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HomeEditorialBJP's double standards exposed on #Article370

BJP’s double standards exposed on #Article370

Article 370 was a political pomposity thrown by Narendra Modi in 2014 during his election speeches. Modi came on speech-making of Development, Achche Din, Kashmir and anti-Pak, Ram Mandir as an agenda. However, as we all know, he flopped flat on all these issues. He represents a constituency which always thought Article 370 must go, so he said it should go while having no Kashmir expert in his party is the bigger issue. Article 370 is a temporary feature of the Indian Constitution which should go and will go. Moreover, in the current context, as the disconnection between Delhi and Kashmir is very high, political turbulence in J&K is another issue. For removal of Article 370, resolution of J&K’s Assembly is required. I doubt that by any means, if they can get it, at least now. BJP always told people of Jammu and Ladakh region that they will remove Article 370 when they will come to the power but when they had a coalition government with PDP, no initiative or consultation was initiated by BJP or PM Modi (You can see power hunger). It’s the failure of the J&K government; Kashmir is in turbulence since years but the government couldn’t handle it. They can’t blame others for this as they have ruled both at Centre and State. The actual problem of Kashmir is not Article 370 but the governance. Article 370 is blamed for everything, but it has remained in its skeleton form, eroded beyond repair. J&K’s law allows to purchase property for business and commercial purpose, central law can be extended by presidential notification while some other by extension of State assembly etc. Kashmir needs more democracy; unfortunately, the politics of J&K revolve around two families, where common men feel cheated and helpless.

It is important to understand that the politics of the state will always overpower the legality of it. As we have seen recently, just before the elections of the state assemblies like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Mizoram, the BJP has very conveniently decided to break up its alliance with PDP citing security issues. The army deployed in J&K is controlled by the central government where BJP is in full majority. Moreover, breaking the alliance was very critical for BJP because, under the President’s rule, the BJP can do as it wants in the State. This will translate into increasing violence which BJP will then use in all of its election rallies gloating in how they have killed more terrorists in J&K and taking strict measures for the same. Two of their favourite political tools will be brought in — Army and Pakistan. Peace in the State will never be achieved under BJP as they will keep using violence to gain brownie points. Realistically, the governments have to empower people of Jammu and Kashmir by providing them with basic services and employment opportunities. Law and order problem is an excuse as the territory is under our sovereign control. How can someone mobilise youth and organise protests unless they have the support of the rulers? Due to the Intelligence failure, lack of police modernisation, and lack of business avenues, the state is unable to expose separatist and education system. The biggest problem is the lack of understanding among the citizen about the Kashmir issue. We need to involve citizens of the region in policy making of Kashmir, but hardly any Kashmiri is found in policy making of Kashmir. On top of all these, PM Modi conveniently played the political game. It is the diversion tactic of BJP as it has nothing much to show on the development front. In reality, no parties in India or Pakistan want to solve Kashmir issue because if it’s solved, they will lose their election trump card.

We need to come out of the blame game politics, BJP blames Nehru and Congress for this, while Congress blames BJP for misgovernance. They both need to sit along with the other parties and stakeholders in the State and come up with a plan to tackle this issue rather than blaming each other. The paid media must stop giving a biased and politically motivated picture of the State and needs to give the citizens a clear picture. Understanding of the citizens and the younger generation is very important if we want to solve the Kashmir issue.

India and Pakistan — both the countries have played the Kashmir Card so much and moreover, manipulated the opinion of the citizens beyond imagination. Rational thinking on this issue is missing among the citizens. Now, if they reach a solution, people will say that they treacherously sold the state (Depicts confidence of Citizens in ruling class) to the enemy state. Imagine what will happen in India or Pakistan if they agree for Status Quo, Kashmir of India belongs to India and Pak will have no claim; vice versa with PoK. The ruling class knows this, hence they don’t want to miss the opportunity. When it comes to Article 370, even that is another tool in the hands of the politicians; they will have no issues to bake during the elections if it’s abolished.

The article is drafted in Part XXI of the Constitution, which relates to Temporary, Transitional, and Special Provisions. Its assembly was empowered to recommend the application of article 370 or abrogation altogether but unfortunately, the assembly has dissolved itself without recommending abrogation. That is why Article 370 is deemed to have a permanent feature of the Indian Constitution. Clause 7 of the Instrument of Accession signed by Maharaja Hari Singh declared that the State could not be forced to accept any future Constitution of India. The State was within its rights to draft its own Constitution and to decide for itself that what additional powers to extend to the central government. In reality, Article 370 was designed to protect those rights. According to scholar AG Noorani, Article 370 records a “solemn compact.” “Neither India nor the State can unilaterally amend or abrogate the Article except in accordance with the terms of the Article”. In October 2015, the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir announced that Article 370 cannot be “abrogated, repealed or even amended”. The Article conferred power to the State’s Constituent Assembly to recommend to the President on the matter of the Article. Because the Constituent Assembly did not make such a recommendation before its dissolution in 1957, Article 370 has taken on the features of a “permanent provision”. BJP’s present attitude shows that they are powermongers more than any other political parties in India. However, the question is why BJP had been vouching for the abolition of Article 370? Was it only for political gain? Evidently, BJP has compromised its principles and lost its morality. BJP and PDP, which have been in dialogue for nearly two months, have ironed out all the differences over contentious issues including Article 370, Armed Forces Special Powers Act, and resettlement of West Pakistan Refugees and holding talks with Pakistan and separatist leaders of the State.

The repeal of Article 370 was the main point in the manifesto of BJP. In fact, BJP had been accusing the Congress party of not abolishing Article 370. So, this is nothing but a breach of trust of the people. When BJP was in opposition, it always argued for the abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution which gave special status to J&K. Now, when it is the ruling party at the Centre and when it gets an opportunity to share power in J&K on the specific condition of continuation of Article 370 put forth by PDP, BJP simply changes the tune and say that the concerned article would stay. The party must have understood that it is not so easy to abrogate that article. Congress and the Constitution makers have put the entire country in such a situation and this is the reality!

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Dr Vaidehi Taman
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond The News (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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