….. and the suspense continues

From this and the Supreme Court’s adjournment one deduces the idea that, one, the interlocutor will somehow fix the controversy surrounding Article 35A and, two, the Supreme Court tacitly agrees that the interlocutor will, among other things, settle the matter with regard to this Article, which mig
….. and the suspense continues
Representational Pic

The Supreme Court of India after clubbing a clutch of petitions challenging the validity of the Article 35A of Indian Constitution has adjourned the hearing on the matter for eight weeks.The reason for adjournment is the plea by the Attorney General Mr. Venugopal that an interlocutor has been appointed by the central government. What does that mean in common language? From this and the Supreme Court's adjournment one deduces the idea that, one, the interlocutor will somehow fix the controversy surrounding Article 35A and, two, the Supreme Court tacitly agrees that the interlocutor will, among other things, settle the matter with regard to this Article, which might either forestall the hearing or guide them in making a correct judgment. The mutual cooperation, agreement between the Centre's representative and the Supreme Court raises doubts about the intention behind adjournment. If only the Supreme Court judges had heard the interlocutor after he was appointed, may be they would have dismissed the Attorney General's remarks and proceeded with the hearing. Apparently, the former RAW chief is on the grand task of preventing Kashmir from becoming another Syria, creating his own imaginary Bashar Al Assad and the Russian and American missiles flying over the Kashmir space. Are the Supreme Court judges unaware of the fact that the interlocutor has been appointed without any specific agenda except the vague dialogue with all the stakeholders? Even that dialogue is ambiguous with the rigid position of the party which has assigned him the task. The real reason for the appointment is to give some breathing space to the alliance partner in Jammu and Kashmir, something to sell, and a face-lift to the Agenda of Alliance. Otherwise, the whole affair of interlocution is as good as dead, from the very start, unless the RAW chief undergoes some mystic transformation by the bank of the polluted Dal Lake. Unless the Center and the Supreme Court of India believe that after interlocution the various stakeholders in Kashmir will consent to the scrapping of Article 35, there is no point delaying the hearing. And if that had been the case, then the petitions would have come from the legislature of Jammu and Kashmir, not from some NGOs linked to the RSS. 

Collective Conscience and Article 35A

If the criterion of judgments is the satisfaction of the collective conscience, then the article is as good as gone. For good. Without any if and buts. As has happened in the case of Afzal Guru. Right now there is a clamour for scrapping of Article 35A and it is overwhelming. The Party in power has drawn the nationalist line which it does not want anyone to cross. The removal of the connected Article 370 is its article of faith. A matter which has traditionally supplied oxygen to its political philosophy. The coalition compulsion in J&K is slightly putting it in a difficult position. Even that compulsion will be discarded when push comes to shove, and the links untied with the coalition partner. Just like the former regime noosed the neck of Afzal when the issue was used to supply life to a cornered congress. A similar situation might emerge; with the Indian economy showing no signs of recovery, and the Modi magic showing some signs of fading, it is in the fitness of things to play the Article 35A card to revive the passion of the party. One should not be surprised if this card is used close to the next parliament elections, when the economy may have slipped further. The scrapping, with a bit of help from the willing compatriot judges, will come in handy, and return the Right to Delhi with a thumping majority. Until then seek adjournments, on either the plea of Interlocutor or some other excuse, with the aim of reaping a good harvest in the next elections.

And the collective conscience is hungry to be satisfied. Because it has been told that if you are not a state subject of J&K you cannot buy a bike nor get a house loan. That you cannot go to teach in Kashmir because you cannot buy a house, or you cannot get anything in your name. Then there are some members of the community, which originally aided in the creation of the provision of state subject, going to town how this article is an impediment in the unification of India. On top of that are people who feel that the iron hand of Sardar Patel has not been evenly used, and it is time Kashmiris are hit into patriotic line like the rest of princely states, and the sounds of secession are quashed for good. So it should not be difficult for the judges to cite the collective conscience when they do not have enough legal support to scrap the article. There is now a well-established convention of the collective conscience. Looks like it is only a matter of time when this clause will come down on Jammu and Kashmir.

What if Article 35A goes?

The question is like what if Afzal Guru is hanged? There will be an agitation. There will be bloodshed. And there will be debates for a while. Plus Arnob Goswami  & Co. and their rant. Until things are back to 'normal.' And after some years you will have a Mukherjee as a neighbour, with sweets from Kolkata. A few more decades down, Kashmir will be like Catalonia and Ireland, with Unionists and Secessionists pitted against each other, with almost equal numbers. That is the vision behind scrapping of Article 35A, not the rights of women or economic prosperity of Kashmir. Then only a wooden parrot, in some cage, may be talking about UN resolutions. Yet, the physical 'integration' may be complete, a permanent psychological distance between Kashmir and Delhi is a given, with far reaching implications, deep inside the belly of future.


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