Modi Strikes Down Article 370 but a Sterner Test Is Ahead and Muslim Kashmir Valley Is Restive
Deed is done
I am reminded of a poem by Robert Frost which ended with the line" the woods are lonely dark and deep and I have miles to go before I sleep." This, in a nutshell, sums up the predicament of the Indian prime minister Narendra Modi. He has scrapped Article 370 and its corollary 235a from the constitution of India. This was the easier part as the BJP and Modi had the backing of the entire nation and more than a two-thirds majority in both houses of Parliament. The MPs voted for the motion put forward by home minister Amit Shah.
Kashmir has now lost its special status in the Indian Union and will have to obey all Indian laws and decisions of the government of India. All Central laws would be applicable to the state and it would not have its own flag constitution and constitution.
Further Government Action
The Indian government has amended the constitution after meticulous planning. There has been a show of force and all internet connections switched off. This has helped in suppressing the voices of dissent. The state has three parts which include the predominantly Hindu region -Jammu and the largely Buddhist region of Ladakh. The valley which is the third component is predominantly Muslim.
Modi has moved to bifurcate the state and the area of Ladakh is separated from Kashmir and made into a union territory to be governed directly from Delhi. The other two regions namely the Jammu and Kashmir Valley have been formed as a union territory which will again have a lieutenant Governor to be appointed from Delhi. Modi has finished Kashmir as a distinct state and has now changed the rules of the game as far as Jammu and Kashmir is concerned
The regions of Jammu and Ladakh are delighted with the developments. They wished to be independent of governance from the Muslim Kashmir as hardly any money was spent on development in their regions. The Ladakh MP's speech in Parliament Express praised the Modi government for separating it from Muslim dominated Kashmir
The Big Question
The big question now to be answered is what will be the reaction of the Muslim population of the Kashmir Valley. The valley as it stands will become a small part of of the state but at the same time the population there has to accept the present status. This is unlikely as the younger population of the states is fired by ideas of Jihad and Jannat and will sacrifice their lives for what they feel is a usurpation of their rights.
This is the real danger and there are elements in Pakistan and Pakistan government who have a stake in furthering unrest in the Kashmir Valley. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru committed a great mistake when in his zeal to placate the Muslim population stopped all migration and settlement in the state from other parts of India. The net result is that Kashmir continues to be the dominant Muslim State. In fact, the situation was so bad that the elements of Jihadis carried out a program of rape and murder and expelled more than 200,000 Hindu Pandits from the valley despite a Congress government at the center which did nothing.
There is no doubt the situation in the valley once the restriction is lifted will be tense. Pakistan is the key player in this scenario. The Pakistan Prime Minister is at his wit's end and he is being taunted by the opposition parties as a man who has failed in his policy against India. In such a situation there is every likelihood of the terror organizations in Pakistan trying to infiltrate into the Kashmir Valley and carry out terrorist attacks in collaboration with their supporters.
There may be many supporters and this could fuel the supply of suicide bombers. One has only to see the situation in Palestine which is a small area but suicide attacks and terror activities have been going on for almost 40 years. The question arises as to what is can be the solution?
There is no immediate solution on the horizon and the Indian security forces will have to fight the sponsored terror groups from Pakistan. There can only be one change and one road and that is too slowly change the demographic profile of the Kashmir Valley. Earlier Kashmir was insulated from the rest of India by article 370 which now has ceased to exist.
One can have a look at China and evaluate how it has gone about solving the problem in Sinkiang which is similar to the Kashmir problem. The Muslim community of Sinkiang the Uighurs have started an insurrection against the Chinese government. China has come down heavily on the Muslims and has settled a vast number of Chinese from Manchuria there. They have also banned the Muslim way of life like wearing burkha and fasting during Ramadan.
I am the first man to say that such a situation should not be allowed in Kashmir but there is no doubt that the failure to integrate the state with India during the last 70 years was mainly due to the policy of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. He has brought about the present situation. The Modi government will now have to bite the bullet and make efforts to win the hearts of the local boys by giving them employment and a better life.
Another example which comes to my mind is that of the Chakma Hill tribe in Bangladesh. Their insurrection was snuffed out by settlement of Bengali Muslim farmers in the Chittagong hill tracts and changing the demographic profile of the region. The push and pull theory of migration will be applicable to the valley and if there is the growth of industry along with the settlement of workers from outside Kashmir that benefits local people, is the only hope for the Modi government. The clock has now turned full circle and cannot be put back and Kashmir for all practical purpose is now another part of India.