There is only but one way in which the menace of secessionism could be restricted to the tiny Kashmir Valley and that is by separating Jammu and Ladakh from Kashmir and creating two Union Territories in Kashmir
National security; Indian sovereignty; the February 14 Pulwama massacre of 47 CRPF jawans; the February 27 air strikes by Indian Air Force deep inside Pakistan at Balakot on Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist-training camp; Articles 35A and 370; politics of separatism as being indulged in by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the National Conference (NC) and the Congress in Jammu & Kashmir have become five major planks in the 2019 crucial general elections. And, it is the BJP which has been raking up all these issues 24×7 to corner the Congress leadership comprising Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi and win the 2019 general elections.
The point is that the Prime Minister has publicly said that the NC and the PDP are separatist outfits; that both these parties are working for the state’s separation from India
Both, the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, and BJP national president, Amit Shah, have been telling the nation that the Congress has been treading a dangerous path and flirting with dangerous tools like the PDP and the NC, which have been seeking to separate Jammu & Kashmir from India and demanding separate Prime Minister (Wazir-e-Azam) and separate President (Sadar-e-Riyasat) for the state.
Prime Minister Modi said so without mincing words on April 12 during his election campaign rallies in different States. “Thousands of jawans have sacrificed their lives to protect Jammu & Kashmir,” he repeatedly said. “Will you allow Kashmir to break from India and have separate Prime Minister? The Congress is supporting the political party, which has been demanding separate Prime Minister for Kashmir,” he again and again said.
However, it was at Jammu’s Kathua on April 14 that PM Narendra Modi explained in detail his policy vis-à-vis Jammu & Kashmir, Addressing a massive “Vijay Rally”, he, inter-alia, said: “What was in the minds of the Congress, the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party has been exposed and these parties are now threatening to separate Jammu & Kashmir from India, they are threatening bloodshed, they are threatening separate Prime Minister (for Jammu & Kashmir).
Just like the hollow nuclear threats of Pakistan have been badly exposed, we will not allow designs of these parties to succeed. They haven’t inherited Kashmir. Jammu & Kashmir is an integral part of India. We will never allow its separation…Shyama Prasad Mukherjee had given the slogan of ‘Ek Vidhaan, Ek Pradhan, Ek Nishaan’ (One Constitution, One Head and One Symbol) for Jammu & Kashmir and this `Chowkidaar’ is also committed to that. Shyama Prasad’s ideology is ‘wachan patra’ (agreement) for us and carved on a stone which cannot be removed. This was the commitment of BJP and this chowkidar of the nation is linked to this ideology as well. Congress and its alliance partners can do their best but they will find Modi standing before them like a wall. I will not allow in the state Do Nissan, Do Vidhan and Do Pradhan”. In other words, he declared that he will remove Article 370 under which the solitary State of Jammu & Kashmir has a separate constitution and a separate flag.
Earlier on April 11, Amit Shah said the same thing at Kalimpong, West Bengal, while addressing an election rally. Not just this, he has been declaring again and again at each and every election rally that he addresses and each and every interview that he gives to national TV news channels and national dailies that the Narendra Modi Government II will abrogate Article 35A and Article 370 after the elections.
It was on April 8 that the BJP made public its election manifesto in the presence of PM Narendra Modi, which pledged that the BJP, if voted back to power, will remove both these Articles, strengthen the country’s war machine in Jammu & Kashmir by enforcing in letter and spirit Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and Disturbed Areas Act (DAA) and do everything to integrate the state fully into India.
The 45-page BJP election manifesto was totally different from that of the Congress’ 55-page election manifesto, released on April 2 by AICC president Rahul Gandhi. It suggested that the BJP had turned Jan Sangh for all practical purposes. (The Jan Sangh lost its identity in 1977 when its leadership merged with the Janata Party). It was for the first time after 1980 that the BJP spoke the language of the Jan Sangh, its earlier incarnation. It didn’t talk about Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Nor did it talk about “Kashmiriyat, Jamhooriyat and Insaniyat”. It only talked SP Mookerjee’s doctrine: “Ek Desh Mein Do Nissan, Do Vidhan, Do Pradhan Nahin Chalenge” (No place for two flags, two constitutions and two Presidents in India).
The point is that the Prime Minister has publicly said that the NC and the PDP are separatist outfits; that both these parties are working for the state’s separation from India; and that the Congress has been hobnobbing with parties like the NC. The Prime Minister did make a valid point by hitting the nail on the head and calling the problems in Kashmir by name. And, it has happened for the first time in 71 years. It augurs well for the future of the nation and the people of Jammu & Kashmir.
To be more precise, Delhi-controlled, supervised and regulated Chandigarh-type model alone can help the bleeding nation surmount the problem of secessionism and terrorism in the Valley
What, then, is the way out? What, then, is the solution to the menace of separatism based on religion? How could the Abdullahs and Muftis be prevented from muddying the Indian waters in Jammu and Ladakh? What should be done to limit the menace of secessionism to the tiny Kashmir Valley and eventually eradicate it? Should the Government of India hold assembly elections in the state as being demanded by the NC, the PDP and the Congress before taking certain actions calculated to weaken the hold of the NC, the PDP and the Congress on the government institutions, including the seat of power, the Civil Secretariat?
It would be only in the fitness of things and in the larger national interest to end the 71-year-old system that considered Kashmir and Kashmiri leaders, including the Abdullahs and the Muftis, the sole factors in the state’s political situation and Jammu and Ladakh as their two colonies. The system that hurt the nation in the state, promoted Kashmiri Muslim sub-nationalism and cult of secession and ignored, marginalized, weakened and rendered voiceless and ineffective Jammu and Ladakh, the state’s two largest regions occupying 89% of the state’s territory and housing over 50% of the state’s population.
Holding assembly elections in Jammu & Kashmir before introducing the required changes would simply mean again handing over the state power to Kashmiri leaders, who misused and exploited it to the hilt during all these 71 years of the state’s accession to harm the nation in the state by promoting overtly and covertly fissiparous tendencies; who misused and exploited the elected assembly, the office of the Chief Minister and such crucial departments as Home, Law, Revenue and General Administration Department to subvert the Indian state. It also needs to be noted that it is the Chief Minister who presides over meetings of the Unified Command and a peep into the recent past suggests that Chief Ministers like Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti never allowed the Armed Forces to operate in the manner they should have to defeat the cult of terror and secession.
Kashmir, which is inferior to Jammu and Ladakh in terms of land area, population and voters, elects 46 members to the 87-member assembly. Jammu and Ladakh together elect 41 members, 5 less than Kashmir, and 3 less than the required number of 44. In other words, elections to the assembly would mean re-transfer of power to Farooq Abdullah or his son Omar Abdullah or to Mehbooba Mufti or to NC and the PDP combine plus the Congress.
The political scene of Kashmir has changed. The attitude of the weakened Abdullahs, the Muftis and the Congress also has changed. It became manifestly clear on November 21, 2018, when they formed what they called “Grand Alliance to protect the state and its special status”.
That there is no fundamental difference between the Abdullahs-the Muftis-the Congress and the hardcore separatists can be seen from the statements the so-called mainstream parties in Kashmir have been making for months now. It was no wonder then that the Jammu & Kashmir Governor, Satya Pal Malik, on April 7, 2019, had to warn that the “mainstream political parties should not raise issues that can endanger peace in the state and blur the line that separates them from terrorists and secessionists”.
There is only but one way in which the menace of secessionism could be restricted to the tiny Kashmir Valley and that is by separating Jammu and Ladakh from Kashmir and creating two Union Territories in Kashmir, one each for the persecuted and hounded out Kashmiri Hindus and the remaining population in the Valley. To be more precise, Delhi-controlled, supervised and regulated Chandigarh-type model alone can help the bleeding nation surmount the problem of secessionism and terrorism in the Valley. The sooner it is implemented, the better.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.