Article 370 gone: The master of secrets and how Doval carried out a classic operation
New Delhi, Aug 05: The Government today announced in Parliament that it was scrapping Article 370. It also said that Jammu and Kashmir would be a Union Territory with legislature, while Ladakh would be a UT without legislature.
Interestingly, like all other decisions taken by the Modi government, there was palpable tension, suspense and the government ensured that none got wind of what was coming.
It all began with the Centre moving an additional 10,000 troops to the Valley. This order by the Union Home Ministry fuelled plenty of speculations. A week later, the Union Government once again approved the deployment of 100 companies in Jammu and Kashmir, which gave room to further speculation.
Government sources were tight lipped and the official world was that they were only catering to the security situation in the Valley. All these developments came in the wake of the government saying that both the number of terrorists and their recruitment has gone down.
A war like situation was emerging and some even speculated that India would go to war. Other felt that India was set to take over Pakistan occupied Kashmir. All these developments were going on in the midst of the Amarnath Yatra.
However panic struck, when the government announced on Friday that the Yatra is being called off. When asked why the same was being done, the official response was that Pakistan was looking to hit the Yatris.
This move was followed with a directive to the Indian Army and Air Force to remain on a state of high operational alert. This was followed by the snapping of internet services on Sunday night. Further landlines had stopped functioning in several parts of Srinagar, to ensure that the information flow is blocked.
Further the government also put in place mobile magistrates, who were assisting the security forces with speedy arrests. Scores were arrested and housed in temporary jails. The final confirmation about something big about to happen came when Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah were placed under house arrest.
All through the social media and the media was abuzz with speculation on what could happen. A lot of focus was around a clean up in the Valley. Many even spoke about the abrogation of Article 35A. Few others spoke about the scrapping of Article 370.
Speculation was however highest around Article 35A.
What is important to note here is that the Valley remained silent and there were no incidents of violence all through this period. The two reasons for this was the high level of secrecy that was maintained and also the enhanced security in the Valley.
There were only a handful of people who were aware of what was going on. They included, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister, Amit Shah, National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval, Army Chief, General Bipin Rawat, Air Force Chief, B S Dhanoa and Intelligence Bureau chief, Arvind Kumar.
Sources say that this is a classic Doval like operation. He believes in tough policy and decisions. However, what he is also good at is stemming the information flow. He has a knack of ensuring that everyone keeps guessing, when he goes about his business.