So Modi 2.0 has delivered within 2.5 months by revoking the Article 370 in the first session of the Parliament itself. There is no question that it has dealt the single biggest blow to the ‘Aazadi brigade’ and ‘Terrorism industry’ within and outside Indian borders. As has been the trend these days with all the Government haters, specifically Modi-Shah haters, the ‘critics’ kept changing the goalpost as the developments unfolded.
Throughout the last 5 years, the ‘mainstream’ as well as the fringe elements kept daring the government to remove Article 370 which peaked during the election season of 2019. Threats were issued, violence was promoted, abuses were hurled. Now when the government bit the bullet and scrapped the article, first there was commotion and meltdown from the opposition and the critics, and then followed the constant shifting of goalpost to criticize the decision.
Earlier the narrative was that Article 370 cannot be challenged due to legal constraints and it is ‘permanent’ rather than ‘temporary’ as the Home Minister himself described it. After the notification in the morning from the government to scrap the article became public knowledge, the goalpost shifted to pricking holes in the procedure that was followed to bring about this change. It was termed as the gross abuse of power vested in Article 356 wherein any state can be put under Center’s rule and then bifurcated.
However, when Home Minister Amit Shah made it clear that since no other state has special status as J&K, this procedure would not and should not be used for any other state, the goalpost shifted again. The new argument was that ‘we do not oppose the scrapping of the article 370 but we protest the manner in which it is being done’.
Exceptional circumstances require exceptional decisions.
Article 370 was an aberration and a lot of constitutional circumventing was required on the government’s part to scrap that. Surely, the government used some less than popular democratic methods to end this abomination but the status quo was a bigger danger to the democracy than what the government did to change that.
As the day progressed and it started becoming clear that the end of Article 370 is near, a new propaganda started doing the rounds in social media where the ‘critics’ refrained from criticizing the decision per say but criticized the lock down in the state while taking this historic decision. They tried to peddle the narrative that ‘Indians’ (read Modi voters) should hang their head in shame as when the future of Kashmiri people was being changed forever, they were made to sit out of the discussion.
First of all, Jammu and Kashmir is not just about Kashmiri people but is also about Buddhists, Kashmiri Pandits, Dogras, Dalits, and everyone else whether they belonged to Kashmir or not. There is no denying the fact that Jammu and Ladakh people got a rough deal till now under the garb of article 370. No one is talking about Kashmiri Pandits who are as much a stakeholder as anyone else.
Mainland Indians are as much a stakeholder as any other average Kashmiri as it is the brave sons of Indian motherland from different states who have given their lives in last 70 years to keep the troubled valley under the Indian borders and keep the terrorists at bay. It is the Indian taxpayers who have given their hard earned money which has sustained the basic necessities in the valley and has filled the coffers of Kashmiri politicians and separatists. It is the Indian Mainland which has suffered multiple terror attacks which has killed thousands of innocent Indians in the name Kashmir conflict.
Forget about the history, forget about the Hindu connection of the valley, even in last 70 years the people of mainland India have given their sweat and blood for the upkeep of the Kashmir valley. So, to say, that only the Kashmiri people should be able to take decision about their territory is as treacherous as those ‘Aazadi’ slogans that kept reverberating till now in the valley and leftist bastions such as JNU.