It's an opportune time to scrap Articles 370 and 35A in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack

Biranchi Narayan Acharya

Post the attack on a CRPF convoy at Pulwama the people of India are angry and seeking retribution from Pakistan. The anger is so high that even the political parties who are generally Pakistani sympathisers have too started demanding a suitable retaliatory action against Pakistan.

Although the attack of the CRPF was an unfortunate incident, coming close at the heels of the general election 2019, it has given a lot of opportunity to the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The retaliation will be done by the Indian armed force as per their convenience, choice of time and place. But there are a lot of things that can be done internally.

The security cover of four Kashmiri separatist leaders was taken away without any objection from any political party. It's now perhaps the time to revoke Articles 370 and 35A. This can be done with promulgation from the President of India as it neither requires holding a parliamentary session nor brining legislation. Those who are against scraping these acts generally argue that Kashmir will burn if this is done.

If you closely observe you will find that just five districts of Jammu and Kashmir namely Srinagar, Anantnag, Baramulla, Kulgam and Pulwama, are the hubs of separatist activities. Interestingly, all these districts are not near the border and represent just 15 per cent of the state's population. The remaining seventeen districts of J&K are absolutely peaceful and anti-Pakistan.

Even in these five districts there are people who don't support the pro-Pakistan separatists. Indian security forces' operation 'All Out' has been very successful because people from these five districts have cooperated by giving intelligence inputs against the terrorists. Within three days the master mind of the Pulwama attack, Rasheed Gazi, was neutralized just because the Indian army has a good rapport with the Kashmiri public.

Coming back to scrapping of Articles 370 and 35A, agreed, there would be protests in these five districts. But what is happening in these five districts now? Aren't they burning?

The real bottleneck was obstruction by the Indian Secular Industry under which many political parties hold their banner. But scrapping of Article 370 and Article 35A has nothing to do with secularism. And at this stage I don't think that the Congress or any other party will have stomach to oppose this. Well, people like Prashant Bhushan will take this matter to the Supreme Court. Let them. But then the resolve of the Central government will be visible which is very important for the Supreme Court to adjudicate also.

The PDP and the NC may object and not participate in the election. Let them be. They had previously boycotted the Panchayat election only to lose badly. Rest of the people can be convinced how the central laws especially welfare acts can help the poor people of Jammu and Kashmir. The Article 370 and 35A are just helping a handful of separatist leaders without serving the people at large.

AuthorBiranchi Narayan Acharya
Date19 February, 2019


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