From being allowed ownership of inheritance despite marrying someone from outside Kashmir to freeing up women from being subjected to Sharia, the effects of the historic decision to make Jammu and Kashmir into a Union Territory will take more time to be realised
A woman being subject to Sharia, a woman being denied the right to inheritance if she married someone from outside, that changes today.
Women from Jammu and Kashmir would be free from being subject to Sharia and the women from Kashmir cannot be denied the right to inheritance if she marries someone from outside Kashmir.
In a nutshell, all Indian laws would be applicable to Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh which were born as Union Territories following a historic decision to abrogate Article 370 taken on August 5, 2019.
There has been a hue and cry over this decision and not a day has passed without the decision being criticised by those in the Opposition. Let us face it, it was the same persons who had for so many years blamed the politicians of Jammu and Kashmir for the bloodshed and violence. Today these are the same politicians who are suddenly sympathetic towards J&K politicians.
A brief history:
Kashmiris were in fact made to believe that they had a choice of merging with either India or Pakistan. The fact is that Maharaja Hari Singh the then ruler of J&K had acceded his state to the Dominion of India on October 26, 1947. Then Jawaharlal Nehru made the historic blunder in not accepting his offer and decided to approach the United Nations.
This move by Nehru, first ensured that J&K became a disputed territory. This status has continued for years now and no wonder the politicians of Jammu and Kashmir always insisted that India holds talks with Pakistan, whenever the Kashmir issue is raked up.
The birth of Wahhabism and radical Islam:
Pakistan was quick to grab this opportunity and went on a spree Islamising J&K. This led to the unfortunate genocide of Kashmiri Pandits and over 5 lakh people had to leave the state. The population of the Buddhists dropped to 40% in 2018 from the 81% population they had back in 1981.
Further there were 3 lakh Hindu refugees who had come down from Pakistan post partition and they lost their voting rights. They were not even given the rights that a citizen from J&K had.
The rise and spread of Wahhabism and radical Islam was immense. Mosques were used to radicalise the youth. Sermons were given from the Mosques through its loudspeakers to incite trouble and target Hindus. Terror groups such as the Hizbul Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Tayiba, Jammu-Kashmir Liberation Front rose quickly and spread terror in the Valley.
The real truth:
Under Part 21 of the Constitution, Article 370 was incorporated, thereby giving Jammu and Kashmir a special status. The state could not however deal with matters relating to defence, finance and foreign affairs. To make matters worse, Nehru through a Presidential order inserted Article 35 A, which further defined a separate set of laws with regard to fundamental rights, permanent residency and property.
The separate set of laws, separate flag, all this led to the feeling that there was India and there was J&K. This was a sentiment that never allowed the integration, which in turn led to separatism.
Another grave injustice meted out was to the people of Jammu, who have a population of 14,689,775. Kashmir on the other hand has a population of 12,500,000 and despite this difference Kashmir has a higher representation in the Assembly. This was thanks to the brazen misuse of the special status by Farooq Abdullah, who flatly refused to implement the delimitation exercise, fearing it would give Jammu a majority in the legislative assembly. The abrogation of Article 370 paves the way for a delimitation exercise and this would correct a historic blunder and the people of Jammu would be rightly represented.
There are some interesting facts about how much the government has been spending on Jammu and Kashmir. From the year 2003, an estimated Rs 1.15 lakh crore has been spent on J&K. Where has this money gone and why despite such splurging are the youth uneducated and people economically backward. Statistics would show that 80% of the Kashmiris are deprived of basic needs such as electricity, water, education etc.
This is because, the political class extracted money from the Indian government, while on the other hand, the separatists enjoyed the financial benefits from Pakistan. This in turn was pumped into their own coffers to provide comforts to their relatives and children. However, a good part of it was used to radicalise the youth of Kashmir, who in turn came on to the streets and either became stone pelters or terrorists.
What our liberal elites need to know:
19,000 civilians, 8,600 service personnel, both in the police and armed forces have been killed due to violence and terrorism since 1988. Stone pelting had become a new norm with over 8,000 incidents being reported in the past four years.
Several analysts and security officials that MyNation spoke with said that there was immense interference from the Muftis and Abdullahs when action was being sought against the separatists. Coupled with this, any action in Kashmir would be followed up with protests in Delhi by the liberal elites. The problem is that they want to view this issue with blinkers. The integration of J&K with India is the least of their concerns, analysts and officials say.
Declaring J&K, a Union Territory was an absolute necessity. The problem of terrorism is not over. The problem of separatism exists. You cannot have a government in J&K which believes in appeasement as a result of which these persons get away. As a UT, security would be under the control of the Centre and this in turn would help clear out the mess.
It has been barely 3 months since such an important decision was made. A section which choses to criticise the BJP government wants instant results. What they must bear in mind is that it took 6 decades to put down Naga insurgency and a good 25 years to get the Mizos to the mainstream.
Experts say that thanks to a strong government at the Centre, which has decided not to pay heed to these liberal elites, it could take at least another 6 to 7 years before the full effect of this historic decision is felt.
Those criticising the decision also must know that there is a score of benefits that come along with this decision. The laws passed by Parliament would be applicable to J&K and Ladakh. Pakistan nationals would no longer be entitled for Indian citizenship if they marry women from Kashmir. Laws with regard to Right to Information, Right to Education and Panchyati Raj Institutions would be applicable. Very importantly, the CAG will scrutinise the expenditure by the government. Laws relating to the rights of Hindus and Sikhs as minority community would now be applicable. Indians from other states can settle in J&K, Ladakh and also purchase property, which in turn would give business, economy and employment to the youth a boost. There would reservation for SC/ST citizens in the legislature, jobs and education as well.
Today, 72 years later, India is one finally and we must rejoice that.
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Last Updated Oct 31, 2019, 6:01 PM IST