By Kedar Nath Pandey
Giving a twist to the controversy over article 370, BJP president Rajnath Singh on December 1 said his party would accept the special status to Jammu and Kashmir if it is proved that the provision has helped in development and eradication of poverty in the state. “Time has come when there should be debate among people in Jammu and Kashmir. If article 370 has benefited in eradicating poverty, unemployment and helped in development then we will also accept it. But if it has not benefited then I leave it to you the decision to abrogate this law or not” The BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi too called for discussion on whether article 370 has benefited the ordinary people. “Some people in the county have invented a herb called secularism to atone their sins. In J&K they have added one more thing to it and that is article 370… Time has come to discuss whether article 370 has benefited ordinary people here or not,” Modi said.
The Gujarat chief minister also lashed out at prime minister Manmohan Singh for sermoniming BJP leaders while forgetting their own for walking the talk. “I agree with the prime minister when he named many BJP leaders and said they should walk the talk. I also want to remind him what prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru said in parliament that article 370 will rub out with time. Are you (PM) ready to do what Nehru said? Article 370 is used as kavach (shield) which is decorated with the ornaments of communalism,” he said.
Jammu and Kashmir has, all these years, remained in controversies and confusions, and hence in political turmoil. In the process the one who has suffered the most from ideological, social, political and economic points view has been the common man (more particularly in Kashmir Valley). Among other things Article 370 has remained in focus for nearly six decades. Still in 2012 the position is no different. L.K. Advani had said on October 5, 1997 at Calcutta (44th death anniversary of Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherji) that “Shyama Prasad Mukherji was epitome of national unity and he died in prison strongly advocating scrapping of the government’s dual policy towards Kashmir”, further adding that BJP would launch a mass agitation for repeal of Article-370 of Constitution of India. Two months after that (21-12-1997) Atal Behari Vajpayee had talked of a national debate on Article-370 (occasion was three day National Executive Meet of BJP at Bhubaneswar). Repeal of this article was retained in the 1998 election manifesto of BJP. Fifteen years have since passed but no mass movement has been there. BJP lead NDA coalition too was in power for six years. Yes occasional boils have been there like they have been again raked by BJP in 2013.
Only thing that has resulted out of the discussions and debates on Article 370 is that it has been understood by some as a barrier in the total constitutional integration of J&K with India. There are some who advocate and contest that it is only through this article that J&K is linked with India. These people simply brush aside the fact that all the states of India are linked with Union of India through articles of Constitution of India. Article 370 is also an article of Indian Constitution. Article 370 of Indian Constitution has been particularly seen and quoted by some in reference to the Constitutional status of the state of J&K .It is now more than 62- years since it was written by the drafting committee of the Constituent assembly of India. So, strangely all the leaders, including that of BJP, have been all these years saying that Article 370 gives special status to J&K or J&K has a special status. Whereas Indian constitution nowhere says that J&K has a special status. Even in the Constitution of India Article 370 has not been listed as special status article. Such like casual mentions have provided enough of working grounds to the anti-India government and anti-India Nation elements for misguiding and confusing the common man of J&K, particularly in Valley. Instead when ever some political leaders demand that special status of J&K should go, the anti- elements use it for agitating the people and projecting J&K even as an extra territorial issue. Government of India has done very little to clarify/ undo the explanations as put forward by the Anti- government of India and Anti-India elements in this regard.
Government of India has not done so even after the report of Interlocutor’s for J&K 2010 nearly infers that Article 370 is not a special status article. Rather the Interlocutor’s Report 12th October 2011 has now recommended that Article 370 be made a special Provision (not status) article.
The political parties like Congress, Communists, RJD, JP, SP have never supported or even talked of abrogation of this Article. Anybody could hence infer that majority of people are in favour of retention of Article 370. No doubt BJP and some of NDA allies have been pleading that “special status” under article 370 should be withdrawn, more particularly as it has provided working grounds to the anti- national elements. On the other hand even the prime Kashmiri leadership has been suggesting that any move to abrogate article 370 will lead to total division of India. A news agency had reported on February 11, 1997 quoting a press release of a private network that Dr. Farooq Abdullah had cautioned against any move to abrogate article 370 and had gone to the extent of saying that he would lead the revolt. Kedar Nath Sawhney had said on February 13, 1998, at Jammu, that if the J&K chief minister threatens of a revolt in the country on abrogation of this Article (370) and the country will not be able to control it, then he will be the biggest fool. People of J&K have suffered a lot in terms of employment and no investors is allowed to buy land in the state to set up industries. Thus, in the larger interests of the development of the state such controversies must be settled now. INAV