Ever since the Indian government has revoked Article 370 and Article 35A in Jammu and Kashmir, there have been a large scale hue and cry from certain groups of people. However, everybody is behaving the way they were supposed, except one entity.
The opposition parties like Indian National Congress are behaving in the exact way that they are expected to i.e. to oppose the ruling party. It does not matter to them if it is good for the nation or not, if BJP has done it, they have to oppose it.
Regional parties like Aam Admi Party etc. calculated the effect of this move on their upcoming elections and chose the side.
Political parties like the National Conference and PDP are exactly in the same dilemma like TDP and TRS where states were bifurcated. Moreover, integrating the region in mainland India creates room for other Indian political parties to set their foot and give a tough time to the Kashmiri evergreen parties, threatening their monopolies. Politics in Kashmir would resemble politics in Uttar Pradesh where four or five parties will be relying on only one vote bank i.e. the Muslim vote bank.
As far as the separatist leaders are concerned, the name says it all! Kashmir as an integral part of India not just in speeches but officially on paper leaves no place for a “separate independent Kashmir”. What are more than two dozen separatist parties and their leaders going to do when their core and their only issue is taken away from them? Would they continue receiving funds to carry on the agenda of separatism? How are they going to survive? They do have a genuine problem. It was but obvious that they would dislike this move.
In addition, they already know how Pakistan sidelined the militant groups that claimed Independent Kashmir to be their agenda rather than Kashmir as a province in Pakistan. This is when Ikhwain & SOG were formed along with JKLF becoming a political party out of a militant group. What did you think? they had a change of heart? No! they were left in the dry by their Pakistani handlers and they had to surrender. The then clueless government tried to exploit this to score political points. Read more here: Entangled Kashmir: A web of poor and selfish decisions. It is not only a struggle of bread and butter for the separatist leaders but also their existence.
Apart from the political parties and leaders, a very small section of affluent and rich Kashmiris is also upset with this move. They ran their monopolies in businesses, owned a major section of real state at very cheap prices, enjoyed special privileges offered by the central government. There are a lot of monetary benefits to doing business in an unstable region. J&K received 10% of the grant for 1% of the population from the central government i.e. 1.4 lakh crore in the last 16 years. Do you think only political leaders got this? This affluent section sent their kids outside Kashmir, to the rest of India if not abroad like the political leaders. The Kashmiris you see in the UK, Canada etc. showing fancy placards are the rich ones. They are worried as this move would introduce competition in the region. They would no more be able to generate wealth with the ease of their fathers and forefathers generated. They are selfish, they want India to protect them from Pakistan but they don’t live by its rule. They want to enjoy the fruits of the world’s fastest-growing economy but they don’t want to contribute to its growth. They want to feel at home in Delhi, but they don’t want a Delhite to feel at home in Kashmir.
Sometimes I think what if instead of diluting 370 and abrogating 35A the government had amended it. I mean, like I was not allowed to buy land in Kashmir, a Kashmiri should also not be allowed to buy land in rest of India or say if a girl loses all her property on marrying an Indian guy; a guy should also lose all his property after marrying an Indian girl. Would these affluent Kashmiris like it? Whoever wrote 370 did not think about India at all. India is not a “dharmshala”, you come, you exploit the resources, you loiter and you don’t pay the dues. The same goes for NRC, refugees and for everyone. There are no free meals!! Not for anyone.
Article 370 & 35A were crushing the poor, other than them everybody was happy. And it is not rocket science to know that the number of poor people is way more than the rich. They were the ones who were suffering. Can a poor Kashmiri afford education in the UK? This move benefits only those who were never heard or never had a say in any of the decisions regarding Kashmir. They will not have to go to other parts to find jobs, jobs would come to their state. They know this, which is why Kashmiris living in Kashmir are not fighting it but Kashmiris living outside Kashmir are unhappy with this. There is not one bullet fired since the announcement was made.
Moreover, conditions in Indian Administered Kashmir were never grim, if they were and human rights were violated as several people tried to show, people would have migrated like Rohingyas or East Pakistanis (today’s Bangladesh) or Kashmiri Hindus. But they didn’t! People for their vested interests were making up the issues.
However, I am really surprised at the way Pakistan has reacted. Pakistan has made the largest diplomatic blunder that it could have made in the last seven decades. Pakistan literally gave its terror credentials. Imran Khan in his parliament session claimed with full authority that there will be a Pulwama like attack. Seriously? Pulwama did not happen by itself, RDX does not grow in Kashmir and it is not free. Somebody was involved, now we don’t have to guess who. Somebody called for genocide of Hindus if they settle in Kashmir on a news channel in Pakistan. It should not be difficult to guess as to who was also involved in Kashmiri Hindus exodus in the 90s. Pakistan even tried to rope in Taliban in the Kashmir issue. The funny part is that even the Taliban rebuked them on this. India had been for decades trying to convey to the world that Pakistan is creating problems in Kashmir. Pakistan now walked in and validated all of India’s claims. The world now knows, who is doing what.
In ’47 Kashmiris must have been thinking, who to go with: the neighbour that attacked them or the neighbour that saved them. Who would you go with? Pakistan made sure that independent Kashmir is not an option. Over the course of time, this choice became even easier. The Kashmiris have been witnessing how “muhajirs” (the Muslims who migrated to Pakistan) are treated in Pakistan. In fact, sorting out Muhajirs is the second biggest problem in Pakistan, Kashmir being the first. Kashmiris also saw as to who killed around 3 million in their own country (East Pakistan) and raped around 400,000 women just because they spoke Bengali instead of Urdu and hence deserved to be taught a lesson. They know what lies for them in the future if they decide to go with Pakistan.
Pakistan is, was and will always be the biggest reason why Kashmiris were, are and will always be willing to side with India even at the cost of giving up their dream of Independent Kashmir.
Forget Kashmiris, even Pakistani citizens, if given a choice, would not want to go to Pakistan. I have been living in Germany for the past four years and am still to meet one single Pakistani who would say: “Yes, I will go back to Pakistan”. On the other hand, I met several Indians who have already gone back to India and I know a large number of Indians who would go back to India after gaining a few years of work experience (including myself).
Pakistan knows all this, which is why they wanted plebiscite at gunpoint. They did not approve of the very first necessary but not sufficient clause of the UN resolution 47 that asked them to pull back every single armed man from Kashmir, be it a tribesman or regular armed force personnel. Since they did not move the forces, plebiscite never happened.
By invalidating J&K’s separate constitution and flag, the Indian government officially made it a part of the Indian mainland. Whatever hopes Pakistan had to capture Kashmir are thwarted. Imran Khan and his ministers are behaving like a high school kid whose parents get the television cable disconnected because they didn’t want the kid to watch tv. It does not matter, if the kid does his homework on time or keeps his room clean or his parents go out to visit the neighbours leaving him alone with the tv, he simply cannot watch the TV any more, not for fifteen minutes not for one minute. Likewise, Pakistan cannot have Kashmir anymore. It can go to all the countries in the world, do whatever it feels like, nothing is going to change.
Different regions in Pakistan are already fighting for their freedom. Be it Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, or Balochistan, or Sindhudesh(Sindh) or Gilgit Baltistan or Jinhapur and Muhajir Sooba, everyone is in a race to win its freedom. Sooner or later people in POK would see the change in Indian Kashmir, they would also witness assembly elections in J&K next year. They would realize what they are missing and might raise their voices even more. Pakistan is getting a feel of the ’70s again. Imran Khan literally went to Muzaffarabad to scare people and aggravate them. He claimed that he has information that India is going to do something in POK, misleading the people to get them aggressive and make them do something.
Imran Khan can consider himself a little unlucky. At the time when he got a chance to rule, he has to tackle a truly nationalist party at the centre in India which none of his predecessors had to. All his predecessors invested billions and billions, at the cost of the citizens, in creating and nurturing a monster directed at a part of the disputed land. Now that part is not a disputed land any more. What happens to the monster? Who does it target now? The real question is: Can Imran Khan save his country and people from the very same monster that his predecessors created?
India needs to stay alert because the monster is still there, hungry and reckless even more than before. Do you know who or what the monster is?