In a historic decision by the Indian Parliament on August 5, 2019 Article 370 of the Indian Constitution and Article 35A giving special status to the state of J&K were abrogated and the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir was bifurcated into two union territories of Ladakh and J&K. Nobody could predict such a massive decision all of a sudden, but the remarkable magical leadership of The Prime Minister Narender Modi and the great organizational and administrative skills of Home Minister Amit Shah made it happen peacefully in an exceptional manner ending an era of uncertainty, insecurity and potentially volatile situation which had engulfed the state. Threatening speeches by the so called political leaders of the valley that there will be blood bath and there will be no one to carry the Tricolour proved wrong. The dynamic leadership, the strong political will and unquestionable commitment of Prime Minister Narender Modi to peace, justice and development proved it beyond any shadow of doubt that honesty, accountability, untiring efforts and a mission to serve the people of the country knows no limits which may be insurmountable.
It is a matter of common knowledge that the Article 370, the least discussed article in the constituent Assembly was introduced as a purely temporary measure on account of extraordinary exceptional circumstances that prevailed in the state immediately after the partition of the country. It was followed by the unconditional accession of the State by Maharaja Hari Singh, the then ruler of the state. Some concessions under Article 35-A were incorporated in the constitution in 1954 as special rights to the people of the state in the form of fundamental rights which were over and above the fundamental rights guaranteed to the citizens in rest of the country. The permanent residents of the state had preferential rights such as right to employment, right to education & scholarship etc, right to acquire immovable property and settle within the territory of the state. Citizens of India who were not permanent residence of the state were not entitled to avail these rights within the territory of the state
whereas the permanent residents of the state could enjoy all these rights within the territory of India thus causing a discrimination between citizen and citizen on the ground of permanent residency of the state.
During almost 70 years after the state of Jammu & Kashmir became an inseparable part of India, Dr. Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah of the N.C and Mufti Mohd. Syed and his daughter Mehbooba Mufti remained in power in J&K and were also the part of central government i.e. Mufti Mohammad Syed as the Home Minister of India in the cabinet of V.P. Singh and Omar Abdullah as a Minister of State in the cabinet of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Dr. Farooq Abdulla also enjoyed a cabinet berth in the central government.
If my memory fails me not, I remember that Abdullah’s have asserted so many times that Kashmir problem is no problem, the only problem is the vacation of the territory of the state occupied by Pakistan illegally. It is quite paradoxical that political leaders speak in different language which suits them when they are in power and when they are out of power. In my view all political leaders should remain committed to the national interest, come what may.
Article 370 had become almost ineffective and infructuous by the extension of more than 300 central laws enacted by the Indian Parliament and about 260 articles of the constitution which were extended to J&K from time to time. The constitutional provisions and central laws were extended either in consultation or concurrence of the state assembly as prescribed in Article 370 of the constitution. The Abrogation of Article 370 was overdue because it was felt that it had become an instrument of exploitation by the few political high-ups in the state and the common people did not benefit from it at all. A sense of separate identity of the state was being developed, people were denied the feeling of being the citizens of the great democratic country like India whose constitution guarantees all its citizens freedom, equality and social justice irrespective of religion, caste, creed or sex. There were rampant complaints of discrimination against the Jammu & Ladakh regions and communities like Valmikies, Tribals, Gurkhas, Paharis, Women, Gujjars, Bakkarwals, O.B.Cs, minority communities, west Pakistan refugees, etc, were treated as second class citizens. That is why the bold initiative of Prime Minister Narinder Modi of abrogating Article 370 was hailed not only by the people of the country, but varied sections of almost all the communities across the state.
We must remember that conditions and circumstances change and with the change in times constitutions too change. Many countries have amended their constitutions from time to time in consonance with the interest of the country. It must be remembered that the national interest is paramount and should always be uppermost in the minds of citizens.
There was another vicious effect of Article 370. Pakistan and China, the two rogue states of the world used it as a handle to propagate that J&K is not an integral part of India. Both of them are aggressors and have grabbed large territories of the erstwhile state of J&K and are not prepared to return it under one pretext or the other even after protracted negotiations with India over the years. Pakistan, which is an epicentre of militancy in the world, has tried to grab territories of the state from time to time by committing aggressions. Even after biting dust in two wars and kargil conflict it has not changed its policy of aggression.
It has refused to vacate the State territory under Its possession despite the clear directions of U.N.O. though it has reiterated at the international forums that Kashmir (J&K) is an integral part of India. The abrogation of Article 370 is an indirect message to both Pakistan and China that India reserves its right to get its lawful territories vacated.
More than two years have passed since the abrogation of Article 370 and the conditions of the JK UT post-August 2019 have witnessed a sea change in terms of peace, prosperity and development. Most of the discriminations perpetrated by the previous regimes are gradually disappearing. All the rights enshrined in the Constitution of India are being extended to the people of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh. Under the mature, judicious, committed and determined leadership of Prime Minister Modi the JK UT is heading towards the equitable and holistic development of all sections of society. All sections of neglected communities and the remote areas are being given priority in the process of development. A massive outreach programme has been launched under which more than 50 Union ministers have visited the U.T and have announced wide ranging long term developmental schemes with the accompanying allotment of funds. People are happy and comfortable, rejecting militancy, bullets and provoking calls of the communal leaders. They have fearlessly taken part in elections of Panchayats and local bodies as a result of which a three-tier Panchayati Raj system has been implemented for the first time in J&K. It is pertinent to mention that the elections were conducted very peacefully in the most fair and transparent manner despite fears of disruptions and violence. Various schemes have been started for the youth in the economic, social and educational fields and opportunities have been created for the women especially in the rural areas to become independent, productive and successful. Special initiatives in the agriculture and horticulture sector augur well for the substantial increase in the income of the farmers in the coming days. The U.T. Govt under the strict supervision of the central Govt is involved in providing responsive, corruption free, accountable and transparent administration which has taken rapid strides in the field of Health care, Education, Industry and Tourism etc. The visit of more than one lakh tourists in the valley, the arrival of film-producers for shooting and the great rush of pilgrims for the Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine and other religious places are great indicators of the return of peace and tranquility in the UT.
With a view to end discrimination a delimitation commission has been set up which is expected to give representation to all neglected sections-Kashmiri Pandits, SCs, STs, Paharis, Tribals, and others. A review meeting of the commission with three members of the parliament from the valley and two from Jammu is slated for December 20 and its final report is expected soon. It will be followed by the holding of elections and grant of status of statehood later on. With the valley based political parties involved in non-developmental issues, communal overtones and harping on the restoration of Article 370 which as explained above had already become dead are only trying to befool the people for their vested interests. People have understood fully well that no nation on the face of the globe can tolerate a state in the federal setup which claims itself to be a country within a country. The opposition political parties in the UT are plagued by internal wrangles. Therefore, the only ray of hope to the people in the U.T. in the coming elections is a committed and disciplined party like B.J.P whose leadership both at the central and local level is working 24×7 for the welfare of all sections of society and is confident of forming the next government in the region with the co-operation, love, trust and confidence of the people for its people friendly policies. It is pertinent to mention here the basic philosophy & the agenda of the B.J.P as contained in the party’s Constitution which is as under:
“Integral Humanism shall be the basic philosophy of the party. The party is pledged to build up India as a strong & prosperous nation which is modern, progressive & enlightened in outlook and which proudly draws inspiration from India’s ancient culture and values & thus is able to emerge as a great world power playing an effective role in the comity of Nations for the establishment of World peace and a just international order.”
Thus integral humanism and justice based on India’s ancient culture is the clarion call of BJP and all citizens should proudly join hands to strengthen the nation. Therefore, the willing co-operation of all the constituents to strengthen, support and co-operate with B.J.P is need of the hour. It will ensure a peaceful and a prosperous life to the people of J&K.
We are almost a 75 years old democracy and I call upon the political leaders to rise above all political assertions and join their heads together to work for establishing a rich and prosperous J&K, where everybody gets justice-social, economic and political irrespective of religion, race, caste, colour or creed etc.
(Y.V. Sharma Spokesperson J&K UT BJP)