He is a former judge of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court and a Member of Parliament from Anantnag. In a chat he weighs his words carefully but says clearly that he is disappointed with New Delhi and the Prime Minister’s approach to Kashmir.
The Centre is both underestimating and downplaying the ‘silent protests’ in Kashmir, says the NC Lok Sabha Member from Anantnag, Hasnain Masoodi. He finds it amusing, he says, when the Centre points out that there have not been too many deaths in the Valley and not much violence.
“Will they recognise people’s resentment only when they become violent,” he muses and says that harping on ‘no deaths’ on the streets and few collateral damage amounts to inciting people, provoking them to react violently.
Losing statehood amounts to losing the power of the people to govern themselves through their representatives and the MP believes that voices of disapproval from all the three regions reflected popular resentment that the Government is unable or unwilling to hear.
He is optimistic that the Supreme Court of India, when it hears a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of abrogating Article 370 on November 14, will restore the pre-August 5 position. The fact that the Supreme Court admitted the petitions and formed a five-judge bench, he told this correspondent, indicated that the apex court found merit in the petitions.
“If I meet the Prime Minister today, I would tell him that abrogation of Article 370 is the biggest disservice he has done to the nation, forget about Kashmir,” he exclaims. He does not mince his words. It was a misadventure by the Centre to bifurcate Jammu & Kashmir and turn the state into two Union Territories, besides being ‘unconstitutional’.
At the stroke of midnight on October 30, the erstwhile state was reduced to two union territories; Ladakh was separated from Jammu and Kashmir and became a union territory without an Assembly and Jammu and Kashmir a union territory with an assembly.
He trashes the Prime Minister’s claim that investment stayed away from the state because of Article 370. At least five hotels in the Valley, he claims, are run by non-locals. The education sector in the state had been doing well and no farmer’s deaths were reported in J & K unlike states like Maharashtra; no starvation deaths were reported either unlike several BJP-ruled states, the MP added, referring to Jharkhand.
Masoodi also finds it funny that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi should dedicate the abrogation of Article 370 to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Official records do not suggest that Sardar Patel had ever opposed Article 370. On the contrary, Patel was “never against Article 370”.
On October 31, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had claimed that he was inspired by Patel to take the decision and that he was dedicating the decision “at the feet of” Patel.
Masoodi, who has met former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah twice since they were put under house arrest, refused to disclose what they discussed or what the Abdullahs told him.
But the MP confided that the father-son duo were not inclined to move the court for their release. They would rather wait for the release of others before taking a call, Masoodi declared.