Revocation of special status of J&K and bifurcation of the erstwhile state into two union territories seems to have completely unnerved Congress Party, the largest opposition party in the country. And this act of BJP is not done in the proper constitutional manner.
The partial abrogation of article 370
Dilution or partial abrogation of Article 370 by the BJP government is a case of using WRONG means to achieve RIGHT end. Technically the Supreme Court may or may not uphold the changes made in the Article 370 through the president’s order, claimed to be in consensus with the state. But construing consensus of the governor as the consensus of the state when it has no legislative assembly is morally out of cynic with the constitutional provisions. Thus, the procedure is certainly short-circuited. Procedures are important in democratic decision making, as clear understanding of intentions of various actors and unambiguous implications of the laws made are not always available. In such cases it is the procedure which keeps faith and gives legitimacy to democratic deliberations and decisions. BJP in partial abrogation of Article 370 has violated the procedure in spirit, even if it can be maintained technically.
Abrogation of article 370 should have been removed much earlier. Those who are worries about the special status and identity of Kashmiris seem to be completely oblivious to the non-availability of voting rights (to legislative assembly) of lakhs of people residing in J&K for decades. The champions of downtrodden are blind to the treatment of Ladakhi Buddhists and minorities in the Kashmir valley. The dominance of the valley, separatism and terror, all were helped by the article 370. Thus, its removal is in the national interest.
Indian National Congress in Lok Sabha
Adhir Ranjan Chaudhury of the Congress stated many times in the Lok Sabha that Kashmir is an international issue, article 370 is NOT an internal issue of India. Mrs. Sonia Gandhi was sitting right next to him when he said all this. She neither stopped him, not clarified Congress’ stand later. The party simply relied on vague news that Sonia Gandhi was angry with Chaudhury. Even Mr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi was vague when asked about Chaudhury’s stand in the Lok Sabha. He did not outrightly reject his stand and hid behind generalities as it might be his independent opinion, forgetting that Adhir Ranjan Chaudhury as speaking in the Lok Sabha on an important issue as a representative of his party.
Now Singhvi has discovered that article 370 and bifurcation of J&K is indeed an internal matter to India. But now he is saying that it is internationalised, while India has stated clearly and firmly at the UN that it is internal matter to India and no international busybodies will be allowed to tell us how we live our lives.
Chaudhury’s statements in the Lok Shabha and Singhvi’s claim, as spokes person of Congress Party, that Kashmir issue is now indeed internationalised, will be used against India by Pakistan and China.
In the Lok Sabha they gave additional ammunition to Pakistan and China to claim that abrogation of article 370 is not an internal matter to India. Now while Pakistan is clearly saying that the closed door UNSC meeting was only the first step and not the last, that they will keep the issue simmering; Congress is endorsing their stand that Kashmir now has become an international issue.
One wonders whether this is just mindless behaviour or their hatred of BJP and Modi has consumed them so much that they don’t mind harming national interest to attack them. Many a criticism of the BJP government by the Indian intellectuals and Congress Party do have substance and are legitimate. But they have not discovered the language to voice them in a manner that their statements focus on the BJP government and don’t harm the nation.
This is not the BJP boggy of antinational I am talking about. This is an issue of conceptual clarity and precise articulation I am concerned with. Critiquing the government in a manner and language that can be readily construed to be against the country’s general ethos and charater creates problems. Someone writing an article in a news paper analysing UNSC closed door meeting to come to the conclusion that the Kashmir issue is now de facto internationalised, right or wrong, is one thing. And part a necessary process of democratic deliberations in the country. But a responsible national spokes person of a national party claiming that the Kashmir issue is now internationalised is altogether a different issue. Both can be used for propaganda by those who want to tarnish India’s image internationally. But the journalist’s analysis is a necessary part of democratic decision making and can be explained as an individual’s opinion. The opinion of the largest opposition party in the country has a different status and is a much more responsible business. Congress is behaving irresponsibly with regard to this issue of national interest.
These days anything can be interpreted any which way. So would like to clarify that I am not calling and not implying that congress is antinational. I am only saying that they are confused and someone confused having high standing, which they do have in spite of substantially losing their base, can cause a lot of harm. That is what congress is doing these days.