When Dr Jitender Singh, the BJP MP from Udhampur constituency returned to a warm welcome to Jammu few days ago, he was unrepentant on his earlier remarks regarding the abrogation of Article 370. The legal niceties apart, Article 370 is already a husk devoid of any real substance and only a ghost supposed to protect the so-called identity of Kashmiri people (read Muslims). But for Dr. Singh and his cohorts who very clearly won on communal mandate, the Article symbolises a gap between India and Kashmir, a wall behind which the Muslim Kashmir has remained un-integrated and always in the grip of anti-India insurgency and hence has to go, as one BJP leader recently said, “lock, stock and barrel.” Thus the BJP agenda in Jammu and Kashmir seems unalterable, because they cannot afford to go against their own roots and ideology.
The Sangh Sarkar led by Narendra Modi has enough time to implement and think on its agenda in the mainland though the real Hindutva plans have already unfolded with cleaning of the Ganges (not from environmental point of view which otherwise is need of the hour but according to the religious fervor). The developmental agenda is too large to mask the real Sangh communal agenda. So the Indian Muslims and other minorities may taste communal thunder in piece meals or it may happen the sharp edges of communalism may get blunt to an acceptable level, but Jammu and Kashmir Muslims are in the eye of communal storm. To be fair this is not the creation of present Modi government but the efforts of decades by institutions of power like media and the popular culture of India in which the Sangh ideology has been the major ingredient. Thus the die is cast for the people of Jammu and Kashmir in which all anti-Muslim initiatives have the backing and legitimacy of state and culture. In this atmosphere only Hindus are seen as “victims” and fit for all bounties of the State welfare whereas the majority Muslims reeling under the Sate occupational violence have been fully caste into “The Other”.
Now have a dispassionate look at the major steps the Sangh Sarkar is going to take with respect to Jammu and Kashmir, and one shall immediately come to know that all of them are concerned with Hindu welfare with the strong anti- Muslim impact.
The Sangh government has demanded a debate on the importance and need of the Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. Such an invitation is flawed and one sided at the outset because there is no equity between a state as party to the abolition and a party or individual advocating its presentation because the debate destroys the vital basic idea of Article 370 as the historical and constitutional link between the sate and the union of India. The advocates of abolition know its anti-Muslim effect and want to do it by the power of the state.
Another issue of rehabilitation of Hindu refugees from erstwhile West Pakistan in J&K is fraught with consequences. The Sangh believes that Bharat as Hindu Rashtra is open to citizenship for all Hindus living anywhere like Jewish State of Israel which is open to all Jews as homeland. Thus, going by this logic the few lakh Hindu refuges can be rehabilitated anywhere in India, say Gujarat, Maharashtra etc. In the context of the state of Jammu and Kashmir it would be a serious step to dilute significantly the Muslim majority character of the state. Though Muslims are already disempowered and disposed, the dilution of Muslim character shall be construed as the last coffin, to use the phrase, in the overall political and civilization.
Another major step is the rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits. There is absolutely no disagreement by anyone on the rehabilitations of the Brahmins of Kashmir. But the plank and ideology is problematic which has a strong anti-Muslim animus. First, the issue is treated as “ground zero” for Pandits. By ground zero I mean it is to be started from zero point. The facts is that Pandits have been the major beneficiaries of state welfare quite disproportionate to the steps ever taken for any other community, including Hindus, in the history of India. The problem is that they have been strongly projected as the victims of Muslims and all lies and garbage stories have been added to create that atmosphere of victimhood. On the other hand the horrifying tragedies of Muslims find no mention and no attention in the welfare policy of the state. The slogan “Sab ke Sath, Sab ka vikas” (with all, and development for all) seems clearly floundering with respect to the legitimate issue of the Muslims of the state.
Another issue is demand for union territory status for Ladakh. Apart from the usual illogical arguments advanced by the BJP- Buddhists groups, the point again is that 1.25 lakh Buddhists want total freedom from Muslim Kashmir. Major political and administration steps have already been taken by instituting two Hill Councils for Leh and Kargil. The Legislative Council has already passed a resolution this year for creating separate Ladakh province.
Thus all these and other issues like politicization of Amaranth Yatra indicate that the first major target of Sangh Sarkar is the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Such steps have already acquired legitimacy under various garbs of national interest and national security. There is bleak chance of so-called pro-India Kashmiri parties resisting the Sangh Sarkar.