Modi Creates History by Scrapping Article 370 of Indian Constitution to Integrate Kashmir With India
Abrogating Article 370
On 5th August 2019 momentous events took place in the Indian Parliament. The Indian home minister Amit Shah entered the Rajya Sabha( Upper House ) and piloted a bill to abolish article 370 and by corollary article 35a of the constitution of India. The opposition was taken completely by surprise but the BJP and Modi had done their homework very well and they were able to muster a two-thirds majority to pass the proposition. At the end of the day article 370 of the Constitution was abrogated
It is important to understand as to what article 370 really is. This article was brought into effect in 1949 by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, in an attempt to please the Muslims of the state of Kashmir. He further, in 1954 added section 35a, to this article which promised Kashmir's indigenous population special rights. Both these articles became a bugbear in due course of time, though when these articles were incorporated in the constitution of India it was clearly noted that these were a temporary feature and would be removed.
Unfortunately, after the death of Nehru, successive leaders from the Congress Party failed to have the guts or the political will to remove the articles.
Article 370 of the Constitution also allowed Kashmir to have its own flag, constitution, and penal code. in other words, citizens of Kashmir had dual citizenship and the state was not fully integrated with the Indian Union
Many leaders wanted to abrogate article 370 but nobody had the will to do it. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP had put this item in their election manifesto and it was on the cards that the BJP government at the first opportunity would abrogate article 370 and 35a
Abrogation and Follow up
This has now happened and the bill was piloted by Amit Shah. It has terminated the special status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The government has further in a far-reaching decision divided the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two parts. Both parts will not have full statehood but will be union territories, to be governed directly from Delhi.
The first state created is the Buddhist majority state of Ladakh which has a close affinity with Tibet. It will not have an assembly and will be governed by a lieutenant Governor direct from Delhi. The second state has been created as another union territory which consists of both Hindus and Muslims and will incorporate the Jammu and Srinagar regions. It will be smaller in size but a bigger population. It will have an elected assembly. It will again be governed from the center through a Lieutenant Governor.
The BJP has effectively reduced the autonomous State of Kashmir into two union territories to be governed directly from Delhi.
The abolition of these articles also opens the door to further investment and development of the state of Jammu and Kashmir which was languishing far behind the other states of the country. The Muslim leadership is extremely unhappy with this development and have vowed to fight the central government
The abrogation is however seen as a massive victory for Narendra Modi, as the mass of Indian people all over from Amritsar to Tamilnadu is overjoyed. Even the Congress spokesperson Mr. Manu Singhvi admitted that politically Narendra Modi has scored a plus point which will help him in the coming elections
Last word and International Reaction
Pakistan obviously is very unhappy and they have promised to raise the issue all over the world. There is a fly in the ointment as India is no longer a small power but an economic powerhouse with the third largest military in the world and the days when you could pressurizing in the Indian government are over.
There is a possibility that this action was conveyed to the US ambassador. Probably nothing much may happen except some noises by the Muslim nations but there is a precedent of China in Sinkiang where the Muslim population was treated to some severe action. The demographic composition of the country is being changed as China has settled many Chinese in Sinkiang and they have married Muslim girls. They have also banned Ramadan and burqa and the Muslim world has made no noise at all. There is a latent fear of this happening in the Valley. India is a democracy and such a thing is not likely to happen in Kashmir.
The evolution of article 370 will go down in history as one of the great events orchestrated by Narendra Modi. He has now set aside a wrong which existed for 72 years and was like an anchor around the neck of the Indian leadership. However, this is the first step and until the economy of the state of Jammu and Kashmir improves with fresh investment there is a possibility that this gamble of Modi may not be entirely successful. One will have to wait and watch and see how Modi executes the follow up after abolition of article 370.