|A view of Dal lake, famous for tourism in Sri Nagar|
SPECIAL REPORT: RSS’ old political outfit Jan Sangh (which later transformed into BJP) was the first to demand abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35A. Its founder leader Dr Shaymaprasad Mukherjee was in the forefront of the demand, while first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, a Kashmiri himself, was firm on giving special status for Kashmir.
Article 370 grants Jammu and Kashmir state an autonomous status, with limited powers to the Centre and more powers to the state assembly. Article 35A gives special privileges to the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir. Those from outside the state cannot go and own property there. Kashmir is dominated by Muslims; Jammu by Hindus and Ladakh, so far a part of J and K, by Buddhists.
The status quo continued without any interruptions. In the meanwhile, Muslim militancy forced almost the entire resident Pandits (brahmins) out of Kashmir as their life was in danger.
Nehru’s home minister Vallabh Bhai Patel, the Iron Man of India with a firm resolve in governance, wanted to populate Kashmir with people from other parts of India so as to neutralize the Muslim domination of the sensitive state, on which Pakistan had set its eyes on after Independence.
At the time of Independence, the Hindu ruler of Kashmir did not allow his province to be part of India or Pakistan. Later, Pakistan sent in tribal warriors and later its army to seize Kashmir. Now, a part of Kashmir province is with Pakistan; and another part with India. Pakistan wants entire Kashmir to itself.
When Pakistan tried to seize Kashmir, its ruler Maharaja Hari Singh, sought the help of Nehru. Nehru extended help after the king agreed to make Kashmir a part of India with autonomous status. As per Article 370, India has less control over the state, compared with other states. It is a special status clause. It gives the Centre command only over Defence, foreign affairs and communications. Other aspects had to be decided and recommended by the state assembly.
These powers of the assembly would now be curtailed and the Centre would take sweeping powers in its hands vis-a-vis governance of Jammu and Kashmir. Jammu and Kashmir, henceforth, will have the powers of only a Union Territory, in the form of a mini-state like Delhi.
BJP had promised abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A in its election manifesto for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Action followed immediately after Modi took power for a second term.
The scenario in Kashmir worsened around 1990 after militants seeking separation of Kashmir from India abducted a daughter of Mufti Mohd Sayeed, who was then Union home minister under the Opposition VP Singh government. They demanded release of a number of jailed militants in return for the safe release of Mufti’s daughter. The government allowed this. Militants in Kashmir are getting full-scale backing, encouragement and arms and ammunition from Pakistan based pro-Kashmir terror outfits like Jaish and LeT, which are props of the Inter State Intelligence network of the Pakistan military.
TOURISM AS CASUALTY OF MILITANCY…
Kashmir was described by bard as the Heaven on Earth. It remained India’s numero uno tourism centre until the beginning of 1990s, when militancy took hold. Tourism, which was the mainstay of the economy suffered immensely in the past three decades. Lots of youths were thus left jobless. This helped militants draw in more and more youths to their fold. Successive Indian governments sat back blinking…. battling militancy and not contemplating any long-term action plan.
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