Mistakes of the past undone, partly:
The 5th of August 2019, in terms of integrity and sovereignty of India, will go down as an unforgettable day in the history of independent India. On this day the Honorable Home Minister of the country, Mr. Amit Shah proposed the scrapping of Section 370 and 35(A) in the state of Jammu & Kashmir and provided them with the status of Union Territories with legislature and Ladakh as an individual UT without legislature.
It also marks as a day when the colossal Nehruvian blunder on Kashmir that was committed seven decades ago was partly undone. I say, ‘partly undone’ because the abolition of Article 370, 35A and bifurcation of the former state of J&K is just a part of the solution for the Kashmir problem but as they say, work well begun is half done.
The article 370 for a long time was the breeding ground for those who were against Jammu & Kashmir as a fundamental part of India, or who raised questions on Constitutional Status of the state. It also possessed a menace to peace in the valley with the passage of time. The number of those questioning Indian intentions had grown rapidly in the recent past.
Temporary, not Special:
It is interesting to note that Article 370 of the Indian Constitution was never a special status provision as regards to Jammu & Kashmir, but was a temporary provision with respect to the State of Jammu and Kashmir. This Article was provisional and had to go. The word temporary very plainly conveyed that those who drafted and accepted the Constitution of India made this provision hoping that the state of uncertainty and dialogues would end soon. Such message also flows from Article 370 (3) where it is said that ::Notwithstanding anything in the foregoing provisions of this Article, the President may, by public notification, declare that this Article shall cease to be operative or shall be operative only with such exceptions and modifications and from such date as he may specify: Provided that the recommendation of the Constituent Assembly of the State referred to in clause (2) shall be necessary before the President issues such a notification.
While the unprecedented preparations by the Union to tackle any potential disturbances in the valley did churn up the rumor mills on the abrogation of the Special Status to Jammu & Kashmir, the government was successful in putting a remarkable blanket on its ‘real plan’. It is even more remarkable that when the Union Home Minister laid down the government’s plan and the proposed course of action before the Parliament, both the Media and Opposition failed to grapple with the nature and nuances of the same. While the Opposition stormed the well of the Rajya Sabha, the Media followed its protocol to feed the frenzy of the majority. As a result, the legal nuances of the government’s plan was lost on a large number of politicians, policy experts, and scholars alike.
Without any doubt, the retraction of these articles is a welcome move in the right track. This will bring much needed economic activity into the region and integrate places like Jammu and Ladakh with mainstream India as they had to suffer because of unrest in few districts of Jammu and Kashmir. India should be indebted to three of its sons from Gujarat for the complete integration of the country.