by sand. In constituent assembly debate on Oct 17, 1949 Maulana Hasrat Mohini asked “Why was Article 370 inserted in the Constitution?” “Why this discrimination please?”. The answer was given by Nehru’s confidant Gopalaswami Ayyangar, Minister without portfolio in the first Union Cabinet, a former Diwan of J&K & the principal drafter of Article 370. Ayyangar argued that for a variety of reasons Kashmir, unlike other princely states, was not ripened for integration. Can today’s intellectual refurnish this view after almost 70 years? Does it still raw or it has ripened? Supporters of Article 370 have shifted the context of this unripened fruit to the fruit of asymmetric federalism to justify their take.
On Oct 17, 1949, Nehru was in the US and Ayyangar was entrusted with the motion for the insertion of Article 306A in the constituent assembly. It could also be inserted even after his arrival to India. But he was so clever that he didn’t want to take this blunder on his head. After the introduction of the motion, Maulana Hasrat Mohani tried to oppose special provisions, but he didn’t get much time. Motion was adopted on the same day. Article 306A was renumbered to Article 370 at the revision stage. Ambedkar’s opposition to this move is evident from the fact that he had refused even to attend the session that passed the motion. Way of introduction & abrogation was same i.e. quick.
Dr. Ambedkar opposed the special status for J&K. According to him, it would lead to breaking the fabric of national unity & integrity. He turned down the demand for special status by saying “You want India to defend Kashmir, feed its people, give Kashmiris equal rights all over India. But you want to deny India and Indians’ all rights in Kashmir. I am a Law Minister of India; I cannot be a party to such a betrayal of national interests.” Nehru entrusted Gopalaswami Ayyangar, Minister without Portfolio in the interim govt and former diwan of J&K, with the responsibility of preparing a draft for the necessary legislation to grant special status to J&K. It’s nothing but betrayal of all Indians. This article is built on ‘idea of betrayal’
In the context of Kashmir, our Indian leaders were short sighted. Wherever matter of conflicts is there, only binary exists. Either it is to be zero or one and there is no in between. For example, today there is no problem with Hyderabad. It was also similar to Kashmir issues at that point of time. Regarding Hyderabad our intention was clear that it would be the part of India. That’s why it is today. But, unintentionally, Problem of Kashmir is created by our leaders in search of the way of adopting middle path like Plebiscite. It should be executed at that point of time or it should not be proposed. Article 35A was inserted in our constitution through presidential order without passing it in both the houses, which was the inaccurate and illegitimate way. Such presidential order had to die much before it had beeen added through this mean.
Islamic fundamentalists bleed Kashmiriyat during 90s and throw out the Kashmiri pandits violently to homogenize the area in one night. From that day exact idea of Kashmir was lost and new Wahabi ideology started witnessing its footprints. Fundamentalists bleed Kashmiriyat once but they have been bleeding by Indian Army since 90s. Only the matter of sadness is that some innocent Kashmiris become victims sometimes. Intellectuals built up propaganda that it is very difficult issues. It was NOT as big as it had been created. Government has broken two myths – ‘myth of nuclear deterrence’ of Pakistan and ‘myth of separation of Kashmir’ of Separatist leaders of Kashmir. Myth of separation are bound to burst. I hope peace would be restored now.
I have seen several times that intellectuals give lecture on Article 35A and justify it on the name of pluralism and cultural diversity. First, there is no more conception of “Kashmiriyat” in Kashmir valley since Jihadis of Wahabi ideologies have captured it while the central govt was sleeping with depth of dream. Major Gaurav Arya, working in Kashmir for a long time, tells in his speech that it’s very rare to see Kashmiri in their traditional dress and their embroidery. Local Kashmiri pandits were thrown out who were also the cause for giving such autonomy. Secondly, constitution says ‘India is indestructible union of destructible states.’ States are made only for the sake of easing administration. No Indian state can think of seceding. Thus, it’s Indian govt prerogative to say good bye to Article 35A.
30 years since exclusion of Kashmiri Pandits, ‘Kashmiriyat’ has changed into ‘Wahabiyat’. Indian Muslim elites have been silent on this. They only come on T.V. to accuse central government policy of Kashmir. They have one of the largest NGO ‘All India Muslim Personal Law Board’. It has more than 200 members. How many times they went Kashmir to persuade Kashmiri through speeches. Due to religious similarity, possibility of getting Kashmir normal is higher if they tried. Muslim leaders come from Hyderabad to small village near Faridabad on small dispute b/w Hindu & Muslims but never went Kashmir for any speech of unity. AIMPLB surfaces out to maintain patriarchal mindset by opposing Triple Talaq Bill but has no works on Kashmir. Even communities having common interests were silent since their inner heart would have been pleasing them for Nizam-e-Mustafa.
A debate has been done to confuse all whether it was temporary or permanent. Supreme Court in 2018 declared that the Article 370 was not temporary. In Vijayalakshmi Jha vs U.O.I. case 2017, court argued that Article 370 was temporary & its continuation was a fraud on the Constitution. Just go back to constituent assembly to ponder upon. Gopalaswami Ayyangar, principal drafter of Article 370 replied to Maulana Mohini for the need of Article 370. He argued that J&K was not ripened for integration because India had been at war and its some of territories were in the hands of “rebels and enemies.” He hoped that J&K would one day integrate like other States of India, hence he used the term “temporary provisions” in the title of the Article. Such fraud on the constitution should have been corrected very earlier.
Article 370 never benefited Kashmiri but it has been an instrument of political elites and bureaucrats. In case of any malpractices related to election which is usual in Kashmir, a local contestant couldn’t approach autonomous bodies like election commission due to shield of Article 370. Now just think whom does it benefit? It benefits the nexus of political elites and bureaucrats who nominate members on the name of security threat. Such culture of nomination started in 1952 where from 69 constituency people were picked and chosen and nomination of the rest was rejected. Planned expenditure per capita in India apart from Kashmir is Rs 1100 but in Kashmir it is Rs 6000. Where does this money go? Such corruption was supposed to go away.
Question was raised against the way of scrapping articles related to special status of J&K whether it is unconstitutional or not. There were two options : – First, “Bottom up approach” which has been followed since independence. It means convince Kashmiri to join mainstream and win their confidence. Once we win confidence we will merge Kashmir like rest of the state. Second, “Top down approach” which was done yesterday by the govt. First establish the system and then go for convincing. First option seems better but actually it is utopian idea which has witnessed its failure in context of Kashmir. None of them are unconstitutional, both are different mechanism for different ideologies. Since first option didn’t meet the desired aspirations then the second option must be executed.
See how meta narrative has been created that Jammu, Ladakh and Kashmir are collectively called as Kashmir. Former J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti called government reaction as attack on ONLY Muslim majority state. Some are crying by saying that how govt can undermine asymmetric federalism. I know they must be aware that Ladakh is completely different from Kashmir. People of Ladakh don’t speak Urdu. In spite of it, Kashmir establishment imposed Urdu as state language on them. Sonam Wangchuk claimed that they were called ‘Jahil’ if they feel uncomfortable. It has been demand of Ladakhi for a very long time to make it UT. World didn’t listen their words because they don’t know how to flush power through the barrel of the gun. People of Ladakh & Jammu are happy with the decision. The world was not ready to consider people of Jammu and Laddakh. Thus, Article 370 had to die.
After India-Pak war of 1971, Pak army decided that they would not go for direct confrontation with any professional army. Rather they planned a policy of “Bleed India by thousand cuts” through non-state actors. They intended to rent their army for the world to earn money. During cold war Pakistan established “Jihadi company” backed by USA to contain Russia in Afghanistan. Once dust of cold war settled, Pakistan started accelerating new programs like misguiding Khalistan & Kashmir group in India. Operation led by K.P.S. Gill successfully overcame problems of Khalistan since in Punjab there was no shields like Article 370. But, due to shields and emotional propagandas in Kashmir separatists grew with great pace. This shield was bound to be melted.
Kashmir issues became complex because of the immature leadership of Kashmir. If the real context of an issue is changed, it becomes complex. The case of Kashmir was a secular matter but it was made religious and this made it complex. They made it an issue of establishing Nizam-e-Mustafa (Establishment of Islamic Shariah). Since Muslims in India participate in all aspects of life and avail all benefits but if Indian Muslims were to start a campaign to establish Nizam-e-Mustafa in India, they would lose everything like what Kashmiri lost. Muslims cannot think of progress separately from the rest of the country, and if they isolate themselves from the rest of India, they certainly cannot develop.
Kashmir issue was a secular issue and it had to be solved within the secular parameters. India would not have any problem with the special status. In fact, India has given such status to various tribal areas. Autonomy doesn’t mean militancy and separatism. Unfortunately, the leadership of Kashmir could not take the right decision and the best offer was rejected. The social interdependence of Kashmiri Muslims and Pundits were broken in 1990s and violence was proliferated in the valley. That was the mark point from which such special status starts dying its own death. Hardly within 30 years, it took the last breath. In fact, it was bound to die on its own death.