With the abrogation of Article 370 and proposal to reorganize the border state, the long standing dream of complete amalgamation of the state with India of the likes of leaders like Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Sardar Patel and Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee has now been fulfilled. Nonetheless, for the people of Jammu and Kashmir the last 70 years since independence have not only been a period of political volatility but have also been marred with radical separatist led violence.
The society of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh from today will convulsively move ahead towards resolution of all the issues that have plagued the state for long, however the problem which has caught the mainstream attention of after the exodus of Lakhs of Kashmiri Pundits forced by radical terrorists, traces its roots back to the times of India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
The close friendship Jawaharlal Nehru and Sheikh Abdulla (Grandfather of Omar Abdullah) surely kick started the downhill roll of the conditions in Kashmir, which further deteriorated because of negligence in following decades. The blind trust of Nehru to Sheikh also didn’t last long as when Indian Army was ready to recapture the area taken by Pakistani invaders, Nehru didn’t approve the army to advance further as it was Sheikh who suggested Nehru not to advance further as he mislead him to believe that the area beyond was not Kashmiri, in a way helping Pakistan. In 1953, Sheikh was charged with conspiring against India, helping Pakistan to annex J&K and inciting communal disharmony.
Nehru also committed a major blunder of taking the Kashmir issue to the United Nation’s Security Council thereby making it an international issue. The solution provided by UN Commission was “Issue would be resolved by democratic means of plebiscite once the Pakistan withdrew its troops from captured territory”. Which essentially gave cover to Pakistan which was poised to be favored in case of the issue being internationalized as at that time US and other powers had favored the rogue nation.
These initial blunders to tackle the issue head on later translated to the state been divided on skewed electoral lines with Kashmir region being give higher representation of the state legislature while regions of Jammu and Ladakh were neglected.
The highly divisive and discriminatory Article 370 was also a result of skewed policies of Jawaharlal Nehru.
Dr Ambedkar had also expressed his discontent after Nehru sent Sheikh to Dr. B.R Ambedkar to draft an appropriate constitution for state, BR Ambedkar had said:
“Mr. Abdullah, you want India should defend Kashmir, India should develop Kashmir and Kashmiris should have equal right as citizens of India, but you don’t want India and any citizen of India to have any rights in Kashmir. I am the Law Minister of India. I cannot betray the interest of my country”.
Nonetheless, Nehru went ahead and asked Gopalaswami Ayyangar to draft the article (306A, which ultimately became source of article 370). Once the article was prepared Nehru bulldozed it through the parliament using his brute majority.
The historical injustice to the integrity of India which was the result of Nehru’s myopic vision, has finally been rectified. Abrogation of these constitutional provisions, under Modi government, which for long have been used by a major part local political leadership and separatist organizations to perpetuate the secessionist narrative is a major boost to Indian national interests in the region. Government’s call for revocation of theses Articles had also met stiff resistance from Kashmiri political parties like National Conference and the PDP, with their leaders even indulging in blatant fear-mongering and in a sense blackmailing by leveraging the security situation in the Kashmir valley region nonetheless PM Modi went ahead with this historic move.
Security Forces were also given requisite freedom over the past few years of Modi government ultimately leading to dismantling of terror mechanism which has been functional in the State for long. Moreover the preparations for bringing about this massive change have also been up to the mark. From massive troop buildup in the state to preventive detention of susceptible disrupt, the Modi government has again given an indication of its effective and diligent planning. Now it remains to be seen how fast the situation evolves to a position of stability and prosperity which the society of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh has been kept away for long.