Eerie calm has been prevailing in Kashmir for the past may days. Speculations are rife that the Article 35A, which defines permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir, could be scrapped.
There has been no official word about the Articles 35A and 370 but the senior BJP leader Shivraj Singh Chauhan, who was on 2-day visit to Kashmir, on Saturday said that as of now BJP has no plans to see Article 35A scrapped. The top security officials maintained that deployment of additional 10,000 troops in Kashmir is a “routine exercise” and people should not get panicked.
Petitions challenging the validity of the Article 35A are pending before the Supreme Court and the matter is sub-judice. The Government of India will have to wait for the Apex Court’s decision before taking any call on its own.
If this vital Article is scrapped there is every possibility about the decision evoking sharp reactions in the Valley as it’s an emotional issue for the people of Kashmir. Unfortunately few news channels and media organisations are adding fuel to the fire by blowing this issue out of proportion. Someone needs to tell these people that Kashmiris have been living with India for the past seven decades and they have accepted J&K’s accession with the union long back. It’s unfortunate that by resorting to such tactics these channels and media outlets are trying to provoke the people and are hell bent upon demonizing Kashmiris.
The government of the day needs to reassure the people rather than remaining silent. People of Kashmir have been facing tremendous hardships for the past many years and they need a respite. Controversies won’t help anyone’s cause.
Kashmiri leaders need to behave more responsibly. It’s high time for Kashmiri politicians to get united and convey it to the Government of India that everyone needs to be taken on board before taking any crucial decision.
At present Jammu and Kashmir is directly under President’s rule and New Delhi can take any decision vis-a-vis Kashmir but one fails to understand why the GoI wants to stir the hornet’s nest at this point of time when normalcy is slowly returning to Kashmir.
It appears that everyone in New Delhi has joined the clamour to resolve the Kashmir problem once for all. A notion is being created that by scrapping Articles 35A and 370 this problem could be resolved once for all. The think tanks sitting in Delhi need to ponder upon the fact would scrapping the special status of Jammu and Kashmir really help in resolving the Kashmir issue? Someone needs to tell them that there is nothing much left in the Articles 370 and 35A. These Articles have been eroded to a great extent during all these years. Irony is that the ones who eroded these Articles in the past are projecting themselves as Messiahs of the people and are swearing by the special status of the state.
The Bharatiya Janata Party led NDA regime which returned to power for the second consecutive term with a thumping majority needs to work towards bringing the people of Kashmir closer. Pushing them away will add to alienation. Kashmir problem cannot be resolved by scrapping the special status of the state. It can be resolved by doing something for the youth who have been left to fend for themselves by the successive regimes.
Kashmir is only place in the country where BJP has not been able to make its presence felt by winning any Parliamentary or Assembly seat. The BJP leadership needs to think about making the party strong in the Valley rather than raking up the controversial issues. It looks like that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s message of sab ka saath, sab ka vikas is yet to reach the Valley.
There are many unaddressed issues which need immediate attention. Many areas are without basic amenities for the past seven decades and the unemployment has added to the miseries of the people. These issues touch the skin of a common man in Kashmir and have to be addressed without any delay. People of Kashmir need a respite and the rulers need to give it a thought. Policy decisions can wait till normalcy in Kashmir is restored fully.
(The writer is a former journalist , fellow International Peace Studies and member of JK Youth Alliance)