News Desk |
On 5th August, 2019, the Modi-led government forced a revocation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution that had hitherto provided a special constitutional status to the occupied state of Jammu & Kashmir. The hour-long hastily conducted proceedings may trigger a much-dreaded chain of events leading to Kashmiris becoming a minority in their own land. Before the revocation all Kashmiri leaders (even those who have historically sided with New Delhi) were arrested in a massive crackdown across the disputed state.
Experts GVS has spoken with, think that this decision to scrape away the Article 370 is not only a direct violation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions and repudiation of Indian constitution but this revocation, and the way it has been done, clearly represents the historical agenda of RSS and Bharatiya Jana Sangh – the parent body of BJP.
Violation of UNSC Resolutions
Hassan Aslam Shad, international law law expert, had explained in an incisive piece, written before August 5th decision, that UNSC resolutions were passed to provide mediation for peace, a political settlement for the people of Jammu & Kashmir and clearly admonished both India and Pakistan from unilateral actions to change the situation.
Shad explains that the decision is a clear violation of UNSC Resolution No 38, 39, and 47, amongst others, which calls on both India and Pakistan to improve the situation and seek a democratic method of a “free and impartial plebiscite” to decide the faith of the occupied Himalayan valley.
Ajit Doval, ushered in the disastrous revocation of Article 370 that provided a special constitutional status to the occupied state of Jammu & Kashmir.
The UNSC Resolution No. 51, stressed upon the need to ensure that the future status of the State of Jammu & Kashmir is determined “in accordance with the will of the people” while the UNSC Resolution N. 91 directs India to ensure that the future of the occupied state is decided through a “democratic method”.
As we begin to examine the Indian Constitution itself, the purpose of Article 370 was to limit New Delhi’s legislative powers over J&K, allowing the state to establish its own constitution and legislature. It also noted that any extension of the Indian Constitution to J&K can only be done with the “concurrence of the Government of the State”.
Article 368 of the Indian Constitution, clearly defines that in order to make any amendments in Article 370 requires the concurrence of the state or ratification by the Constituent Assembly of the state. Explaining the dynamics of the constituent assembly, Dr. Moeed Pirzada, senior political analyst and commentator, noted, “The Constituent Assembly of J&K State was erected in 1965, and after drafting the constitution and completing its mandated role, it was dissolved. After that, no constituent assembly was formed.”
Modi, Amit Shah & Doval represent a dangerous psychopathology; abolishing Art. 370 & 35-A, in open violation of India’s own constitutional guarantees & Supreme Court decisions, exposes a fanatical mindset; Delhi will need unprecedented suppression in Kashmir for times to come.
— Moeed Pirzada (@MoeedNj) August 5, 2019
Dr. Pirzada added, “A Constituent Assembly is a far-cry, presently, not even a normal state assembly exists in J&K because assembly and Chief Minister were abolished, and Satya Pal Malik is directly ruling the state as Governor.”
Violation of International Laws
Dr. Pirzada noted that such an instrumental constitutional amendment, which is linked with the international laws and a crucial territorial dispute with Pakistan, was hastily ushered in the Indian Rajya Sabha within an hour without opening the floor for debate. Dr. Moeed observed, “There was a meeting that took place, Ajit Doval and Amit Shah went to the residence of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi early in the morning at 9am, and upon discussing the agenda, they arrived at the Rajya Sabha, and as if on gun-point, they defied the entire opposition and obtained the signatures of the President.”
It also noted that any extension of the Indian Constitution to J&K can only be done with the “concurrence of the Government of the State.
The draft noted that this “is issued by the concurrence of the state of Jammu & Kashmir”, however, Dr. Pirzada highlights that no government exists in the occupied valley, and the Governor, Satya Pal Malik, is a representative of the Modi-led Hindutva government.
The notion of concurrence is only valid if the state of Jammu & Kashmir has its own government, legislative assembly and an elected Chief Minister who can concur to such developments and amendments. Dr. Pirzada noted, “Whatever act they have passed, is a legal trickery and a clear violation of the provisions and the articles of the Indian Constitution, and the Supreme Court of India has stated that the Article 370 is an inviolable part of the Indian Constitution.
In his insightful and lengthy treatise on the Article 370, renowned law expert A.G. Noorani had noted, that without the Article 370, there is “no legal constitutional relationship” between India and the state of Jammu & Kashmir.
Speaking to the Huffington Post in an exclusive interview on Monday, Noorani noted that the decision to scrape away Article 370 is “utterly and palpably unconstitutional”. Noorani continued, “An unconstitutional deed has been accomplished by deceitful means.”
Dr. Pirzada noted that such an instrumental constitutional amendment, which is linked with the international laws and a crucial territorial dispute with Pakistan.
A.G. Noorani noted that the BJP-led government has also undermined the “non-political character” of the Indian army by enlisting its help in spreading false propaganda of inputs from Pakistan. He noted, “Thing is that I had always predicted that they are out to fulfill their Saffron agenda: Uniform Civil Code, Ayodhya and Abrogation of Article 370. It remains to be seen how they accomplish the Ayodhya agenda.”
Responding to a question on the Supreme Court’s decision, Noorani noted that the SC must “strike it down as void. Of course, it is palpably void.” Dr. Moeed Pirzada highlighted a pressing concern for Pakistan and the international community, “As per international laws, if a territory is disputed, the country does not have the liberty to make decisions based on adjustments of domestic laws.”
Dr. Pirzada further added, “The UNSC resolutions clearly dictate that no structural changes can be ushered in the occupied state, which is primarily why the Congress avoided making any constitutional alterations for the past 70 years and focused on maintaining the existing structure.”
History Marred with Brute Force
Jan Achakzai, renowned Geo-strategist and political commentator, noted that the state of Jammu & Kashmir should have been integrated into Pakistan under the “partition formula” based on the majority population of Hindus and Muslims.
A.G. Noorani noted that the BJP-led government has also undermined the “non-political character” of the Indian army by enlisting its help in spreading false propaganda of inputs from Pakistan.
However, the decision of Maharaja of Kashmir was implemented with brute force, even though the majority population did not agree. The majority population of Hyderabad and Junagar had prevailed to have accession with Delhi, despite having Muslim rulers who were inclined towards Pakistan.
Jan Achakzai explained, “The same logic should have been applied to Jammu and Kashmir, but India cheated. After Maharaja’s duplicitous accession, U.N. resolutions formed the basis of Pakistan’s narrative saying there should be a plebiscite to decide the fate of Kashmir which never happened till date, yet the resolutions are lying in the cold storage due to compulsions of realpolitik.”
Achakzai noted that Article 370 was a temporary instrument to grant autonomy, unless the issue was permanently resolved. He noted, “After removing article 370, the status of J&K is reverted to August 1947. From now on, the temporary arrangement between J&K and Delhi as guaranteed in Indian Constitution (saying an amendment and the approval of constituent Assembly in J&K as only modus operandi to technically remove the instrument) is over, so India is now an occupying force for all practical purposes and stands exposed as a largest democracy of the world.”
Achakzai noted that as a party to the dispute, and obligated to uphold the UN Resolutions and the Shimla Agreement, Pakistan never attempted to modify the constitutional status of its administered areas, Azad Jammu & Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan.
RSS & Hindutva Game Plan
Dr. Mooed Pirzada explained that this decision has been ushered in the intoxication of power, and the BJP-led government enjoys intense “religious support” across India, but the Kashmiris are expected to react very strongly, which has compelled New Delhi to rapidly militarize the region with heavy army contingents.
The decision of Maharaja of Kashmir was implemented with brute force, even though the majority population did not agree.
The political analyst explains that since its inception, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has coined the dream of a Hindu-dominated Mother India. Dr. Pirzada noted that BJP has finally realized the dream of Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, who founded Bharatiya Jana Sangh that later became the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 1980.
Mukherjee rose to fame for the slogan, “Ek desh mein do vidhan nahi challenge” (There cannot be two constitutions in one country). Dr. Pirzada explained that the ideological basis of the BJP was fueled by the agendas of eliminating special status, which can trigger the fear of fascist treatment for other states that enjoy constitutional liberations across India.
Explaining the agendas of the Modi-led government, Jan Achakzai noted, “The decision to remove 370 was motivated by three main considerations. First, Modi government has a core Hindutva Ideology envisaging India a Hindu communal state turning other minorities into a second class citizens particularly Muslims.”
He continued, “The removal of Article 35-A will allow purchase of land in IOKashmir so we will have a change in demographics probably in the next two decades, making IOKashmir a Hindu majority state (unlike almost a dozen Indian states where kind of article 35A is enforced even today by virtue of which no outsider can purchase land).”
“Second, it is to offset loss in Afghanistan to Pakistan—Islamabad is putting a limit to proxy influence of Delhi in Kabul after almost 18 years. And third, it is a direct snub to President Trump that Delhi can do what it likes even modifying the status of J&K, which no government could dare attempt in last 70 years.”
Dr. Pirzada explained that the ideological basis of the BJP was fueled by the agendas of eliminating special status.
Underscoring the consequences of the Modi-Doval strategy in occupied-Kashmir, Jan Achakzai noted, “After losing pro Delhi politicians in J&K, India risks further alienation of the young generation of Kashmiris leading to radicalization and militancy at a scale never seen before in the region; (after all if there was a military solution almost million Indian troops in IOKashmir would have achieved, hence no militarization will ensure peace and stability).”
The Baloch analyst and insurgency expert also observed that now, Indian-Occupied Kashmir will provide a suitable breeding ground for mercenaries and militancy. Achakzai explained, “IOKashmir will likely become a magnet for Al- Qaeda and ISIS as it will be a breeding ground for the mercenaries who have lost space in Syria and Iraq and now after the Taliban in Afghanistan, face a squeeze there, turning towards IOKashmir—the terrain supports all types of militancy. All these factors will only harm the stability of the region with global implications.”
Red-Line for Pakistan
Jan Achakzai noted that modifying the constitutional status of J&K is a “red line” for Pakistan, and it has grave implications for the region. The Baloch political analyst explained, “Apart from realpolitik, power differential between Pakistan and India, and Delhi being a client state of the powerful countries, Islamabad cannot sit idle when Delhi seeks to alter realities of J&K: 370, 35A, further militarization and eventual change in demographics.
Besides, Pakistan’s lifeline of agriculture (i.e. water) comes through Kashmir making it its core interest. It will weigh all options.” Jan Achakzai noted that any conflagration will likely bring South Asia on the brink of disaster as no deterrence operates if it loses fear of being used.
Al- Qaeda and ISIS as it will be a breeding ground for the mercenaries who have lost space in Syria and Iraq and now after the Taliban in Afghanistan.
He continued, “Modi-Doval extremist doctrine of Hindutva also squeezes Pakistan within— on both borders jeopardizing its internal stability and CPEC. Any probability of strike with Pakistan (if it were cornered) the region will be at grave risk of a major conflagration and with both nuclear powers, we risk the lives of a billion plus people, (God forbid) if there were a nuclear exchange.”
Achakzai noted that the lack of a middle ground leaves Pakistan with hard choices in the medium terms. He commented, “The Pakistan Army vowed to support Kashmiris and will stand by the government on whatever course it decides.” The Army Chief stated, “We will go to all extent”, and Jan Achakzai explains that this indicates Pakistan Army’s willingness to go to all extents in all forms, which sends out a “stern message” to the aggressors.
Washington in Cahoots?
Examining the role of Washington, Achakzai noted, “US cannot be a bystander. It has always played a role to calm things in South Asia. From Kargil to other issues, backdoor diplomacy and pressure of Washington brought back South Asia from the brink.” Achakzai, with close ties in diplomatic circles, noted that there are already reports in Indian media suggesting the US was taken on board a week ago.
It was the occasion when Indian Foreign Minister J Shankar met the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Bangkok. Achakzai observed, “We knew it: India cannot cross redline without the US knowledge, complicity, or nod depending on scope of info shared with Washington DC. If true it will send wrong message to Pakistan.
After all, India’s one aim was to snub President Trump when he offered mediation on Kashmir.” The Baloch analyst continued, “The meek response of State Department was also a reflection of the fact that Washington was not surprised and that it was OK with additional force and undoing of Article 370. “