BJP’s Political Adventure in JK

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BJP’s Political Adventure in JK
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Since February means peak chilly winter time in Kashmir, it would help state government to control any uprising easily if any untoward situation arises regarding Article 35A. Also the government wants Gujarat Assembly elections and J&K Panchayat elections scheduled to be over by February, be hassle-free and away from consequential court hearing.


Mir Iqbal Ahmad

As a starter of any peace process in J&K, warming up with initiatives is an old grown norm. Since 1947 many initiatives have been taken by India and Pakistan to find out the solution of Kashmir problem at bilateral as well as international levels like Tashkant summit, Shimla Agreement, Lahore summit, Agra summit, Musharaf-Manmohan Formula. More, whenever situation in Kashmir turned hostile, India took various steps to engage Kashmiri separatist leadership in dialogue especially after 1990’s when the armed insurgency broke out. Ironically once Valley breathes peaceful air, New Delhi gets lenient to the process and put its initiatives to the back burner.

Over the past few years, the situation has further worsened. Ideology of BJP is clearly against the aspirations and sentiments of the people of Jammu Kashmir as witnessed by their vocal widespread opposition to Article 370 of Indian constitution. As it wants to scrap article 370, anything given to people of J&K under Article 370 is unacceptable to BJP’s beliefs.

Adding fuel to the fire, a new issue of Article 35A is being discussed and debated and is put in the apex court to scrap it from the Indian constitution which was inducted in the constitution by virtue of Article 370). These untimely and bogus pricks by BJP are inspired from the legacy of right wing party Shyama Prasad Mukherjee who believed in “A single country cannot have two constitutions, two prime ministers, two national emblems”.

While BJP has cooked up stories against the special status conferred to J&K, referring Article 370 as not being in the interest of nation. At the same time it has never raised its finger against the special status given to other states under Indian Constitution.

Their desperation against the special status of J&K is evident from the attitude and behavior of official spokespersons of BJP on national media. Interestingly, PDP-the present alliance partner of BJP in state smelled such an open threat to the special status of Jammu and Kashmir during 2014-15 state assembly elections.

Patron of PDP Late Mufti sahib campaigned against BJP and grabbed votes. He projected PDP as the only savior of people of J&K. After elections, unfortunately, the same PDP paved a way for BJP in fulfilling their dream. BJP was formally invited in the state and helped to achieve inconceivable political heights. BJP stressed upon revoking Article 370 in their campaigns, which they openly projected immediately after coming to the power. Nevertheless it failed in all of its attempts.

Now the appointment of Interlocutor by BJP government has shocked many within and outside the party ranks, receiving mixed reactions. Many are of the opinion that appointing interlocutor has proved PM Modi’s failure in handling Kashmir issue. In my opinion, uncontrolled situation in the valley and tremendous pressure of USA has forced BJP to appoint the Interlocutor, just before the trip of US President Donald Trump t the Asian countries. 

Within J&K as well, there is a mixed reaction viz z viz interlocutor. Although, most pro-Indian politicians welcomed the initiative, they have been wary of the motives and mandate of interlocutor and identification of stake holders. The Interlocutor came up to offer talks with Hurriyat. However, Hurriyat and allied organizations have totally rejected this initiative on the pretext that Pakistan ought to be a dialogue partner.

Over to the other side, hearing is going on 35 A in Supreme Court. The Attorney General of India in the latest hearing has asked Supreme Court to delay the due verdict for six months on the pretext of appointment of interlocutor by union government, to give peace talks some space.

On this SC has delayed its verdict for 12 weeks making it due in first week of February. It has, however, raised many questions like whether delaying tactics of Supreme Court are serving the purpose of government of India?

Interlocutor and 35 A have nothing to do with each other. While Interlocutor is to suggest and find out the possible solution of Kashmir issue, the hearing on 35 A in apex court is on the legality of this Article in Indian Constitution. The chosen Interlocutor is not any legal luminary but just ex-head of an intelligence agency. So obviously legality of Article 35A can’t be decided by him.  Then why this untimely and unnecessary bundling up?

Earlier Article 35A had never come into spotlight of discussions and debates of any political entity. In my view, the mix up is to serve the interest of Indian government. It aims to reduce self-rule and greater autonomy demanded by state’s mainstream political parties to Article 35A. Similarly, it is also focused to bring down Hurriyat demands of independence, plebiscite and Pakistan.

Moreover, the clubbing of Interlocutor’s appointment and Article 35A has unveiled government’s desire of bargaining domination in ongoing political dialogue. Delaying verdict till February has two main implications.  

Since February means peak chilly winter time in Kashmir, it would help state government to control any uprising easily if any untoward situation arises regarding Article 35A. Also the government wants Gujarat Assembly elections and J&K Panchayat elections scheduled to be over by February, be hassle-free and away from consequential court hearing.

Revoking article 35A is like inviting unending trouble in the entire state. Its revocation would unite all the three provinces Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh of the state against center which so far are divided due to policies and politics of national political parties. BJP and its allied organizations are trying to put J&K on fire to reap political benefits in rest of the country.

However, it must be noted that such a step is bound to isolate the people of state from the rest of country. Warning against any such move, even the CM Mehbooba Mufti went on to say any misadventure with Article 35A would end up having nobody in J&K to raise Indian flag in the state. Special status of J&K is nowhere debatable and consequences of any such prickly move would weigh heavier for Indian leadership.

The author is a Social and Political activist and the views in this article are his own and not necessarily of the newspaper’s editorial policy.

He can be reached at miriqbal.iyc@gmail.com

 

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