Some action is better than no action. But this action was a big one, shaking the very status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir under India’s control.
The dillydallying over the Kashmir problem for over 70 years got some kick from the government of India with the announcement two years ago when Article 370 was removed from the Constitution.
This very article gave special status within the union of India. This special status meant significant autonomy to J and K, which no other state in India has.
Besides the abrogation of Article 370, the Indian government also bifurcated the state into two central-controlled Union Territories.
One is the Jammu-Kashmir region, and the other is Ladakh.
Was Article 370 ever helped the people of the state in terms of socio-economic conditions?
Or did it ever give some autonomy to Jammu and Ladakh regions within the state?
Did Article 370 help in resolving the Kashmir problem. The one answer to all these questions is NO.
Not because anything was wrong with the article, rather I support it. Even to the extent that this kind of provision should be granted to every state in India.
Autonomy is the key that can guarantee the unity of India by respecting its linguistic and cultural diversities.
The special status under Article 370, instead of honouring its intents, was underhandedly and even unethically exploited by the Kashmiri leadership, more precisely by the Valley politicians.
And over the years the Kashmir Problem has become a full-fledged industry controlled by the few families of the Valley and terrorists within the state and across from Pakistan.
Will all the removal of Article 370 solve the perennial Kashmir Problem? The answer is no.
Because Jammu and Kashmir are two separate identities. Keeping them together without giving regional autonomy to the Jammu region will keep the frustrations of this region alive.
Jammu could be the clue to the Kashmir tangle if it gets a fair share of the power within the state.
And then there is the “Azad Kashmir” factor also, which is still legally part of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir.
( Promod Puri resides in Vancouver, Canada, originally from Jammu. He is a journalist, writer and author of Hinduism beyond rituals, customs and traditions. Websites: promodpuri.com and progressivehindudialogue.com)