The most striking aspect of the whole prevailing political situation in Jammu and Ladakh is the hostile attitude of the people to the negative politics being played by parties like the Congress
Gone are the days when the hostile nations and their paid agents in Kashmir and elsewhere would act and bleed the Indian nation and New Delhi would react and respond meekly. Now, India has started behaving like sovereign states act, behave and respond. It now acts and its acts are meaningful and result-oriented.
India’s foreign policy vis-à-vis Pakistan has undergone a radical change. The bulk of the international community is backing PM Narendra Modi and his Pakistan policy and his policy towards the strategic regions of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. The whole narrative has changed. Now, New Delhi tells Pakistan and other hostile nations in unequivocal terms that Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh were, and are, legitimately Indian and that its one-point agenda now is to retrieve the territories which have been under the illegal occupation of Pakistan since 1947-1948. The case in point is Pakistan-occupied-Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan.
PM Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh speak in one language and warn irresponsible Pakistan, epicenter of global terrorism, that it must behave failing which appropriate action would be taken. The truth, in short, is that India has told the international community that it could replicate Balakot again and again in case of need and to protect and advance further its paramount sovereign interests and that it would not allow any country to tinker even slightly with the country’s territorial integrity. Indeed, it’s a new India has its rightful place in the comity of self-respecting nations.
As for the people of Jammu and Ladakh, they have been in celebration mode ever since August 5. All, barring a few disgruntled and unpopular elements here and there, have extended, and continue to extend, their unflinching and unqualified support to the Narendra Modi Government’s initiatives
Things in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh have also changed and changed completely. The Nehruvian doctrine stands discarded and rejected. The divisive Article 370 has been thrown into the dustbin. The discriminatory Article 35A has become a story of the past. These were the two instruments which the separatists and the so-called mainstream leaders in Kashmir used to the hilt for almost 7 decades to subvert the polity both from within and outside and create a feeling among Kashmiri Muslims that they were different and that they were a race apart, who deserved a special and separate status within the Union. These were the two Articles which Pakistan and anti-India forces in Kashmir used 24X7 to mislead the international community that Jammu & Kashmir was an unsettled issue between India, Pakistan and Kashmiri Muslims. These two Articles plus the Civil Secretariat, the State Legislature, the Police, the Law and the Revenue Departments were the instruments which the Kashmir-based Abdullahs and Muftis exploited to the hilt to convert Jammu and Ladakh into Kashmir’s colonies and render the people of these two provinces unreal and ineffective for all practical purposes. These were also the instruments which the Abdullahs and Muftis exploited to the hilt to change demographics of Jammu and Ladakh to create Kashmir-like situation there and further the separatists’ nefarious break-India agenda and frighten the non-Muslim minorities, including Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains. These were also the instruments which were used by the anti-India forces to convert Kashmir 100 per cent in 1990. The Narendra Modi Government snatched all these instruments from the Abdullahs and Muftis with just one stroke of the pen in a most dramatic manner on August 5.
Not just this. The state of Jammu & Kashmir has also been broken into two Union Territories – UT of Jammu & Kashmir and UT of Ladakh. It happened for the first time in 72 years that a state was bifurcated into two Union Territories. All the three regions are now handled and governed directly by New Delhi or the Union Home Ministry. The votaries of greater autonomy, bordering on virtual sovereignty, including Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah, have lost their relevance even in Kashmir. Leave aside Jammu and Ladakh, where they had little or no say even before August 5, 2019, when PM Narendra Modi and HM Amit Shah scrapped Article 370 and Article 35A and reorganized the state. Both the Abdullahs are now under preventive detention. The votaries of Pakistan, self-rule or limited accession with India, India-Pakistan joint-control over Jammu & Kashmir, dual currency, demilitarization, soft borders, porous Line of Control and shared sovereignty, including Mehbooba Mufti, to have become irrelevant. She, like the Abdullahs, has also been under preventive detention since August 5. The story of leaders of other political parties in Kashmir, including the Congress, the CPI-M, the People’s Conference and the People’s Democratic Front is no different. They too have become irrelevant. Most of the leaders of these political parties and political formations have been under preventive detention.
That all these political parties and political formations have lost their sheen and appeal or become virtually irrelevant in the Kashmir Valley, the real trouble spot, could be seen from the fact that there has not been even one violent protest anywhere in the Kashmir’s ten districts since August 5. The reason is that the people of Kashmir have realized that the Narendra Modi Government means business and that it would be suicidal to take the law of the land in their own hands. The Central leadership and the Jammu & Kashmir Governor SP Malik have on occasions more than one told the Kashmiris that the powers-that-be in the state and at the centre would take care of all their needs and requirements and that the anti-state elements will not be spared. It’s, of course, true that the Muslim clergy in Kashmir and the Muslim religious places, including Mosques, have been trying to vitiate the atmosphere in the Valley. Mullahs and Maulvis are misusing mosques to order Kashmiri Muslims not to give their houses or shops on rent to outsiders or to sell their properties to outsiders. They have been opposing the new Kashmir policy of the Narendra Modi Government (Dainik Jagran, J&K Edition, August 30, 2019).
As for the people of Jammu and Ladakh, they have been in celebration mode ever since August 5. All, barring a few disgruntled and unpopular elements here and there, have extended, and continue to extend, their unflinching and unqualified support to the Narendra Modi Government’s initiatives. They are happy that they are now under the Central rule; they are happy because they have taken the initiatives of Narendra Modi Government to mean the beginning of a new era full of hope and promise for the future; they have been saying and asserting that now their voice would be heard and they would obtain their legitimate share in the polity and have a real say in the political and economic processes.
The most striking aspect of the whole prevailing political situation in Jammu and Ladakh is the hostile attitude of the people to the negative politics being played by parties like the Congress. They are using all kinds of invectives against the Congress and the Congress leadership and holding them responsible for all the ills which adversely impacted Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.
All in all, it can be said that the Narendra Modi Government has changed the nature of discourse on Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. This augurs well for the people of the UT of Jammu & Kashmir and UT of Ladakh and the nation as a whole. It augurs well all the more because the Modi Government has put things in perspective and given every one to understand that Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh are not disputed territories and that the only issue which still remains unresolved between India and Pakistan is the political future of PoJK and Gilgit-Baltistan.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.
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