Abrogation of Article 370 shall result in actual integration of the people of state which will not only bring peace but also development and prosperity in both newly created UTs.
In a landmark decision on 5th August 2019, the decision of Government of India lead by BJP revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) by moving the resolution ‘The Constitution (Application to Jammu & Kashmir) Order 2019’ to abrogate the Article 370. It generated celebrations to resentment, euphoria to despondency across the nation. The abrogation follows the introduction of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Bill, 2019 in Rajya Sabha by the Government of India. In his speech on the floor of the house, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that the Government of India had decided to repeal Article 370 and bifurcate the state into two Union Territories (UTs) – J&K and Ladakh. There will be provision of legislature for Jammu and Kashmir region but Ladakh region will have no legislature. Both UTs will come into existence on 31st October 2019.
Reasons for abolition of Article 370
The scrapping of Article 370 by the Government of India is a welcome move because Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India. This decision will pave the way of social amalgamation, economic prosperity, and growth of tourism state. Terrorism has always remained a major concern in the state of J&K. There has been a series of terror attacks in state by Pakistan sponsored terror groups. In the last few years, terror attacks such as Gurdaspur terror attack (2015), Uri attack (2016), Sunjuwan terror attack (2018) and Pulwama attack (2019) have worsened the situation of Jammu and Kashmir. The resolution will prove to be a good diplomacy while dealing with Pakistan over territorial disputes.There has been a series of efforts made by the Pakistan to internationalise the Kashmir issue at global level. Pakistan has continuously demanded the third party intervention on the issue which India has continuously rejected. Pakistan’s demands of United Nations intervention in the Kashmir issues has also been rejected by the Government of India. India has consistently made its position clear that the Kashmir issue is an internal issue and it will be solved according to the norms of Shimla agreement.
New Delhi’s Kashmir policy is marked by two frequently reiterated, albeit contradictory, assertions. Firstly, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh is an integral part of India and secondly, although New Delhi has always opposed any international mediation on the issue, it is agreeable to consider the conflict as a bilateral issue among both nations. Its strategy to normalise its relations with Pakistan by keeping the thorny Kashmir issue on the back burner and move forward on other contentious issues like sharing of Indus water, Sir Creek, demilitarization of Siachen and bilateral trade was further encouraged with a significant decline in the levels of militancy in J&K.
Modi government has continuously supported the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A but the policy of the Congress government has always remained neutral in the context of Article 370. Congress always talked about the normalization in the valley. The scrapping of Article 370 was supported by many regional parties including BSP, AIADMK, YSR-CP, Shiv Sena, Shiromani Akali Dal, AGP and BPF.
Article 370 was a temporary provision which granted special status to the state of J&K. With the abolition of Article 370, it is expected to be transformed into never-ending characteristic of Indian constitution in the form of: end of dual citizenship, one nation-one flag, validity of Supreme Court verdict in J&K, implementation of laws made by central government under Union laws, applicability of President rule, continuation of citizenship right to Kashmiri women even after marrying outside Kashmir. In administrative reform, implication of right to information (RTI), right to education (RTE), CAG, and panchayats rights will have a positive impact. Due to restrictions imposed under 35A, Indians from other states were not able to purchase the land in Kashmir while Kashmiri people could buy land in all parts of India. This was the major concern of the private sector for not establishing their companies in the state.
Many Kashmiri people feel alienated and there is a need for emotional connect between people of Kashmir with the rest of the country. People of J&K should also feel that after 70 years of independence, the Government of India has opened its arms. It is now for the people of the state to accept the offer. The acceptance would result in their general well-being, better health, and socio-economic development. It will give boost to the following: investment, innovation, Research and Development (R&D), economic growth, religious as well as non-religious tourism, agriculture and dairy sector, manufacturing sector such as food processing industries, film industry, handicrafts, handlooms, art and crafts, fishery, livestock, pharmaceuticals industry, cloth industry, peace and prosperity in the state. The state is lagging behind due to presence of mass poverty, large unemployment rates, almost negligible FDI and absence of ease of doing business provisions. Income equality in the state is also quite lower than the national average rate. There is an urgent need for private investment in the state and abolition of Article 370 is one step ahead in this regard. The central government should ensure the grant of additional funds for the development of the state.
The scrapping of Article 370, without any doubt is a new beginning for the people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh as it shall bring more development, employment opportunities and sense of belongingness among all. In the short run, there might be some concerns of repeal of Article 370 which requires some caution and restrictions which is still going on, but in the long term, it shall result in actual integration of the people of state which will not only bring peace but also development and prosperity in both newly created Union Territories.
The author is research scholar at Central University of Gujarat and an intern with Academics4nation