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Jammu, Ladakh paying for follies of Kashmir
Time to write new policy
5/8/2018 11:17:40 PM
Early Times Report

JAMMU, May 8: Regional divide in J&K is complete. And yet Kashmir continues to rule the roost. There is hardly any leader in Kashmir who talks about aspirations of Jammu and Ladakh; they only talk about Kashmir and consider Jammu and Ladakh as the Kashmir's two colonies which house people who are considered as subjects, and not citizens. They talk about Kashmir; they talk about aspirations of the people of Kashmir, barring those who quit Kashmir in January 1990 to escape their physical liquidation at the hands of Azaadiwallas. They talk about Pakistan; they talk about Azaadi; they talk about self-rule; they talk about greater autonomy; and they also talk about what they call "middle-path" without explaining what this "middle-path" actually means. All these demands indicate only one thing: No to Indian Constitution and no to Indian laws.
All this despite the fact that Kashmir has been at the helm of affairs since 1947; all accords and agreements were signed between Kashmiri leadership and New Delhi over the heads of Jammu and Ladakh: Article 370, Article 35-A; the 1952 so-called Delhi Agreement, the 1975 Indira-Sheikh Abdullah Accord; the 1986 Rajiv-Farooq Accord, the 2002 Sonia Gndhi-Mufti Sayeed power-sharing formula and the March 2015 Narendra Modi-Mufti Sayeed power-sharing formula. Leave aside PV Narasimha Rao's Burkina Faso's "Sky is the limit" assurance. Jammu and Ladakh and the people they house never figured in the talks between New Delhi and Kashmiri leadership. The 2014 general elections gave a massive mandate to Narendra Modi of the BJP. He got 282 seats and ended the age-old coalition era.
He included in his ministry an MP from Jammu. Not just this, he brought him to his Prime Minister's Office.
It was hoped that "strong" Prime Minister Narendra Modi would discard the 66-year-old failed Kashmir policy as well as the politics of competitive secessionism and communalism and write a new policy based on the fact that Jammu and Ladakh never ever got their due share in the polity and economy and that Kashmir, which enjoyed unbridled legislative and executive powers for 66 long years, never ever tried to enter the national mainstream.
But he preferred the old policy. In other words, instead of "starting with a clean slate" and "writing a new policy in which emphasis should be on developing Jammu and Ladakh", he followed in the footsteps of his predecessors. The result is that Jammu and Ladakh continue to pay for the follies both of Kashmiri leadership and New Delhi.
The most uninspiring part of the whole situation is the utter failure of the J&K BJP, which won all the three Lok Sabha seats in Jammu and Ladakh, 25 out of 37 Assembly seats in Jammu and captured the Leh Autonomous Hill Development Council. It has almost raised its hands and given the whole mandate to the PDP whose pro-Kashmir credentials are too well-known and which have further widened the already rather wide gulf between Jammu province and Kashmir and between Kashmir and Ladakh.
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