Separation of Jammu from Kashmir is an exigency of the time and national requirement
Former President of India R Venkataraman had urged the then PM Indira Gandhi to “grant what Jammu wants, declare Ladakh UT and deal with Kashmir separately. He had said: This was the only solution available to the issues facing the nation in the erstwhile state’s three regions. CPI boss and former Union Home Minister Inderjit Gupta had also told the Lok Sabha that “trifurcation of J&K could be one of the solutions”. Prof Balraj Madhok and Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee too had vouched for the state’s reorganization of the state. Their view was that the aspirations of Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh were conflicting and mutually exclusive and these three disparate regions could not be maintained as one political unit. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) too had in 2002 adopted at Kurukshetra a comprehensive resolution on the need to trifurcate J&K state. Not just this, the J&K BJP adopted thrice resolution on the reorganization of J&K.
All these suggestions were well-meaning and worthy of serious consideration could be seen from the fact that PM Narendra Modi and HM Amit Shah appreciated them. They reorganized the erstwhile J&K State on August 5-6, 2019. The result was that Ladakh got separated from the state and it became UT on October 31. The leftover J&K also became UT the same day.
Their whole game plan is to capture Jammu’s strategic Shivalik ranges and accomplish what they call the “unfinished agenda of partition”.
However, there was a serious flaw in the otherwise historic and epoch-making legislation of 2019. The flaw was that the framers of the legislation ignored the Jammu factor as well as the serious problems being faced by the people of highly strategic Jammu province – the target of Pakistani ISI since 1994. They didn’t de-link Jammu province from Kashmir. They overlooked the fact that the maintenance of J&K as one political unit will only help the communal forces in the valley further hasten the process in Jammu province similar to the one that led to the wholesale migration of the minuscule minority of Kashmiri Hindus and over one lakh Dogras and Punjabis from Kashmir to Jammu in January 1990. Besides, they ignored the demographic changes Jammu city and areas around it and parts of Kathua, Samba, Udhampur, Rajouri and Poonch districts witnessed, particularly after the formation of Farooq Abdullah-led NC Government in October 1996.
Jammu province, as said, is a highly strategic region. Pakistan and its spy agency, Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI), and its agents in Kashmir and elsewhere in India have been trying their best to create a Kashmir-like situation in Jammu province since 1994 when Pakistan suffered a massive defeat in the UNHRC at Geneva. They had used their men in the establishment in J&K to further their disintegrate-India agenda. Their whole game plan is to capture Jammu’s strategic Shivalik ranges and accomplish what they call the “unfinished agenda of partition”.
It needs to be underlined that India would fall if Jammu province fell. It’s hoped that think-tanks and strategic affairs experts in the South and North Blocks would look all these facts in the face and grant full state status to Jammu province after segregating it from the jihad-gripped Kashmir. Separation of Jammu from Kashmir is an exigency of the time and national requirement. Such a reorganization of UT of J&K, on the one, would strengthen the nation’s backbone in the region, called Jammu province, and, on the other, defeat comprehensively the sinister move of Pakistan and its agents in Kashmir to change the Hindu-majority character of Jammu province.
It’s hardly necessary to reflect on the demographic changes in and around Jammu city on a massive scale as every detail concerning it is in the public domain. Suffice it to say that the 2001 Roshni Act and February 14, 2018, executive order issued by the then J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti to revenue magistracy and police were all calculated to changing Jammu’s demography. It’s a matter of great satisfaction that the powers-that-be in the UT and at the Centre has started acting against those who annexed state and forest lands in Jammu on an unprecedented scale. However, a grant of statehood status to Jammu province alone would help the Indian state achieve the desired results.
As for Kashmir, it has to be maintained as UT. The reasons are not far to seek. The most important one is that the vested interests in Kashmir had used the vital Home, Revenue, Finance, Law, and General Administration Departments to subvert the state from within and outside. Similarly, they had misused the Forest, Irrigation, Flood, Urban, and Housing Development Departments to change the demography of Jammu province. These are the stark realities and to ignore them would be simply suicidal. Even otherwise, Kashmir has to be maintained as UT given the nature of leadership in Kashmir and its ideology, objectives, and methodology. The case in point is what HM Amit Shah called the “Gupkar Gang” and the so-called People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD).
PM Modi and HM Amit Shah have done exceedingly well. They deserve bouquets. The nation would further eulogize their statesmanship if they finished the unfinished agenda of August 5, 2019: separation of Jammu from Kashmir and restriction of the area of strife to the small Kashmir valley. This precisely was what former President R Venkataraman had suggested more than three decades ago.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.