Late night on Friday, the Home Ministry issued an order to deploy 100 additional companies of paramilitary forces in Jammu and Kashmir. This decision came immediately after the National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval returned from a two-day visit to the Kashmir valley. Each company has 100 soldiers so essentially, the order indicates an additional deployment of 10,000 soldiers in the valley. 40,000 troops are already deployed in the region so the additional deployment will make the total number of troops as 50,000.
The order, as reported by mint, states that 50 additional companies of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) will be deployed, while nine companies of the CRPF will be moved from the National Capital to the Valley. Moreover, the other troop deployment will happen through the Border Security Force (BSF), the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).
This order has left the people in Jammu and Kashmir in a state of frenzy with people pondering upon the possible cause of the deployment. As precedence indicates, in the past, additional troops have been deployed in the valley whenever something monumental is going to happen.
Prior to this, around 100 companies of central paramilitary forces, that is, 10,000 soldiers were airlifted and deployed in the valley. Following which, Balakot air strikes were conducted beyond LoC and in Pakistan territory, to crack down on the JeM terror camps. Thereafter, the valley witnessed a crackdown on Jamaat-e-Islami’s leaders and supporters.
So as the situation unfolded, it became evident that the troop deployment was the need of the hour, unknown to the people at that point of time. The troops are aimed at maintaining the external as well as the internal threats in the state and the situations indicated a possible chaos.
Now, the citizens are speculating as to the possible reason. There can be 2 possibilities, one, and the more obvious one which is removal of article 35A from the constitution.
The article has been incorporated in the constitution by virtue of article 370 of the constitution which paves way for a special status for the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Through Article 35A, the residents of Jammu and Kashmir are granted special rights with respect to education and job opportunities in the valley. Moreover, it also prohibits Indian citizens from other states from purchasing land in the state. The special status has become the bone of contention between the state and the rest of the country. Article 35A hinders the integration of the state of Jammu and Kashmir with India and has helped bolden separatist sentiments in the people.
Removal of the article is being debated for quite some time and is integral to Home Minister Amit Shah’s stance on the state of Jammu and Kashmir, which is why, it could be expected that Article 35A might be abrogated.
The other speculation is the trifurcation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir into 3 regions– Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. It would essentially divide the state in 3 separate union territories so that individual emphasis can paid on each region. As of now, due to the Kashmir issues, Ladakh is mostly sidelined which is affecting development in the region. Moreover, if trifurcation occurs, the militancy and separatist issues in Kashmir can be individually dealt with, without affecting the other regions. Each territory has its distinct cultural, ethnic and religious identity so the trifurcation of J&K is a plausible and desirable solution. Trifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir has been a matter of debate in the last few years.
The citizens are also anticipating that the Kashmir valley may witness some monumental change on 15th of August, the Indian Independence Day. Given that the state has maintained its peace and tranquility at the present moment, deployment of the troops only indicates that a colossal change awaits the state of Jammu and Kashmir and the citizens are ripe with speculations.