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Rajat Sharma’s Blog: Article 370 is abolished, it should now be buried in the pages of history

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Rajat Sharma, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of India TV.

The Supreme Court gave a historic verdict on Monday. The Constitution Bench of the court unanimously ruled that the Central Government’s decision to remove Article 370 of the Constitution to end the special status of Jammu and Kashmir was valid, correct and legal. Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud along with Justice B. R. While the judgment of Justice Gavai and Justice Surya Kant was read out, two other judges of the Constitution Bench, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Sanjeev Khanna, pronounced their judgments separately. But all five judges agreed that Article 370 of the Constitution was temporary. After the merger of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir with India in 1947, giving special status to Jammu and Kashmir was a temporary arrangement because at that time there was a war-like situation and the President of India had full right to do so under this article of the Constitution. Can be finished later. The Supreme Court also upheld the decision to separate Ladakh from Jammu and Kashmir and make it a Union Territory. In its decision, the Supreme Court said that the government has assured that it will restore the statehood of Jammu and Kashmir as soon as possible. In its order, the Supreme Court directed the Election Commission to conduct assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir before September 30 next year. 23 petitions were filed against the decision to abolish Article 370. The Constitution Bench had heard this matter continuously for 16 days. Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul has also suggested forming a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate the violence that has taken place in Jammu and Kashmir since the eighties.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the Supreme Court’s decision as historic. Modi wrote on social media that this decision of the Supreme Court is a declaration of hopes, progress and unity of our brothers and sisters of Jammu and Kashmir. The Supreme Court has strengthened the basic feeling of unity with its decision, this feeling of unity is considered very valuable and paramount by all of us in India. “This is not just a decision of the court, but it is a torch of hope, a promise of a bright future and a manifesto of our collective resolve to build a strong and unified India.” Putting its seal of approval on the decision taken by Parliament on 5 August 2019, the Supreme Court said that as Indians we are all one. Modi wrote that he wants to assure the people of Jammu-Kashmir and Ladakh that his government will fulfill the dreams of progress and prosperity of both the regions. The Prime Minister explained in detail in his tweet how fast progress is being made in Jammu and Kashmir after the abolition of Article 370 and how much terrorist incidents and infiltration from across the border have reduced. Many leaders including Home Minister Amit Shah, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision. Congress spokespersons Abhishek Manu Singhvi and P. Chidambaram said, “Prima facie, we respectfully disagree with the court’s decision on the manner in which Article 370 was abolished. We wish to reiterate the resolution of the Congress Working Committee which states that Article 370 should be respected unless it is amended under the Constitution of India. We welcome the court’s decision to restore full statehood in Jammu and Kashmir and demand that assembly elections be held there soon.”

After the decision, people of Dogra community distributed sweets in Jammu, Shiv Sena, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal said that the court has proved through its decision that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India. The atmosphere remained calm in Kashmir valley. There was no protest or uproar. However, there was a sharp reaction politically. National Conference President Omar Abdullah expressed unhappiness over the decision and said that the party will now fight a long battle for the restoration of Article 370. PDP president Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah alleged that they were kept under house arrest but Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha termed these allegations as baseless. Former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said that no one in Jammu and Kashmir liked this decision of the country’s biggest court, it will cause great loss to the people of the state, their livelihood will be snatched away. Former Maharaja Karan Singh of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir said that it is not right to protest just for the sake of protesting, the people of Jammu and Kashmir should accept the truth that their special status has ended forever. Now Article 370 is not going to come back, the people of Jammu and Kashmir should now prepare for political battle and when elections are held, fight the elections boldly. Leaders like Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah are still arguing that Article 370 is a link to the agreement between India and Kashmir, on this condition Kashmir came together. But how meaningless this argument is can be understood from the fact that when the Instrument of Accession was signed in October 1947, there was neither Article 370 nor any mention of it. No one had even talked about it. It came into existence in 1950 when the Constitution was made.

When the Constituent Assembly also passed it, it was promised that Article 370 is temporary, so how can it be conditional? The Supreme Court has approved all these things. These leaders should have seen whether Article 370 was benefiting or harming Kashmir. They should have seen that due to Article 370, neither capital investment took place in Kashmir, nor industries were set up, nor private hospitals were built, nor private schools were opened. Opportunities for all of these have increased in the last four years. In a state that survives on tourism, hotel chains have shown interest and youth have started seeing employment opportunities. After the decision of the Supreme Court, all these things were felt once again. Those who used to say that if Article 370 is removed, rivers of blood will flow, are seeing that the frustration of the youth in Kashmir has reduced. Now Pakistan does not get youth for terrorism in Kashmir. Those who used to say that after the removal of Article 370, no one will be found to hoist the tricolor flag in Kashmir, they are seeing that this time on Independence Day, the tricolor waved proudly all over Kashmir, hoisted in every house. It is true that those supporting Article 370 were expecting from the Supreme Court. The court listened to all these things with complete calmness. Now this controversy should end forever. Article 370 should now be buried in the pages of history. Kashmir should get full statehood soon, elections should be held there, and the elected government should work for the happiness and prosperity of the people of Kashmir. The old leaders in Kashmir should learn to move with the new times and realize that India has changed. (Rajat Sharma)

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