The abrogation of Article 370 that binds India to Jammu and Kashmir by the current BJP government has come as a rude shock to those who believed in the famous slogan “Kashmiriyat, Jamhooriyat, Insaniyat” as a road map to tackle the problems of alienation in the restive state north of India.
The BJP government with a sledge hammer of brute Parliamentary majority has integrated the state into the Indian union without any consultation debate or discussion with any of its stake holders. It’s an unprecedented move that will have far reaching consequences that only time may tell.
The first thing is that this Parliamentary legislation will certainly be challenged in the Supreme Court. Some experts of law have shown their reservation about the hurriedly brought legislation that may not withstand the legal scrutiny. However, we have to wait for final verdict of the Apex court before rejoicing at the government’s promulgation.
In case, if the apex court does not give its approval to this Parliamentary legislation what will happen next? Are we prepared to accept the supremacy of the Parliamentary legislation over the Supreme Court verdict? Will this be a right precedent?
Many may agree that the way this legislation was brought in the Rajya Sabha is an assault on federal character of India. If the state of Jammu and Kashmir can be turned into Union territory, clearly it indicates that India that any other state may fall victim to the whims and fancy of Parliamentary majority. The act of the central government clearly outlines that India is a unitary state with federal features, where only the will of the majority in Parliament prevails.
The same fate may wait for Nagaland and Tamil Nadu. While Nagaland wants greater Nagaland, that is impossible to grant, the obvious solution will be turning the state into Union territory and govern it from New Delhi.
Somewhat similar case is with Tamil Nadu too. Here there is acute abhorrence towards the Hindi language and Aryan culture and this do not fit into Hindi Hindu Hindustan narrative of the north India. So Tamil Nadu too does not comply with the central government’s scheme of thought and will it be victimized with unitary move by the Union government.
Article 370 was a bridge between India and Kashmir. Now, Kashmir is converted into a colony or vassals of India. As such Kashmiris are put in Chains. There will be struggle to break the shackle and definitely there will be struggle for freedom. Henceforth the occupational army will be pitted against the strugglers for freedom. As for sure violence will be order of the day in that state for a long timed.
There will be spurt in militancy and it will be from three cornered. First, the global jihadists who are busy fighting in West Asia may head to new theater of Islamic Jihad that is Kashmir. With the abrogation of article 370, an invitation has already been sent to the IS1S and Al Qida to come to Kashmir and fight holy Jehad.
Then Pakistani militants and Afghan Taliban are keen to take on the might of Indian state. They may be keen to play ‘Holi’ with our brave Jawans. The third source of violence will come from the local armed rebels. There will be more recruitment of local youth to join the militant fold. In such situation peace will definitely become causality and violence will gain prominence.
It is not the politician who will bear the brunt of the abrogation of Article 370 but our brave soldiers who may have to do the dirty job of holding the territory and maintaining peace. Already as many as 600,000 Indian soldiers are stationed in Kashmir to suppress the rebellion, how many more soldiers will be added to it, is anyone’s guess.
Now in such atmosphere of rebellion and carnage there will be violation of human rights. The human rights watch group will make much noise about mass murders. The human rights activities will frame India for creating conflict and may seek its resolution with the global community. In such situation India’s moral high ground of being peace lovers and victim of cross border terrorism will definitely take a beating.
If such situation arise who will bail India out in Security Council. Can we stand to Pax Americana that would certainly have besides US, France, England and China on its side. It Russia alone that may have differing voice but its vote can’t be taken for granted. That means our diplomats have to make extra effort to paint India’s peaceful intentions and keep pinning down Pakistan as source of terrorism. Will they be successful in such acts of diplomacy and if they are unable to do so, are we prepared to tackle such any eventuality?
It’s apparent that only war will decider of the fate of Kashmir. With the abrogation of Article 370, India has given an open invitation of confrontation with Pakistan. Now there is no space for negotiation with Pakistan left now. It’s for sure there will be no dialogue with Pakistan for long time to come. Pakistan will certainly make noise about this development and appeal for tri-lateralism at various international forums. Can we tell them to shut up!
Pakistani will certainly say from now that it does not recognize Simla agreement. It does not recognize the line of control and bilateralism is now a dead horse. Can we force them to our point of view and make them stick to bilateralism? Are we prepared to tackle the fall out of Pakistan’s propaganda?
Last but not the least, all the political leaders in Jammu Kashmir have lost their relevance in the state as the Union Territory is going to run by the Lt Governor. The political leaders of Jammu and Kashmir who have been calling the shots on democratic plank in the state are being reduced to become irrelevant. Will they sit in peace and sing India’s tune now.
It is beyond comprehension to what extent these political leaders of different hues will create trouble for India. As up to now they were the only ones who had held lid on the simmering discontent in Kashmir. Now they will be all united to confront the writ of Indian state by opening the lid.
In order to bring sanity in the strife torn region next on the agenda of the Indian union will be to try ethnic cleansing of the Kashmiri Muslims and changing the demography of the Kashmir valley. This move will go against globally accepted conventions and there will huge international fall out. Are we prepared to hold the Apple that Newton did in the park in the process inventing the theory of gravity!
So in such mournful atmosphere created after the abrogation of Article 370, how the hearts and minds of the people of Kashmir can be won over? They already have a sulking heart being suffers for long time in hope of some justice meted out to them. But now with the abrogation of article 370 this hope has vanished in thin air. How can such sullen soul be brought in sync with the rest of India? Perhaps another Shiekh Abdullah that may fulfill the BJP’s vision has to be searched out.
As far as Indian Muslims are concerned, they have no choice other than to support the majority of the countrymen’s point of view. Some may have silent prayers on their lips to protect the oppressed people of Kashmir. They cannot do anything beyond that as they will be branded as antinational and terrorists.
So the view of Indian Muslim on the abolition 370 could be; banā kar faqīroñ kā ham bhes ‘ġhālib’- tamāshā-e-ahl-e-CHAMAN dekhte haiñ. Meaning; I disguise myself as saint or anybody and watch the activities of my motherland.
Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org