What’s the hue and cry about Article 370?

Kashmir was to have a Prime Minister (not a chief minister), separate flag, separate constitution and Supreme Court. India only controls defence and telecom.

What’s the hue and cry about Article 370?
What’s the hue and cry about Article 370?

To mollify Muslims and the Muslim leaders of the state, the govt brought in Article 370 and 35A

J&K is actually comprised of Ladakh (Majority Buddhists), Jammu (Majority Hindus) and Valley (what we call Kashmir, with 60% Muslims). It always had a Hindu ruler and Muslim Majority subjects… when 563 princely states were merged with India, there were 3 like this with a Muslim majority – Hyderabad, Junagadh, and Kashmir. As like the other 560, these were handled by Sardar Patel, but Nehru wanted to handle Kashmir, as his roots were there. Pakistan tried to annex by force and got part of the state now known as PoK. While we were recapturing, Nehru took it to United Nations for mediation, much against the advice of everyone else then (because UN was controlled by British then and they were more friendly to Pak than us).

UN said to hold a plebiscite (voting) and let people decide whom they want to go with. But before the plebiscite. Could be held, Pakistan tried to annex by force and got part of the state now known as PoK. So, India said no plebiscite. Until they release PoK. This is stuck in a stalemate in the UN. Nehru himself later wrote a lamenting letter to Indira where he felt he was betrayed by both the US and UK, but the damage was by then done.

To mollify Muslims and the Muslim leaders of the state (Sheikh Abdullah) (another scoop: Sheikh Abdullah and Nehru were allegedly born to same father from different mothers), the govt brought in Article 370 and 35A. Kashmir was to have a Prime Minister (not a chief minister), separate flag, separate constitution and Supreme Court. India only controls defence and telecom. No Indian can buy land there. etc. This was to be for 10 years but got extended. Indira Gandhi later removed the Prime Minister title etc. but other things remain. Now they are removing the other things there and by making it union territory, police, law and order and other things will be controlled by Delhi as well.

Pakistan is now not much interested in Kashmir because they have other existential problems. However, radicalization among Sunni Muslims is an issue

Now, where is the issue? Sunni Muslims in the three districts in the valley want “independence”. I say within quotes because what they call independence is knowing fully well, they will accede to Pakistan eventually. They form about 40% of the entire state population. Shia Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists form 60% and don’t want partition, but of course, under the fear of gun no one will speak out. Those who had done so were bumped off. In the late ’80s, all Hindus were asked to leave their homes in the valley overnight, and their properties were taken over by the erstwhile neighbours of Sunni Muslims this ethnic cleansing made sure the valley (3 districts) is as violent as it today. Till today, no Hindu has ever gone back, and they cannot. They are living as refugees in Delhi and worldwide (they formed 20% of the valley population before being thrown out).

Pakistan is now not much interested in Kashmir because they have other existential problems. However, radicalization among Sunni Muslims is an issue. There are no movie theatres, no music sales nothing allowed in the valley. Alcohol is banned.

No employment opportunities, because no private sector will go in, because they can’t buy land, no doctors will go in. It is stuck in a quagmire where only employment is either govt job, police or terrorist.

They are removing the special status now. This slide says some of the benefits and as far as I know is accurate.

Short term effects:

More violence? But hugely reduced corruption (govt has spent $40 billion in dollars so far), because now govt of India’s rules and laws will apply

Long term effects:

Honestly, don’t know. If the economy improves and people get private-sector jobs may be radicalization decreases.

But I honestly doubt if radicalization will go away from the Muslims in the valley.

What BJP gets:

Fulfils a long-term promise, one of the 3 (other 2 being Ajodhya and common civil code). There is little sympathy for Kashmir in any political party (including congress) especially after the violence of 30 years and after they threw out Hindus from there.

Note:
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.

Raghavendran N

The author is originally from Madurai, and currently lives in Chennai. The author has lived/worked in different countries like UAE, USA. He has contributed several columns to newspapers in India like Economic Times, Times of India etc.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. no one bothering about the moot issued related to J&K. The moot issue is rehabilitation and resettlement of Kashmiri Pandits who were forced to migrate from the home during 90s by Muslim forces.

  2. How can you say that Nehru and Sheikh Abdulla were born to the same father and different mothers? This is an absolute lie. Why do you people spread such lies? This is shameless.

  3. I just have a doubt .

    Why is it bifurcation and not trifurcation?
    Or is Jammu going to continue as a state ?
    Kindly clarify

    • Sir, it is simple. J&K are one entity where elections will be held like Delhi, and Ladakh will be UT without elections, hence the present J&k is bifurcated into J&k and Ladakh.

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