Scrapping Articles 370, 35A:
Fulfilling pre-poll promise ?
Articles 370 and 35A withdrawn from Jammu and Kashmir. Moreover the map of Jammu Kashmir too has been redrawn, with Ladakh now a Union Territory but with no State Assembly. In one single swoop Prime Minister Narendra Modi has delivered what the BJP had promised earlier, that is no special status for Jammu and Kashmir and uniform law all over the country. The decision of New Delhi has obviously divided the people sharply, with many backing the decision of the BJP led Government while many others have moaned what they say is the death of democracy. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also shown that the Centre can redraw the map of any State of the Indian Union, and this is what must have stirred the people’s mind in Manipur. So Jammu and Kashmir now divided into two political entities as Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. Jammu a predominantly Hindu inhabited area, while Kashmir is home to Muslims. In Ladakh it is the Buddhists who form the majority of the Union Territory. Interesting to note too that before Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced the decision to scrap Articles 370 and 35A, Kashmir saw massive troops deployment with many leaders effectively put under house arrest. Disturbing it certainly is, but the question of bigger import is how such a step will go in addressing the issues that besiege Jammu and Kashmir. Will it help the Government to neutralise the anti-India forces or will Kashmir see a renewed thrust in militancy. Obviously the Prime Minister and his band of faithfuls must have studied the likely development but still the coming days, months and years can be very volatile in Kashmir.
Uniform law. This has been the slogan of the BJP for long and obviously this sounds good for a country that still seems to be coming to grip with its idea of Nationhood. Already the internet is awash between those who have backed the decision of the Government and others who stand against this. Now anyone who is an Indian can go and buy properties in Jammu and Kashmir, settle there as per their disposition, hold a Government job there, win educational scholarships and women will not be barred from having a right over properties even if they marry outside the community. All these sound good but it would also do good for all to remember that Article 370 was the basis on which Jammu and Kashmir acceded to India when it had the choice to either be with the Union of India or Pakistan after independence in 1947. Map redrawn, and as noted earlier, this will find resonance in Manipur too, for remember the demand of the NSCN (IM) is integration of all Naga inhabited areas under Nagalim. Coming as it did just a day after AMUCO commemorated its historic integrity rally of 1997, is what is significant and will not miss the eye.