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Momentous Decision


Der aayad, durust aayad! By repealing Article 370, the Modi Government has – as stated by Rajya Sabha Member Swapan Dasgupta – extended the sovereignty of Parliament on the whole of India, and ended the concept of ‘differentiated’ citizenship. The Constitution in its essence does not belong to communities or interest groups – it serves the needs of individual citizens. Anything that takes away from the individual’s rights is not constitutionally valid. The greatest anomaly in India’s constitutional structure was Article 370, which ironically granted greater rights to Pakistanis than Indians not belonging to the state of Jammu & Kashmir. It also denied equal rights to the women of J&K, treating them as the property of the man they married. The people were basically prevented from being mainstreamed with the rest of India.
Even more important, Article 370 has not so much been ended by the government as it has been lost by those who led the Kashmiri people over the last seventy years. They remained ungrateful for what was given. The provision was exploited by them to feather their own nests and ensconce themselves permanently in power at the cost of the people’s well-being. All sides to the so called Kashmir dispute were mulcted through a blackmailing approach. The ‘special status’, in recent years, was only used to allow the spread of fanatical Islam, serving Pakistan’s agenda, as opposed to the much-vaunted Kashmiriyat. Even the inclusion of the BJP in the Mehbooba Mufti government – a great opportunity to balance the power equation in the state – proved useless because of the hostility of the separatists towards Hindus. India finally ran out of patience.
A number of Modi detractors had demanded that he answer US President Trump and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on the mediation issue. He has done so emphatically. The timing is right because much of the international community is involved in numerous confrontations based upon competing national interests. A nearly bankrupt Pakistan, who is presently serving US interests in Afghanistan, is at its weakest when it comes to fomenting trouble in Kashmir, though it will certainly try. China is trying to enforce its writ on Hong Kong and will be hard put to lecture India on the merits of ‘one country, two systems’.
The government may face difficulty when the issue is taken to court, as it inevitably will be, but that is another battle. The nation will undoubtedly face serious security issues, but that is a price to be paid for uniting and strengthening India. The path has also been opened to finally providing justice to the Kashmiri Pandits, who will be able to return to the land of their ancestors.