RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has called for “necessary constitutional amendments\" for the people of Jammu and Kashmir to be \"completely assimilated\" with the rest of the country. These remarks cannot be taken as a mere customary reflection given the fact that the ruling BJP is a constituent of Sangh Pariwar. The remarks of the RSS chief, therefore, constitute a mandatory policy direction for Narendra M
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has called for “necessary constitutional amendments" for the people of Jammu and Kashmir to be "completely assimilated" with the rest of the country. These remarks cannot be taken as a mere customary reflection given the fact that the ruling BJP is a constituent of Sangh Pariwar. The remarks of the RSS chief, therefore, constitute a mandatory policy direction for Narendra Modi government.
On the face of it and especially for those who do not have a knowledge of the historical circumstances in which the Kashmir acceded to India, such comments may sound quite nationalistic. But, the cure cannot be worse than the disease. The RSS chief is clearly suggesting amendments to the Constitution of India to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution that accords special status to this sensitive border state.
Braving an adverse international climate and defeating the sinister machinations of Pakistan, the people of Kashmir chose to find their destiny in India. This was possible as India and its Constitution promised the people of Kashmir special autonomous status.
But, successive central governments have significantly eroded this autonomy and disrupted the political process in the state for parochial partisan reasons.
Erosion of this autonomy sowed the seeds of discontent and alienation in the people of the Kashmir valley, resulting in the rise of insurgency. The land that saw no bloodshed on the eve of bloody partition, today, witnesses unprecedented violence due to this insurgency.
The forces hostile to India, especially from across the border, exploited this sense of alienation among the ordinary Kashmiri people to their advantage.
The insurgency in the valley and the cross-border terrorism promoted by Pakistan have destroyed the composite Kashmiri identity proudly described as Kashmiriyat. The Kashmiri pundits became refugees in their homeland.
Instead of genuinely addressing the reasons for this alienation, the Government of India has let loose a reign of repression to curb the militancy. This led to further estrangement of Kashmiri people thus ultimately benefiting the forces inimical to India. The spiral of violence and military action has only made Kashmir a tinderbox.
The rise of BJP that is known for its ideological aversion to the Article 370, to power both at the state and the Centre, only strengthened the apprehensions of Kashmir people that the special status may be further abandoned.
The vicious circle can only be broken by initiating a comprehensive process of dialogue with all those concerned to accord maximum autonomy to the state of Jammu and Kashmir within the contours of Indian Constitution and the sovereignty of the country.
Such a bold initiative can only save the Kashmir. Instead, the prescription of the RSS would only benefit the militants and their masters across the border to further rally innocent Kashmiri people which will be detrimental to the interests of India.
Said the Prime Minister in his Independence Day speech, “Neither by bullet: nor by abuses but by embracing we can solve the problem of Kashmir.” But, the RSS prescription, if implemented, would only further estrange Kashmiris.