Centre must restore normalcy in the Valley at the earliest
Jammu and Kashmir overnight lost the status of statehood and was reduced to two separate Union Territories, separating Ladakh from Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir overnight lost the status of statehood and was reduced to two separate Union Territories, separating Ladakh from Jammu and Kashmir. Autonomy granted to the pre-Partition days’ princely state of J&K was too scrapped through a constitutional amendment that nullified Article 370. Thus, the BJP government finally managed to fulfil its long-time agenda of taking away certain special rights granted to the troubled state through an agreement signed between the then Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Kashmiri leader Sheikh Abdullah in 1950. Kashmir, as the BJP claims, now stands fully integrated in the Union of India.
Now any Indian citizen is free to buy property with the freedom to settle down there. It all has been achieved under the shadow of the gun. The entire Kashmir region is crawling with Indian Army and central security forces. An indefinite curfew has been imposed upon the Valley. The entire Valley, as of now, stands cut off from the rest of India with lockdown imposed upon the troubled region which has been living under the shadow of terror for the past three decades. The Union Home Minister has claimed inside Parliament that the move to scrap Article 370 will put an end to Pakistan-engineered terrorism in the Valley.
Apparently, the Modi government’s move to deal with the nagging problem of integration of Kashmir fully into the Indian Union and, also, putting at rest Pakistan’s game of terrorism have got the popular support of the streets in major parts of the country. It also goes well with the muscular nationalist politics of the BJP that has brought the saffron party back into power second time in a row. It’s also a fact that international environment suits the Indian move. Pakistan’s move to rush to United Nations is unlikely to bear fruit as major global powers now overtly or covertly side with India on the so-called Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan.
Even China would not go beyond a point on this issue as India is one of the major markets of Chinese goods. Pakistan, under international pressure, will be forced to roll back its terror game inside the Kashmir Valley sooner than later. So, the latest Indian government move will not have any international resistance in this global environment. But it will surely further alienate Kashmiris from the Indian Union, giving rise to a sort of resistance movement against Indian security forces. There is a clear possibility of people from outside Kashmir rushing to the Valley to buy property there. The right-wing government may encourage ghettoising the Kashmiri people with new settlements like what Israel has been doing inside Palestinian territories of West Bank and Gaza. It is a remote possibility that must be checked right from the very beginning. It’s now the Indian State’s responsibility to restore normalcy in the Valley at the earliest and take long-term measures that help Kashmiris to feel at home within the Indian Union rather than looking towards Pakistan. The goal must be not only the assimilation of Kashmir into India but also the integration of Kashmiris into the mainstream of the country.