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Article 370, what should be the government's approach to it?

There is quite a noise over the approach of central government on the issue of article 370. This sounds to be very obvious when the article has to deal with the only muslim majority state and the government is considered to be a hindu right wing party. The newly elected government is in its first month and it has already surged up controversies. The issue of abrogation of article 370 has created a distress in the valley and as well as n the political scenario. Amidst all these, the controversial statements by the newly appointed ministers have launched a series of confrontations between veteran leaders. Not only this, but the issue of article 370 has questioned the governments motives and timing of controversy.

Article 370 starts with stating that it is a temporary provision which is introduced to preserve the idea of integrating J&K like other states of the union but this could happen only when the people of the state accept it. It was introduced because in 1940's Kashmir, unlike other princely states was in a condition of abnormality as tribes from Pakistan raided and captured a part of it. Article 370 being an outcome of an undesirable scenario envisages empowerment and security to the people of the state. The significance of this article is that Kashmir being the only muslim majority state refused to merge with Pakistan. With the judgement of 2002, the problem of gender bias was also abdicated making it even for both the genders.

However the article 370 cannot be bluntly supported. A deeper and more pragmatic look explains an altogether different approach. Special status is given to various other states but Kashmir enjoys more autonomy than any other state and people are made to believe by separatists that people of the state are not integral part of India. Moreover J&K belongs not only to kashmiris but also Shias and Buddhists of ladakh.

Article 370 as applied is not the same today. 5 decades have eroded the essence of the provisions of article 370. Presidential orders have made most of the rules of the union applicable to the state. Even the historical judgement of 2002 about right to property of the women marrying non permanent resident of Kashmir is not well implemented and still remains a debatable issue. Today practically all the jurisdiction is applied onto the state. The article 370 in present era is just a trail of what was implied by the drafting committee. This somewhere marks the significance of the fact that may be the discontentment and fallacy of article 370 is due to its policy adulteration. The improper channel between the state and the union is also pushing the beliefs of the separatists in the valley.

Issue of abrogation of article 370 unilaterally is possible but involvement of UN has made it an international issue and enemies would not just bare a chance to create a social turmoil in the country. J&K being the only muslin majority state, the repeal of article 370 can be given the face of communalism and can be another blot over the Modi led government after 2002. Government should call for an open live debate through proper channels and make the country aware of its motives. Re-establishing article 370 with provision that would do well to both the nation and state might be the most fool proof strategy to avoid any chaos. The government thus has to not only maintain the pluralistic culture of the country rather it has to make sure that none of its decision proves to be an abuse to the history. The approach must be anti confronting and cooperation friendly to keep the beauty of the valley intact. Even the government will not make decision in haste and maintain the slogan of JHUMURIYAT, KASHMIRIYAT and INSANIYAT.

-Ashish Anand

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