Prof Hari Om
Reports emanating from the Union Capital and Srinagar suggest that ‘New Delhi is planning to break the ice with the Kashmir-based political parties who have been on a war-path against the BJP-led Central government over the revocation of the erstwhile state’s special status’. Reports quoting ‘top political sources’ also suggest that ‘the Prime Minister’s Office is piloting an ‘outreach’ in which strong feelers have been sent to the constituent parties of Gupkar alliance’ (PAGD) and other Kashmir-based outfits, including J&K Apni Party of Altaf Bukhari and People’s Conference of Sajjad Lone.
These reports further said, “That although the modalities for the ‘groundbreaking initiative’ are in the process of being finalised, sources said New Delhi is now inclined to resume political activities in J&K, which will pave way for assembly elections. On the cards is an all-party meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi with broad agenda of delimitation, assembly elections and restoration of statehood – stripped from J&K on August 5, 2019”.
These reports are disturbing as they indicate that there still certain elements in the Central establishment who want the South and North Blocks to tread the path charted by Nehru and followed religiously by all the Prime Ministers. All these Prime Ministers considered Kashmir as the sole factor in the political situation in this strategic region and Kashmiri politicians the representatives of the entire population of J&K. The results were disastrous. It was Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah who took several definite steps to discard this dangerous policy. In June 2018, the BJP withdrew its support to pro-Pakistan and terrorist-friendly Mehbooba Mufti Government. In August 2019, they undid some of the most dangerous wrongs committed by Nehru. They abrogated the discriminatory Article 35A and rendered the highly divisive Article 370 unreal for all practical purposes and bring for the first time this region under the ambit of all the central laws and all the central institutions, without any exception. They also went two steps further. They divided J&K State and created UT of J&K and UT of Ladakh.
All these revolutionary reforms sent a clear signal to one and all that the Modi Government meant business and that it was determined to break the backbone of those in Kashmir, who in collaboration with the South and North Blocks and a section of the compromised media and many compromised ‘commentators and opinion-makers’ had subverted the polity, promoted separatism, overtly and covertly supported and shielded hardcore terrorists and jihadis and reduced Jammu and Ladakh to the status of colonies and their citizens to the status of subjects. No wonder then that both the Prime Minister and the Home Minister became the nation’s heroes with Pakistan, China, the subversives in the Indian political class and the establishment and ‘opinion-makers’ seeing in these reforms their destruction. The reports that the powers-that-be at the centre are toying with the idea of starting talks with the elements hostile to India have indeed disturbed the nationalist constituency in the country in general and Jammu province in particular.
The question to be asked is: What is there to talk to Farooq Abdullah-led Gupkar gang and Altaf Bukhari, Sajjad Lone and others of their ilk in Kashmir? They are demanding restoration of pre-August 2019 status. Can the Modi Government restore Article 370? The answer is a big NO. For, restoration of Article 370 would hurt the Modi Government where it hurts it the most. It will lose its face. The nation will not forgive it. Can the Modi Government restore Article 35A? Again, the answer is a big NO. For, restoration of Article 35A will at once alienate the womenfolk, refugees from Pakistan, Gurkhas, Valmikis, refugees from PoJK and the nation as a whole as this obnoxious Article considers all the non-Kashmiris, including the Union President and the Prime Minister, persona non-grata in J&K. The nation will pounce upon the Union Government and the BJP.
Can the Modi Government reunite Ladakh with J&K? Again, the answer is a big NO. Any move on the part of New Delhi to reunite Ladakh with Kashmir will lead to political explosions in the Trans-Himalayan region bordering China, Tibet and Pakistan. And the result would be God-sent opportunity to China and Pakistan to play their nefarious games in this highly strategic region.
And can the Modi Government afford to grant the statehood status to the UT of J&K? No, it can’t afford to do that. To do so would be only to retransfer the state power to those who muddied the Indian waters in J&K and promoted the Pakistani sinister cause in this region for 71 long years. The point is that the Modi Government can’t afford to look back and undo what it did after July 2018 in J&K much to the happiness of the nation, barring subversives. However, to say all this is not to suggest that all is well with the UT of J&K. All is not well. The suffering people of the colonized Jammu province continue to suffer grievous injuries as the J&K administration continues to be out and out Kashmir and one-particular community-centric. The internally-displaced Kashmiri Hindus continue to languish in the refugee camps in Jammu and elsewhere. The people of Jammu province and the internally-displaced Kashmiri Hindus deserve special attention and separate dispensations which are Indian in spirit and character and which are of them, for them and by them.
The Modi Government would do well to talk to the people of Jammu province and the hounded out Kashmiri Hindus to find what exactly they want and what could satisfy their socio-cultural and politico-economic aspirations, needs and compulsions. It must remember that the process it started on August 5, 2019 is still not complete. It will reach a logical conclusion only on the day the Modi Government actually conciliated the suffering people of Jammu province and the expelled Kashmiri Hindus by fully empowering them through definite instruments invested with legislative, executive and financial powers. Will it go for deadly poison or will it choose an elixir to life and the nation?