Year of revolutionary changes, but echo system remains intact
August 5 will go down in the history of India as a day when the determined nation achieved what was considered by almost all as absolutely “unachievable ” Had anyone ever thought that Ram Mandir Bhumi Pujan will take place at the birthplace of Lord Ram at Ayodhya and nation would witness the process leading to the construction of magnificent Ram Temple? No. Not at all. But it will happen on August 5, 2020. Everything is in place, notwithstanding many senseless secular attempts being made at derailing the scheduled programme. PM Narendra Modi is all set to lay the foundation stone. The historic event will undo the 500-year-old wrong committed by the invaders to create a symbol of Indian slavery and taunt the Indians. Undoubtedly, the event will constitute a splendid victory of the Sanatan Dharma over pseudo-secularism.
Similarly, had anyone ever imagined even in his/her dream that unsettling and divisive Article 370 and highly discriminatory Article 35A will be abolished and 174-year-old J&K State divided into two UTs – UT of J&K and UT of Ladakh? No. Not at all. But it happened on August 5, 2019. Had anyone ever thought that separate J&K Constitution of 1957 and separate J&K Flag will become stories of the past? No. Not at all. But it happened the same day. The most inspiring aspect of the whole situation was that dozens of non-NDA lawmakers in the NDA-minority Rajya Sabha gave unstinted support to the Modi Government. As a result, both the motions were passed in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha hands down. The secularists got what they deserved and the Nehruvian approach to J&K rejected.
Kashmir lost control over the all-powerful Secretariat and all the departments, especially Home, Revenue, Law, Finance, Forest, Housing and Urban Development, and the very crucial office of Advocate General.
New J&K after August 5, 2019
No wonder then that the nation will celebrate August 5 as a day of thanksgiving and victory of the nation-making forces across the country. It’s time to look back to find what happened in the new J&K after August 5, 2019. UT of J&K brought under the ambit of almost all the Central laws and the Union Home Ministry. Most of the laws, which were in force in J&K before August 5, 2019, were repealed/amended. The practice of J&K High Court Judges and others taking oath in the name of the Indian Constitution became the new norm.
Kashmiri leadership lost its hegemony over the state polity. It became orphan, powerless, and jobless overnight. The Legislative Council was abolished. The Kashmiri leadership reduced to what former J&K CM Omar Abdullah calls “elements of ridicule.” Lt Governor became the highest executive and constitutional authority in the state, once considered the most powerful state in India. The whole credit goes to separatist and half-separatist leadership in Kashmir. It had created serious problems for the nation in the state, rendered Jammu and Ladakh unreal and ineffective, and excluded the nationalists from all spheres. It subverted democracy and forced down the throat fake secularism.
Kashmir lost control over the all-powerful Secretariat and all the departments, especially Home, Revenue, Law, Finance, Forest, Housing and Urban Development, and the very crucial office of Advocate General. Kashmiri leadership had exploited and misused these departments to rid Kashmir of all the minorities, change the demography of Jammu and Ladakh and protect and promote separatists, separatism, and worst form of communalism.
Daughters of J&K married outside J&K to non-Permanent Residents of J&K were given full citizenship. Hindu-Sikh refugees from Pakistan declared eligible for J&K domicile certificates and for all rights. Member of the Valmiki Samaj got the status of J&K citizens. Gorkhas and Marathas living in Jammu for decades also. Central Government employees and other non-Permanent Residents, who had served the state and resided in it for 15 years, were declared eligible J&K domiciles as well. Those who had studied for a period of seven years, or appeared in Class 10 or 12 exams were declared J&K domiciles. Children of all the Central Government officials, who served the state for a total period of 10 years, were declared eligible for the J&K domicile certificate. The age-old demand of the refugees (all Hindus and Sikhs) from PoJK settled outside J&K after their exodus in 1947 for a similar status was conceded. 5,300 families were the beneficiaries. Likewise, Kashmiri Hindus, who had been living outside J&K since 1944, were also brought at par with the PoJK refugees living outside J&K.
J&K government constituted a high-level committee headed by Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam to scrutinize and recommend cases of such civil and police officials for dismissal of their services in case they are found involved in anti-national acts.
According to Union Home Ministry, 3.7 lakh domicile certificates have already been issued – 2.9 lakh in Jammu and 79,300 in Kashmir. 20,000 Hindu-Sikh refugees from Pakistan, almost 2,000 members of Valmiki Samaj and 700 Gurkhas – living in Jammu for decades, too have been issued domicile certificates. These 3.7 lakh people also include “a significant” number of such persons “who despite living or serving in the state for years were not considered residents of the state due to provisions of Article 35A.”
Special perks and facilities to Ex-J&K CMs were withdrawn. Legislators’ pension capped at Rs 75,000 per month. Kashmir lost control over the higher education system and Lt Governor became Chancellor of all the Universities. The position of Pro-Chancellor abolished. Kashmir lost control over the J&K National Law University. Chief Justice of J&K High Court replaced CM as Chancellor of the University.
Ministry of Home Affairs amended the Migrants Immovable Property Act and empowered Competent Authority to take suo moto action to evict the encroachers from the migrants’ leftover property in Kashmir. Restrictions on the transfer of property under Section 139 of the J&K Transfer of Property Act abolished.
The 40-year-old Public Safety Act, 1978, was amended. The amendment said that those booked under the PSA could now be easily lodged in any jail in any part of the country. J&K Golf Development and Management Authority of J&K, 2013, was dumped and abolished. This body had only looked after the comforts of politicians and bureaucrats.
The Shiv Khori Shrine Act, 2008, and J&K Shri Mata Sukrala Devi Ji Shrine and Shri Mata Bala Sundari Shrine Act, 2013, were amended. All these three ancient Shrines located in Jammu province were almost freed from the Government control. The amendments said that these Shrines will now be managed on the lines of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi and Shri Amarnath Shrines.
The “Paharis” were given a 4% reservation in the job sector and educational and professional institutions. 3% reservation granted to the people living along with the International border (Jammu, Kathua, and Samba districts). Economically weaker sections got a 10% reservation. The income ceiling for backward classes increased from Rs 4.5 lakh per annum to Rs 8 lakh. The Scheduled Tribes were declared eligible for reservation in the Assembly. SC/ST pre-matric scholarships were increased by 100%. Post-matric scholarship for OBCs enhanced by 20% and the number of beneficiaries, including minorities, is “7.42 lakh.”
J&K government constituted a high-level committee headed by Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam to scrutinize and recommend cases of such civil and police officials for dismissal of their services in case they are found involved in anti-national acts. According to an official, these acts include “supporting, harbouring militancy, supporting their acts, posing a threat to integrity and security of the state, etc.”
The J&K Revenue Department withdrew August 27, 1971, obnoxious order that had mandated armed forces to obtain No Objection Certificate from the J&K Home Department (read Chief Minister) for acquiring land in J&K. This action would help the armed forces strengthen the security grid in the terror-infested J&K and launch anti-terror operations in an effective manner in the state.
Hardcore separatists Shabir Shah, Aiysa Andrabi, Masarat Alam, and many others were also thrown into Tihar.
The decision to set up a colony for the hounded out Kashmiri Hindus at Kashmir’s Shopian taken and land transferred to the concerned department: Department of Disaster Management, Relief, Rehabilitation, and Reconstruction. Order No. 42-JK (Rev) of 2020 in this regard issued.
J&K witnessed several other path-breaking measures after August 5, 2019, including the liquidation of over 130 terrorists in Kashmir, both local and foreigner and detention of 100s of separatists and half-separatists, including Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti, and Sajad Lone.
Earlier between June 18, 2018, and August 4, 2019, the nation saw the Narendra Modi Government in full action. Mehbooba Mufti was dethroned. JKLF was banned. Its chief Yasin Malik was arrested and put in Tihar. Cases of murder and abduction against him were also reopened. Jamaat-e-Islami was banned and over 600 Jamaatis were arrested. Hardcore separatists Shabir Shah, Aiysa Andrabi, Masarat Alam, and many others were also thrown into Tihar. The cross-LoC trade, which had only helped Pakistan heighten anti-India activities in J&K and promote smuggling of arms, ammunition, drugs/narcotics, and Hawala money, was suspended. The NIA raided the houses and business establishments of many in Kashmir to break the dangerous nexus between Pakistan and Kashmir-based separatists and the middlemen. Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq were shown the place they deserved. They were the virtual rulers of J&K. The cult of stone-throwing in Kashmir was taken care of. No wonder then that the Abdullahs, Muftis, Bukhari’s, and others of their ilk are seething with anger and chaffing but with no result. They have lost the game. Some of them have lost their path. Some of them have lost their balance of mind.
However, to say all this is not to suggest that the problem of “Jihad” in Kashmir has been tackled or surmounted. Absolutely not. Article 370, Article 35A, J&K Constitution, and J&K Flag have gone but there is hardly any change in the dangerous echo system. The system of governance and the administrative apparatus, by and large, remains the same and in the same hands. Jammu continues to simmer as it has not been getting it’s due even under the Central rule. Ladakh has got UT but Jammu’s 73-year-old demand seeking separation from Kashmir has not been conceded. The decision of the Union Government to delimit assembly constituencies based on 2011 fudged census figures has further hurt the people of Jammu province. The land grabbers from Kashmir and other parts, including Bangladesh and Myanmar, are still very active in Jammu. This problem has been further aggravated by the former J&K BJP ministers. At least four such ministers have been reportedly involved in land grabbing in Jammu. These are some of the immediate issues which the Union Government has to address on a priority basis. It’s hoped that the Union Government will continue to tread the path it started treading on August 5, 2019, and not walk into the trap of those who have joined hands to get back full state status for J&K. It would be only desirable if Jammu province is segregated from Kashmir and given the statehood status and two UTs created out of Kashmir, including one for the internally displaced Kashmiri Hindus.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.