The Centre’s Kashmir policy and a heavy
price to pay (The Hindu)
Mains Paper 2:Polity
Prelims level: Reorganisation Act of August 2019
Mains level: Centre’s role in Kashmir policy
While public attention is focused on COVID-19, Jammu and Kashmir suffers
twin lockdowns, rising violence and unilateral government actions, all at
the same time.
In the 12 months since the Narendra Modi administration returned to
office, their Kashmir policy has comprised measures that are perceivedas
disasters in the Valley.
It has garnered mixed reactions in Jammu and Ladakh, and are welcomed by
some in the rest of India.
A clear Bias:
The latest of these actions is the new domicilerules, notified on May
Based on the Home Ministry’s order of March 31, these rules seek to
replace the Jammu and Kashmir State subjects law, recognised under Article
35A of the Indian Constitution.
Article 35A entitled permanent residents of the State to free education
along with reservation of government jobs, and sole rights to land
The new domicile rules entitle anyone who has worked or lived in the
State for 15 years, or studied there for seven years, to receive a domicile
certificate and the benefits previously reserved for permanent residents.
Curiously, they also entitle Union government officials who have served
in the State for 10 years to domicile, along with their non-resident
List of the categories of those eligible: members of the Indian
Administrative Services, public sector units and banks, central universities
and ‘recognised research institutes of the Central government’.
The clear bias to favour not only Union government
They ignore the fact that the presidential orders and Reorganisation Act
of August 2019, including all actions that follow from them, are under
constitutional challenge in the Supreme Court.
A democratic government that upholds the rule of law would freeze
implementation until the court rules, but the Modi administration proceeded
to build facts on the ground with astonishing rapidity.
Within months of the August announcements, separate committees were set
up to divide Jammu and Kashmir’s assets between the two new Union
Territories. The State police was put under direct rule by the Union Home
The Upper House of the Assembly was abolished.
Land was requisitioned for sale to industry, national tourist
conglomerates were invited to take over what was a flourishing local
industry, and mining rights were sold to non-Kashmiri contractors.
All the former State’s statutory bodies were dissolved, including the
State Human Rights Commission. Power was concentrated in the hands of the
Lieutenant-Governor and his advisers, all but one of whom were from outside
the former State.
The Jammu and Kashmir Legislature remains dissolved, many of its
political leaders remain under detention and forbidden to speak, a ban
remains in force on all public gatherings and the media are intimidated.
Even so, protest against the new domicile rules has been voiced by all
political parties in Jammu and Kashmir, except the BJP.
Indications are that their protests will be ignored. BJP
General-Secretary calls the new domicile rules a done deal, implying that
the Modi administration will not review them.
Fall of the last bastion:
Most people in Jammu and Kashmir saw Article 35A and the State subject
law as the last remaining bastion of the State’s internal autonomy,
guaranteed under the instrument of accession signed by Maharaja Hari Singh.
Successive Union governments chipped away at the former State’s powers,
but none touched Article 35A or the State subject law.
Gradually the two grew to be inextricablytied to Kashmiri identity and,
With the fall of this last bastion, disaffection has exponentially
multiplied in Jammu and Kashmir. Armed encounters are on the rise and the
security situation is extremely fragile.
Blaming it on Pakistan is futile. Pakistan has always taken advantage of
disaffection in the Valley, indeed China is now doing so too.
As a result of the Modi administration’s Kashmir policy, India will have
to face mountingsecurity threats on its western front, and the people of
Jammu and Kashmir the systematic denial of their rights.
Are we really ready to pay this price for a mere ideological shibboleth?
Q1. With reference to the economic slowdown, consider the following
statements: 1. The International Monetary Fund used the phrase ‘Great Lockdown’ to
summarize how the world economy had been upended due to novel coronavirus.
2. Pandession, is a name suggested by economist David McWilliams to show the
deepest recession in global growth since the Great Depression due to Covid19
Which of the statements given above is/are correct? (a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2