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Col J P Singh9/11/2019 9:43:40 PM
Trifurcation of J&K, with Ladakh as Union Territory (UT) as a strategic necessity, one day or the other, was talked about as a necessary evil. I saw two things happening soon. (i) revocation of Article 35 A and (ii) Ladakh as UT; both by a Presidential order. Revocation of Article 370, much later with the approval of an elected state govt. But sudden suspension of Shri Amarnath Yatra in the last week of July 2019 followed by massive security forces deployment made us skeptical. And then the social media aired trifurcation of J&K with Ladakh and Kashmir as UTs and Jammu a separate State. That brightened Jammu's hopes. I also saw Jammu State coming. What happened wasn't seen even in the wildest dreams. Bifurcation left Kashmir nonplussed and Jammu amazed. Pakistan and China were also taken aback. They rushed to UNSC to vent their anger. Wanting to keep the pot boiling Pakistan wants to raise it in UNGA. Premier Modi had to discuss it with world leaders on the sidelines of G-7 Summit to dowse the fire. Hence at the face of it, the bifurcation has not solved J&K imbroglio; rather complicated and internationalised it. (more than a month past none dare open any shop in Srinagar, one who opened, his family was attacked). That however is for Delhi to handle. But for Jammu, balance of power is still tilted towards the majority 67% (Kashmir) which hates minority 33% (Jammu). Jammu stands where it was. Articles 370 and 35-A were one such catalyst of majority domination and minority-majority equation, equality and injustice. In their guise the Hurriyat, Separatists, Muftis and Abdullahs were challenging Delhi and spreading hatred. They were putting innocent lives at the altar of sacrifice even during Bakri Eid knowing well that human sacrifice is unacceptable to Allah. Having missed the opportunity, Abdullah and Mufti dynasties will be consigned to the pages of history. Such are the imponderables of politics. I pity them. Past-masters in manipulations, they slipped. (had they been wise, they could have negotiated a Mufti Sayeed type arrangement and got a better deal). Hence it is time for Delhi to encash it and negotiate with Jammu to counter Kashmir agenda. To begin with nation must Salute the visionary Dogra Maharaja Gulab Singh, a great statesman and an unparalleled military commander who created an empire of his own by conquests and treaties and extended Indians boundaries into the foreign lands. And the Parliament should pay tribute to the nationalist ruler Maharaja Hari Singh who acceded his Princely State to India despite immense pulls and pressures to accede to Pakistan.
So far as 370 is concerned, it violated equality, endorsed gender discrimination, promoted hatred and jeopardized security. On top of that Kashmiriyat over-rode the secular agenda of the polity. Kashmiriyat undermined the other regional and ethnic identities. It meant that Kashmiris were superior to Christians, Sikhs, Punjabis, Jains and Dogras ie Rajput, Brahmin, Poonchhi, Mirpuri, Gujjar, Bakarwal, Gaddi, Pothari, Balti, Sipi or Ladakhi. Eternal hatred against others is seen in the following. (i) unceremonious exile of Dogra Ruler and not permitting even the Maharani to live in Jammu. (ii) ruthless suppression of 1952-53 Jammu agitation led by Pt Prem Nath Dogra, (iii) hate Jammu mentality prompting Sheikh Abdullah, while addressing public meeting at R S Pura in 1952, to angrily retort, "take two and half districts and part-with" and after crossing Bannihal on his way back to Srinagar, stopping his car, climbing the close-by height and saying, "Bye-bye Jammu" and spitting. (iv) framing J&K Constitution ensuring political domination over Jammu and Ladakh forever. (v) indiscriminate land reforms effecting Jammu farming community. (vi) 5% Jammu employees in the Secretariat and about 20 % in the rest of the govt jobs when Jammu population is nearly equal to Kashmir. (vii) 'Greater Autonomy' and 'Self Rule' mentality and its unilateral pursuit. (viii) indignities inflicted on Kashmiri Pandits and forcing them out at gun point (genocide) reflecting 'hatred plus' means hatred against Hindus and (ix) the Jihad; to mention some. This must change, if India has to maintain its credibility as a social, secular and democratic republic that guarantees identity, liberty, equality and security to all its citizens. Abrogation of 370 and reorganisation is for the development and prosperity of Kashmiris, said PM in his 8th August address. Jammu wasn't mentioned in his speech. Jammu hatred, sufferings, sentiments and aspirations of Dogras, deserved a mention they being Modi voters in the last two elections. It will not be too late to go through the pristine glory and contributions of Dogras, recall them personally or through the Parliament and maintain their identity (Dogriyat). Least I expect the PM is to do it sooner.
Kashmir will react once the restrictions are lifted. That is why, perhaps, prime minister has promised Statehood soon after the normalcy returns. Coming to the return of peace and normalcy; firstly, the militancy must end. For that balance of power must be maintained justly. One way is to make Southern Kashmir a UT and name it 'Srinagar UT' and the rest as J&K State. That can reduce majority domination over minority. Since reversal of re-organisation is assured, Jammu can be a separate state but how about the umbilical cord which connects Kashmir to Jammu. J&K was created by Dogras by sweat and blood. They ruled it for over a century. If that is to be preserved and militancy ended, an out of the box alternative is worth considering. South Kashmir, as stated above, be 'Srinagar UT'. World known tourist centers Gulmarg & Pehalgam can be part of it with an International Airport already at Srinagar. And the rest of the J&K be 'State of Jammu and Kashmir'. Since the majority-minority hatred was born in Srinagar, its separation may restore secularism. And once it develops like Switzerland/Vancouver of Canada encompassing Hollywood & Bollywood film worlds and business hubs as envisioned by Modi, it will be a world class tourist centre. Srinagar UT can be developed and governed on the model of Chandigarh or Pondicherry. Advantages of such re-organisation:- (i) end of militancy since the perpetually disturbed areas will be detached from the rest of the State and the LoC from where the infiltration takes place, (ii) flux of global tourists will make it so prosperous and happy that the very idea of hatred, domination and militancy will vanish, (iii) meets demand of Pandits as separate and protected Homeland. (iv) number of legislators so reduced can be granted to 'proposed J&K' enabling more representation of Pahari people in the legislature. (v) Army Welfare Housing Colony for the serving and Sainik Colony for the ex-servicemen will enable those who served in the hell to live in paradise.
Under the circumstances, Jammu needs the focus lest it crumbles in the face of manipulative and coercive forces emerging from Kashmir and demographic invasion coming from its South. Jammu must stand to re-establish its identity within Jammu & Kashmir. 'Reorganisation as I see', with South Kashmir as 'Srinagar UT', may tilt the balance of political power and undo the indignities of past seven decades. While many are thinking on exclusive Jammu statehood, me too, the proposed alternative was also doing rounds in my mind, which I wish to share hoping that someone picks up a thread from it to stitch a new map of J&K by which pristine glory and pluralistic ethos of the past bring everlasting peace in Jammu & Kashmir. (I reiterate, even at the cost of contradiction, that ultimate solution to J&K imbroglio lies in its trifurcation, with Jammu as separate state).
(Views expressed are totally personal).
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