Is it legitimate to give J&K the status of a special state?

Posted on April 23, 2010 in Politics

Mohnish Bagree:

We are driven by five genetic needs: survival, love and belonging, power, freedom, and fun. And the only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.”

There are 27 states in India and also there is Jammu and Kashmir. A state with so many tags attached to it ranging from ‘land of militancy’, controversial state and ofcourse, a special state. The image projected so far by every mode of communication spills the beans Kashmir is the most pampered state of India and by India and invariably the most privileged. Kashmir is the only state in India which enjoys special autonomy under Article 370 of the Constitution of India according to which, no law enacted by the Parliament of India, except for those in the field of defence, communication and foreign policy, will be extendable in Jammu and Kashmir unless it is ratified by the state legislature of Jammu and Kashmir. Subsequently, jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of India over Jammu and Kashmir has been extended. Jammu and Kashmir is also the only Indian state that has its own flag and constitution, and Indians from other states cannot purchase land or property in the state.

Sometimes, it seems too obvious to call Kashmir a much pampered state, always in demand by father-son democracies, India and Pakistan respectively, and still hit in the news for almost all mishaps. Or is it just India’s poor governance that never let the agitation settle down in the region? Also the question why Jammu compared to Kashmir is quieter and safer? One reason generic in sense for calling Jammu a better place than Kashmir is that there are lot of Punjabi’s settled there who don’t allow local hooligans to muddle routine with rare rowdiness. Also most of the people in Jammu are employed (self-employed to be precise) and keep themselves busy for any transgression. But then what made Kashmir so disposed to petty larceny? Many of us were taken aback when Kashmiris burnt the Indian flag on 15th Aug in 2008 while hoisting the Pakistani flag a day before in Srinagar. Should that be taken as a clear indication of their edginess to set themselves free from India and merge with Pakistan or is it a camouflaged act bamboozling both the countries thereby establishing as an autonomous state? The BSF, the military and the para-military forces are constantly vigilant in the region, preventing militancy. Each day there is news of martyrdom of some defence person fighting intruders or slewed with stones by some protestors. Do incidents like these in other states make such headlines? Everyday, there is a case of rape or physical harassment in some part of the country but why is Kashmir’s episode always a hit? Are people in other states not as valuable as Kashmiri’s? One of my college mates is from Kashmir and his anti-Indian dialogues can instigate any fanatic chauvinist to eradicate such minds. He shares that the impertinence of military men in the region towards women is very much overdosed and they find it amusing to handpick females and commit horrendous crimes. To some extent it is true, but it is also true that things like these are always presented with exaggeration. And why must always the defence men be blamed when the government itself is equally lazy in arriving at a quick and true decisions for cases like these; the Shopian case is still a smoking example.

Too much relaxation in the prices of routine items and no intervention in the local businesses from any other state leave the state to enjoy the luxury of utilizing the resources thoughtlessly; Kashmir is undoubtedly the ‘entry-restricted’ paradise of India. And as a result, the frequent protests against the Indian government, proneness to militancy, the constant attention from security forces and, yet, the unsatisfied people have always tickled minds to envy the state for all the reasons. What if J&K too is made a normal state just like Pakistan has kept the PoK? The step will only help the existing situation to improve. Hyderabad too has Muslim population but it is hardly upset because of communalism and it is India’s one of the most developed states. Permitting people from other states to start businesses there will generate employment for the locals which as of now is a threatning problem in the region especially in Kashmir. Also the interaction with the rest of India may adjust the thinking of the local people.

The issue of Kashmir for Pakistan will never die out and she will never accept it as a part of India. India has already been doing much to win the hearts of Kashmir people and in the process has lost many of its soldiers. A lot of luxury has been enjoyed and now it’s time to realize that too much pampering always spoils a child. Make Kashmir a normal state and let people learn from people and not by the administration. Sometimes it is required to give a second thought if Punishment is the last and the least effective instrument in the hands of the legislator for the prevention of crimes.