Things in Kashmir have changed
When a state behaves like a genuine state behaves and asserts its authority against subversives and secessionists in the real sense of the term, things do change. This precisely has been happening in J&K since August 4, 2019, when the state exhibited its resolve and showed its authority. It hurt separatists and half separatists in Kashmir where it hurt them the most by reading down Article 370, abrogating Article 35A, creating UT of Ladakh out of J&K, and converting the leftover J&K also into UT. It happened on August 4 and 5, 2019 with the concurrence of both the Houses of the Parliament, including the Rajya Sabha where the Narendra Modi Government didn’t have a majority.
Before that, New Delhi had banned Jamaat-e-Islami and shut down the madrasas it ran and put in Tihar jail several separatists and terrorists of Kashmir origin. Some of them included Yasin Malik, Shabir Shah, Masarat Alam, and Aiysa Andrabi. Not just this, cross LoC, which had only helped Pakistan and separatists in Kashmir to promote secessionism and terrorism, also stopped. Many engaged in the Cross-LoC trade were booked, arrested, and interrogated to expose the break-India nexus between the so-called traders and their masters across the border and LoC. Hardcore Pakistani Syed Ali Shah Geelani and All-Party Hurriyat Conference chief Umar Farooq – apart from all the so-called mainstream Kashmiri politicians, including three former chief ministers and almost all ministers, were put under detention. Geelani and Umer are still under detention. And those who were freed from detention after several months have been in a state of shock and helplessness. They are only singing in the strain of the swan.
What’s the state of affairs in the Kashmir Valley, which till June 2018 posed a live threat to the security, integrity, and sovereignty of the nation and where politicians and separatists of all varieties would browbeat, blackmail, threaten and also fleece New Delhi and tell it in a most brazen manner to do this or to do that to “resolve the political problem of Kashmir” failing which they would do this and they would do that to bleed India state?
Gone are those days. Also gone are the days when Kashmiri chief ministers would in the presence of the Indian Ministers have the temerity to tell the latter that “financial and unemployment packages cannot end the alienation in Kashmir” and that “political package – greater autonomy, self-rule, talks with Pakistan, porous borders, irrelevant LoC, reduction of the Army’s footprints in the Valley, freedom of movement between both sides of the borders and LoC and full freedom to do what the Kashmiri politician and separatists would want to do – alone can”. It’s hardly necessary to name those chief ministers who would make such outrageous statements in the presence of the prime ministers. All know the names of those chief ministers and those prime ministers.
As said, the Indian State started acting and asserting its authority in June 2018 in general and in August 2019 in particular. And the results: Operation All-out in full swing; 100s of hardcore terrorists have been liquidated; number of stone-pelting incidents and anti-India demonstrations have come down very substantially; Enforcement Directorate (ED) is in an action mode and many bigwigs have been booked, arrested and facing serious charges, including charges of sedition; Indian Foreign Office and J&K CID are also in an action mode; passports are being denied even to a former chief minister and her mother; services of at least seventeen government employees with terrorist links have been terminated and the government is all set to dismiss many more similar employees; former chief ministers are finding themselves in a deep trouble as they are facing serious corruption charges; many properties of a former chief minister in Srinagar and Jammu have been attached by the ED; a number of Kashmiri business leaders have also been booked; massive funeral processions of slain terrorists and calls for Kashmir shutdown have almost become a story of the past etc.
Not just this, many Kashmiri politicians are face to face with each other, notwithstanding their oft-repeated claim that they are one as far as their ultimate objective is concerned – “resolution of Kashmir issue and restoration of the pre-2019 politico-constitutional status”. The case in point is the People’s Alliance of Gupkar Declaration (PAGD). The case in point is the fissures in the PAGD. Many have quit it. And the three main Gupkaris – Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah, and Mehbooba Mufti – are treading diametrically opposite paths and speaking different languages. They do make some noises on occasions and that’s all. But there is none in New Delhi to take cognizance of their noises or what they say and suggest. The party politics within at least three Kashmiri parties – NC, PDP, and PC – is in turmoil. It has created an awkward situation for the owners of these parties. The fact of the matter is that almost all Kashmiri politicians have lost their sheen, appeal, and credibility. Common Kashmiris, barring a few exceptions here and there, are holding themselves aloof from them.
That the Kashmiri politicians are in a state of helplessness could be seen from what PC chairman and author of “Achievable Nationhood” Sajad Lone said only on July 19, 2021. He, inter-alia, said: “This government has taken away Article 370 and 35A. He does not expect the BJP-led Central Government to restore J&K’s special status by giving back Article 370 and 35-A, but would rather wait for a more liberal Government to do that”. Former J&K CM Omar Abdullah has also said the same a number of times. Mehbooba Mufti is on recording having expressed a similar view.
The short point is that things in Kashmir have changed to a considerable extent. However, to say all this is not to suggest that the reform scheme of PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah has produced all the desired results. It hasn’t. The administrative structure as it existed before August 2019 is by and large intact. It has also to be reformed, changed, and restructured. The people of Jammu province continue to suffer as before as the recruitment agencies and socio-economic and administrative institutions continue to follow the pre-2019 discriminatory policies. It would be only desirable if people of both the regions of the UT are given separate dispensations so that they could manage their own socio-cultural, economic, and politico-administrative affairs themselves as per their specific needs and compulsions. It’s overdue.
1. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.
2. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.
 JKCA money-laundering case: ED attaches Rs 11.86-cr assets of Abdullah, others – Dec 19, 2020, Business Standard
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