The PM needs to do two more things to limit the menace of secessionism Separation of Jammu and Ladakh from Kashmir and abrogation of illegal Article 35A and “Temporary” Article 370.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched his campaign for the 2019 crucial general elections on March 28. That day, he addressed three massive rallies, one each at Meerut (UP), Rudrapur (Uttrakhand) and Akhnoor (Jammu). In 2014 also, he had launched his election campaign from Jammu after paying obeisance at the holy shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi.
This time, Narendra Modi didn’t invoke late AB Vajpayee even once. Nor did he talk about the Vajpayee’s “Kashmiriyat, Jamhuooriyat and Insaniyat” doctrine – the doctrine which NC president Farooq Abdullah, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti and others of their ilk in Kashmir invoke day-in and day-out to make Narendra Modi pursue it and resolve the “conflict” in Jammu & Kashmir. This time, the PM invoked Sardar Patel (who integrated princely states into India), Subhas Bose, who gave up his life for the cause of the country, and Sher-e-Jammu (Lion of Jammu), Pandit Prem Nath Dogra, who, along with the founder president of Jana Sangh Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, had launched in Jammu “Ek Nissan (one flag), Ek Vidhan (one constitution) and Ek Pradhan (one Prime Minister) movement in 1952 that led to the arrest of Sheikh Abdullah and fall of his pro-greater autonomy government on August 9, 1953.
Jammu & Kashmir and the country had been suffering for several years. Many lives were lost to the militants
This time, Prime Minister Narendra Modi — apart from tearing into Pakistan, cataloguing the evils of terrorism, hailing the Indian Air Force’s February 26 successful strikes deep-inside Pakistan at Balakot, condemning the February 14 Pulwama massacre of 45 CRPF jawans and regretting the negative attitude of the opposition towards national security and its appreciation in Pakistan – reflected on the nature of Kashmir’s ailment. He called the bluff of the Abdullah and the Mufti dynasties, of course, without naming them and held them and the Congress squarely responsible for the whole mess in Jammu & Kashmir in general and the tiny Kashmir Valley in particular. He virtually said that there was no Kashmir problem and that the problems in Kashmir were, and are, the Congress, Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti.
It would be only prudent to quote verbatim what he said about Jammu & Kashmir and about the Congress, the NC and the PDP. He said: “Jammu & Kashmir and the country had been suffering for several years. Many lives were lost to the militants. Congress and their allies are the people, who didn’t trust the capability of security forces and took no bold decisions. They are like dead people. I assure the people of Jammu & Kashmir that this ‘Chowkidar’ will stand firmly and won’t allow designs of these three parties to succeed. The people of the state must remain vigilant against the policies of the NC and the PDP for their pro-separatist agenda. The Governments headed by the Congress, the NC and the PDP did discrimination with Jammu and delayed the developmental projects. When we imposed a ban on groups (read Jamaat-e-Islami and JKLF) involved in the secession of the State from India, these political parties have been opposing it. The Congress, the NC and the PDP are responsible for militancy in Jammu & Kashmir and the plight of Kashmiri Pandits. For these three parties, family and dynasty come first while the country and its prestige don’t matter. Such kind of thinking (of these parties) has boosted the morale of the terrorists” (Daily Excelsior, Jammu, Mar 29).
Between November 30, 2013, and November 23, 2014, he had also addressed 5 elections rallies, 3 in Jammu and one each at Srinagar and Ladakh’s Leh. Each time he invoked Vajpayee and gave everyone to understand that his whole Kashmir policy was based on the Vajpayee Kashmir doctrine.
It would not be out of place to refer to here what he said on Jammu on December 1, 2013 at a massive “Lalkar Rally”, at “Bharat Vijay Rally” in Jammu’s Hiranagar on March 26, 2014, and during a massive public meeting in Kashmir’s Srinagar on November 7, 2015.
It’s no wonder then that the nation has appreciated PM Narendra Modi’s rational and national initiatives.
In Jammu, on December 1, 2013, the then Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi said: “People of Jammu & Kashmir still have a feeling of reverence for Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ji. In this country, no Prime Minister stepped on this land for 14 years! Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the first Prime Minister who, after 14 years, came to Jammu & Kashmir in spite of the grave danger. Atal Ji has given us three mantras and they are the guidelines for us. Respected Atal Ji said that we will work for Kashmir on three mantras: First – Insaniyat (humanity), Second – Jamhooriyat, and Third – Kashmiriyat..! Friends, Shri Atal ji asked us to follow these three things” (Daily Excelsior, Dec 2, 2013).
On March 26, 2014, at Hiranagar, Narendra Modi said: “The path shown by Vajpayee – humanity, democracy and Kashmiriyat – we will carry forward. If the Vajpayee Government had got another five years, it would have changed the face of Kashmir and problems would have ended” (Indiatoday.in, New Delhi, March 26, 2014).
And on November 7, 2015, PM Narendra Modi said the same thing while addressing a public meeting at the heavily-guarded Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium, Srinagar. Invoking Vajpayee and his “Kashmiriyat, Jamhooriyat and Insaniyat” doctrine, he said: “I will like to follow these three mantras which are the pillars of development of Kashmir” (The Hindu, Nov 7, 2015).
Indeed, what the PM said in Jammu on March 28 and no reference whatsoever to Vajpayee and no reference to “Kashmiriyat, Jamhooriyat and Insaniyat” doctrine even once constituted a radical change in his Kashmir policy. The BJP national general secretary and in-charge Jammu & Kashmir Ram Madhav’s March 27, 2019 statement that “Article 35A and Article 370 will be part of the BJP’s election manifesto” and “the party will work for their abrogation” (Dainik Jagran, March 28); Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s March 28 blog that dismissed Article 35A as “illegal”, “discriminatory” and “constitutionally vulnerable” (The Hindustan Times, March 29); and the Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s March 29 candid admission that “Article 35A has hurt the people of Jammu & Kashmir” (Zee TV interview) also suggested a clear change in the attitude of the BJP as a party and the Narendra Modi government towards the state and Article 35A and Article 370, which have held the state aloof from the national mainstream and promoted only politics of competitive communalism and secessionism in the Kashmir Valley.
Not just this, (1) the withdrawal of support to the Mehbooba Mufti Government on June 19, 2018; (2) repeal of the obnoxious Jammu & Kashmir Roshni Act of 2001 under which almost “24 lakh kanals of state land was looted and plundered by politicians, bureaucrats, police officials and others” in Jammu; (3) withdrawal of the notification that ordered disarming of Village Defence Committees (VDCs) constituted during the Vajpayee era to tackle the menace of terrorism in Jammu & Kashmir; (4) ban on Jamaat-e-Islami and JKLF; (5) reopening of the abduction and murder cases against JKLF chief Yasin Malik after a long gap of 30 years; (6) detention of over 700 Jamaat operatives; (7) seizer of over 80 bank accounts of the Jamaat both in Kashmir and Jammu; (8) raids on the premises of Kashmiri separatists and pro-separatist business houses; (9) detention of several top-ranking separatists, including Shabir Shah; (10) withdrawal of security of over 300 separatists and separatist-friendly political leaders; (11) grant of divisional status to Ladakh much to the chagrin of Kashmiri leaders, to mention only a few, all indicate a change in the Narendra Modi Government’s attitude towards Jammu & Kashmir.
All this augurs well for the future of the state and the nation as a whole. It’s no wonder then that the nation has appreciated PM Narendra Modi’s rational and national initiatives. The PM needs to do two more things to limit the menace of secessionism to the Kashmir Valley and integrate Jammu & Kashmir fully into India: Separation of Jammu and Ladakh from Kashmir and abrogation of illegal Article 35A and “Temporary” Article 370. Separation of Jammu and Ladakh from Kashmir and abrogation of Article 35A and Article 370 are a national requirement.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.