Removing article 370 and 35a were on the agenda of BJP for a long time. For BJP, it is a delivering of a promise to their constituency when they removed 370 and 35a. Hence, it makes sense for them to rejoice and take a moment off from the regular publicity and propaganda and move towards a widespread heightened propaganda till they reap the fruit of their recent doings.
There are multiple arguments that are roaming around in favor of the removal of these provisions and against it.
First, no special status to a particular state must be given. Mainstream politicians in Kashmir, such as Mufti and Abdullah, have argued that these are not special provisions. These are rather conditions with which the state of Jammu and Kashmir joined the Indian Union. These provisions allowed Kashmir to have its own constitution, its own flag and it protects the land and resources of Kashmiris. These conditions are now no more. For these politicians, BJP’s decision breaks the bridge that link India and Kashmir constitutionally.
Second, there is a new Kashmir on the way. We see on the ground another bridge being built using the brute force of military and paramilitary. In order to lay the foundation of this new relationship between Kashmir and India, there is heavy deployment of military and paramilitary forces with complete restriction on movements and communication. The brute force of the Indian state has put a lid to Kashmir. This is the foundation of a new Kashmir.
Mainland Indian can buy property in Kashmir. Indian state wants integration of its peripheries culturally and politically. It is the duty of the state to do so. Congress directed it in its own way. BJP is building Akhand Bharat. Ultimately, it is about strengthening the unity of India. Furthermore, it will improve the material and social conditions of communities listed as Schedule Caste in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Most importantly, Ladakh and Jammu are happy about it. The territory of Jammu and Kashmir has been carved out into three pieces and people fear the beginning of settler colonialism in Kashmir.
Indian, if it makes as much effort as the Chinese are making in Xinjiang and Tibet, can push in people to Kashmir and motivations to settle there as a service to one’s country and get paid for a good job is high for Kashmir than the northeastern state. It could become a factor for rapid increase in settler population. However, we need to see the things as they unfold.
The implications of these arguments do not limit themselves to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir; it extends to the region with states such as Nagaland and Mizoram with so called special provisions. If the mood is to remove the special status of all the state, then there are reasons for the region to fear. The governor of Nagaland had to assure that the resources of Nagas will remain protected under 371A. The government of Jammu and Kashmir publicly went on saying that he has heard nothing before the abolition.
With all these on its plate, BJP is not directing its attention on the Naga Issue. It wants to resolve the Naga Issue within three months. We can only hope to see what it unfolds. Whatever the outcome, it would entail more militarization of the region given that one or the other would be left unhappy and would have to be taken to task by the state.
When it comes to Manipur, the civil society bodies are demanding special constitutional protection for the land and resources and for restriction of people coming to settle in the valley. The unfolding in Kashmir must make things unsettle if BJP is stripping off constitutional safeguards over land and resources and with the fear it can very well strip off similar safeguards in the north east state, the future of the indigenous people’s movement for the protection of their land and resources at least in the valley area looks bleak.
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