Prof Hari Om BJP national general secretary and in-charge J&K, Ram Madhav, on July 3, once again pitched for full statehood status to J&K. Actually, in a “special interview” to one national news agency, he reflected on issues ranging from J&K to Indo-China border issue to Nepal. On the question of restoring full statehood to J&K, Madhav said: “His party supports it”. He further said: “BJP’s J&K unit is of the opinion that statehood should be given back when the time is favourable. We want J&K to be restored to a full state’s status”. What Ram Madhav said was what precisely the Kashmir-based parties had been saying ever since August 5-6, 2019. These include Abdullahs’ National Conference (NC), Muftis’ Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Sonia’s Congress, Altaf Bukhari’s Jammu & Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) and some other smaller political outfits like Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPIM), People’s Democratic Forum (PDF) and Sajad Lone’s People’s Conference (PC). On August 5-6, PM Narendra Modi and HM Amit Shah created a history of sorts and sprung a big surprise by doing something no one in the world had ever thought about. That day, they with one stroke of pen not just rendered “Temporary” Article 370 and discriminatory, invidious and unjust Article 35A unreal but also divided the 173-year-old State of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh into two Union Territories (UT) – UT of J&K and UT of Ladakh. These Kashmir-based and one-community/one-region-centric outfits, which consider J&K a disputed territory between India and Pakistan and vouch for trilateral talks between New Delhi, Pakistan and Srinagar, have all been expressing themselves against what the Narendra Modi did on August 5-6 and thereafter and seeking restoration of the pre-2019 August politico-constitutional and administrative status. They also considered Jammu and Ladakh as their colonies like London considered India as its colony. Significantly, Pakistan and China, too, have been denouncing the Narendra Modi government for what they did in August and what they have been doing thereafter at regular intervals to break the backbone of the votaries of Kashmiri sub-nationalism and agents of Pakistan and end the 72-year-old domination of Kashmir and the Kashmir’s religio-political elite — consisting of Abdullahs, Muftis, Lones, Saifuddins, Mirs, Sajads and so on — over the state polity and economy. But it was expected. Both have been working for the disintegration of India. More importantly,
Kashmir-based outfits have also got support from one more quarter: Delhi-based Jammu & Kashmir National Panthers Party (JKNPP) patron Bhim Singh. Bhim Singh has been talking to the Kashmir-based leaders and planning to hold what he calls an All-Party Conference to chalk out a strategy calculated to making the Modi Government undo what it did (to weaken and defeat jihadist forces in the Valley and show Pakistan and China the place they deserve). One can only hope that the JKNPP would appreciate the national sentiment and feel Jammu’s pulse and behave accordingly in its own interest and for its very survival. It has to sit up and find why it lost its sheen and appeal after 2002, when it joined the late Mufti Sayeed-led coalition government.
Ram Madhav, like all Kashmir-based political parties, wants full statehood status to J&K. It’s obvious that he doesn’t know what he has been saying. It would be naïve to say that he is blissfully ignorant of the grave evils that would follow after J&K was granted state’s status. After all, the BJP shared power with the Muftis for three long years and they also know why PM Narendra Modi and the then BJP national president Amit Shah in a highly dramatic manner withdrew the BJP support to the Mehbooba Mufti Government on June 19, 2018. It is hardly necessary to reflect on this development. Ram Madhav, undoubtedly, knows it. He himself had held press conference on June 19 in New Delhi to tell the nation the immediate causes leading to the collapse of the unholy Mehbooba Mufti-BJP coalition government – government in the formation of which he had played an important role. Suffice it to say that the BJP withdrew support to her government mainly on two grounds. One, her government was Pakistan and terrorist-friendly and her government had jeopardized the paramount national interest in Kashmir. Two, her government failed to respect the sentiments of the people of Jammu and Ladakh and willfully hurt their legitimate socio-economic and politico-administrative interests and rights. The BJP leadership didn’t then talk about the unfortunate Rasana (Kathua) episode and the February 14, 2018 Mehbooba Mufti’s executive order to Deputy Commissioners, particularly of Jammu, Kathua, Samba and Udhampur, and top police officials, which required them to facilitate the settlement of members of a particular community over the State/Forest land and not act against them if they were found involved in bovine smuggling etc. But there are potent reasons to believe that these two developments had also provoked PM Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah to bring down the government of Mehbooba Mufti.
What would be the immediate fallout if J&K granted the state’s status and election held after the completion of the ongoing exercise of delimitation-of-assembly-constituencies? The immediate fallout would be the re-transfer of power to those in Kashmir, who left no stone unturned after October 1947 to muddy the Indian waters in the state and help, promote and shield the Pakistan proxies and their supporters in the state. To be more exact, the immediate fallout will be the transfer of Home, Revenue, Law, Finance and General Administration Departments and the highly vital office of Advocate General to those in Kashmir whose stand on New Delhi is too well known and whose attitude towards Pakistan and China is too friendly. These were the departments the Valley leadership used to the hilt to weaken the Indian position in Kashmir, promote and defend fissiparous tendencies and bar the powers-that-be in New Delhi from reining in the forces of destruction and creating conditions which didn’t really allow the courts in the state and elsewhere to bring the enemies, terrorists and murderers to justice. Nation just can’t afford to handover these departments to Kashmir. To handover these departments to Kashmiri leadership would be to undo what PM Modi and HM Shah did to undo the wrongs committed by the Congress in collaboration with the Kashmir’s religio-political elite between 1947 and June 2018 and help them segregate J&K from India – their age-old dream.
PM Modi and HM Shah would do well to reject outright the demand as being made by Kashmiri leadership and endorsed by Ram Madhav and others of his ilk in the BJP. They would also do well to underline what some Kashmiri Kashmir-watchers have said about the creation of the UT of J&K and its positive impact. They have, inter-alia, said: “Jihadists and pro-Pakistan elements in Kashmir, including Syed Ali Shah Geelani, had been granted an unstated acquiescence by the political apparatus in the Valley, including CMs and J&K Police chiefs. That is why they reigned supreme. Undoubtedly, the J&K Reorganization Act of the Parliament and transformation of J&K into the UT took away their political and police leverage”.
Yes, Jammu province needs to be granted the state’s status. Strong Jammu is national requirement. As for Kashmir, it has to be maintained as a UT under the direct control of the Union Home Ministry. There is no other alternative available given the kind of politics Kashmiri leadership has been playing ever since the accession of J&K to India.
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