The Indian government’s decision to abolish a special status for India-administered Kashmir has been widely criticized and opposed, as tensions prevail over the constitutional autonomy of the disputed region.
Notably, Monday’s announcement sparked chaotic scenes in parliament, with opposition politicians condemning the presidential decree revoking Article 370 of the constitution that gives the state of Jammu and Kashmir a substantial degree of autonomy.
The government led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also moved a bill proposing the Jammu and Kashmir state be divided into two “union territories” directly ruled by New Delhi. However, the main opposition Congress party described the decision as a “catastrophic step”.
Important to note, article 370 of the constitution forbid Indians outside the state from permanently settling, buying land, holding local government jobs and securing education scholarships.
The decree, which was issued hours after imposing a major security clampdown in the disputed region, said the measure came into force “at once”.
What is Article 370?
Regional parties in Jammu and Kashmir had earlier called attempts to revoke Article 370 an aggression against the 7 million people living in the disputed region. The law dates to 1927, when an order by the administration of the-then princely state of Jammu and Kashmir gave the state’s subjects exclusive hereditary rights.
Article 35A of India’s constitution permitted the local legislature in Kashmir to define permanent residents of the region. The article came into being in 1954 by a presidential order under the constitution’s Article 370.
Total betrayal of trust’
Political leaders in India-administered Kashmir, including former chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah who have been placed under house arrest, also criticized the decision.
“The Indian government’s unilateral and shocking decisions today are a total betrayal of trust that the people of Jammu and Kashmir had reposed in India when the state acceded to it in 1947,” Abdullah said in a statement.
“Unilateral decision of GOI [government of India] to scrap Article 370 is illegal and unconstitutional which will make India an occupational force in J&K [Jammu and Kashmir],” she posted.
I’m hoping the Supreme Court of India would play an independent role in this, and deem the revocation of Article 370 unconstitutional. Other than this, I’m shocked at the blatant disregard for peace by the Indian people and the leadership.
1. India has done what it had to.
2. The US and even China can’t antagonize relations with India. It is a huge market.
3. No country will interfere.
On the other hand:
1. IMF and FATF pressure to disband all resistant organizations in Kashmir based in Pakistan. That is done. Even if Pakistan wanted, which it shouldn’t, it couldn’t revive the resistance movement. Even all indeginious resistance there will be against Pakistan.
2. Only thing left is diplomacy.
1. War will cripple Pakistan. Nuclear deterrent won’t allow a war either. Neither will the international community. Nor does Pakistan’s economic position allow it.
1. Modi needs distractions. Economy is bad, and appealing to his base.
2. There will be great repression in Indian held Kashmir.
1. Kashmir split into two unions. With only one having a legislative assembly.
2. People will not have Chief Ministers but a Modi Government appointed Governor.
3. Anyone can go settle and live in Kashmir which will change its demographic make up.
4. Kashmiri’s identities and right to self determination, taken away.
1. This will increase extremism, jihad, fighting and terrorism directly in Kashmir and the sub-continent in large.
No one will listen. We may go all over the world, but we have lost. No one will listen to us. Had we competed and positioned ourselves as a global economic power and not beggars that we have become today – we may have put up a much stronger diplomatic fight.
India will probably go for the West Bank Israel model, changing the demographic makeup of Kashmir… stealing their land and identity.
This move enjoys a lot of support from within India. And military action for the only other party – Pakistan – is not a feasible option, and I don’t see an intervention by the global powers. As far as the law is concerned, the action goes contrary to the UNSC, but the Supreme Court constitutional ruling is still not here.
Furthermore, if the territory is annexed, it might open the use of force by the Indian forces in Kashmir to judicial review. It might also make Pakistan’s unilateral claim over Gilgit Baltistan stronger.
Will the Protests work?
It seems that the government is trying to do that. But of course it would take time. It’s easier to organize people within a single country against a common cause where they might take concrete action, another to bring the international community on the same understanding and then expect support from them. Condemnation is one thing, but it is doubtful that it would have any real impact on the Indian govt. It should come from within India.
UN asked both Pakistan and India to show restraint, which is absurd to say the least. Other than that the silence from the powers speaks volumes. Moreover, the government has tried reaching out to the countries, e.g. Malaysia, and I’m assuming other Muslim countries, but it is uncertain that there would be any concrete efforts.
But at least there should be public shaming and it does give license to Pakistan to renege on other deals. This should have been done on a priority basis since India started increasing the deployment of troops. Pakistan had insisted on the recognition of the self determination right of Kashmiris, and some of our leaders had said Kashmir should be an independent state, which shows are lack of enthusiasm in engaging a full fledged war to control the territory if the need arose. I’m assuming this made India bold.