Advantage Modi as a Team of 23 European Union MPs Visit Kashmir and Back India
On 5 September 2019, the Modi government took a momentous decision to abolish article 370 and 35a which had been incorporated in the Indian Constitution by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru as a temporary measure. At that time the purpose was to placate the Muslim population of Kashmir by not integrating the state with the motherland.
Though the articles were temporary yet they became an anchor around the neck of the Indian leadership. No Indian leader after Nehru's death had the courage to remove this article from the constitution. The result was disastrous for Kashmir and resulted in Kashmir lagging behind in development and human index behind the rest of the country. This was due to the Draconian provisions of article 370 and article 35 the valley did not see any Investments and the development was at a premium.
Jobs were not available and there was no industry worth the name. This led to unemployment and a lack of opportunity allowing the fishing ground to Pakistan to sponsor Islamic terrorism. They also incited the population to rise up against the central government and ask for a free state or amalgamation with Pakistan assuring them that if this happened all their problems would be solved.
A violent insurrection broke out in the valley on communal lines and perforce the Indian government had to send in troops to quell the terrorist violence. Most of the Muslim terrorist organisations like the Jaish-e-Muhammad, JKLF as well as Hizbul Mujahideen were based in Pakistan and carried out cross border terrorism with the help of the local Muslim population. Many in the west did not realize that Kashmir consisted of three regions namely Hindu, Buddhist, and Muslim regions.
Jammu was the Hindi region while Ladakh was Buddhist. Only in the Kashmir Valley Muslims were in majority.
Before the advent of Narendra Modi, most Indian Prime Ministers and governments who were mainly from the Congress Party failed to address the root problem and continued to placate the Muslim population of the valley. Things changed in 2014 when the BJP election manifesto promised to abrogate 370 and article 35a and integrate the state with the rest of the country.
This would help the state achieve progress and archaic laws would be abolished and the constitution of India made applicable to the entire Kashmir. The concept of equality and reservation for minorities and weaker sections of society would be extended to J and K.
After coming to power for his second term in 2019 Narendra Modi carried out what he had stated in the manifesto. Article 370 and 35a were abolished by a two-thirds majority in both houses of parliament and it was announced that all benefits of the Indian Constitution would henceforth be applicable to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Modi took another step and divided the state into two parts namely Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir both were created union territories to be directly administered from Delhi. Ladakh had suffered from no development under the Muslim ruler of Srinagar was overjoyed as now they could develop under the central government. The people of Jammu, in any case, were always with India. Even in the Kashmir Valley Muslims have realized that the old feudal families of Mufti's and Abdullah's had kept the state backward with the result there was no development.
The abrogation of article 370 has incensed Pakistan because they realize that with the evolution of article 370 and the bifurcation of the state the very ground for any discussion with India on the future of Kashmir had become like quicksand.
Pakistan tried its level best to incite and get international support against India but unfortunately for them, the world which sees Pakistan is a terrorist state did not play ball.
EU MPs visit
The Congress Party out of power and reduced to a shadow compared to its earlier status tried its level best with support from Anti-Modi parties and the communist parties to castigate Modi for this decision. The aim was to describe Narendra Modi as a staunch Hindu revivalist. The Congress even mounted a campaign in support of Pakistan.
The Indian public wanted the political leadership of the Congress party and some smaller parties shown their place. Modi wanted to carry out his propaganda and show the world that the situation is not so bad. He invited 23 members of the European Parliament to visit Kashmir and see for themselves what was happening in the valley.
The MPs were from France, Poland, Sweden, Germany, Italy, and the UK. They belong to the right and spent two days in Srinagar. They were carefully selected and invitation s issued accordingly. They also met the C-in-C of the northern command who explained to the MP's the role of Pakistan in cross border terrorism. Security advisor Ajit Doval accompanied the team and told them the benefits of the removal of article 370. After an initial meeting with Narendra Modi, the delegation was on its own in Kashmir.
Modi left for Saudi Arabia to attend an economic conference where he was the chief guest. Modi was not present in India when the parliamentary delegation left for Srinagar At the end of the visit they held a press conference and explicitly supported India. They blamed Pakistan for the situation in the valley because of cross border terrorism and were of the view that abrogation of article 370 was an internal affair of India. This was nothing short of a coup engineered by Modi.
Pakistan has been upset with this visit and has been unable to react. The Indian opposition led by Rahul Gandhi and Congress Party has been shouting from rooftops that delegation should not have been allowed to come to Kashmir.
One is surprised at the vehemence of the hatred of the opposition for Narendra Modi. Congress which has been playing the Muslim card for the last seven decades is now totally nonplussed. There is no way that the division of the Kashmir state into two union territories and abrogation of article 370 can be reversed.
Today on 31st October which is also the birthday of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel the Kashmir problem does not appear to be a problem now. There has been some sporadic violence in Srinagar but overall the situation is under control. The biggest loser of this integration of Kashmir with India is Pakistan. it has nothing left to talk. Modi has also claimed Pakistan occupied Kashmir and asked Pakistan to handover that portion to India.
This was something that the Congress leadership from the time of Pandit Nehru was scared to demand, as they always wanted to play the Muslim card. The Muslims remain affected in Indian politics but they will have to adjust. The Muslim community of India is governed by obscurantist laws. Reform is needed and Modi has made a start in cutting the Gordian knot by abolishing triple talaq.
Kashmir is not yet done and sealed and a lot more is required. One is reminded of the famous poem by American poet Robert Frost who wrote and "I have miles to go before I sleep."
Modi has his work cut out and he has to bring in the development in the valley along with integration with India. One will have to see how the book opens In the years to come.