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Scrapping Article 370 and the road ahead in J&K, in the words of a Kashmiri Pandit

By Arvind Dhar

Jammu, 08 August: 5th of August will be the day long to be cherished as a day which made and changed the course of History in modern India. It came as a shock and disbelief to nearly all when the Home Minister thundered that 370 has to go and then the Jammu and Kashmir re organisation bill....with the silver line of the creation of two union territories namely Ladakh and J&K.

Many years back during the famous Indira-Shiekh accord, when Pt. D P Dhar was asked about 1953 status for J&K, he smartly replied "Clocks never turn back".

Scrapping Article 370 and the road ahead in J&K, in the words of a Kashmir Pandit

The term which he might have used unwittingly could be the guiding principle for way forward in solving the problem of the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

What is Article 370: An explainer

Prime Minister, undoubtedly the smartest politician and statesman in the present political sphere of the Indian subcontinent, had given a very long rope to the so called leaders of J&K and even went out to forge an alliance, for which he and his party had to face ire and taunts of their hardcore traditional supporters. He still did it , just to make sure that not one chance of reconciliation and engagement with the people of Kashmir is left out. I am using Kashmir and not J&K, because the province of Jammu had been for full integration since 1947 and so was whats now UT of Ladakh.

The prime Minister to the utmost dismay of many supported the PDP goverment's various controversial decisions just to see if the valley gets satisfied and returns to normalcy.

Nothing worked and the history of past 72 years got repeated again and again and limped back to presidents rule.

As of now the State of Jammu and Kashmir ceases to exist and we have two union territories namely J&K and Ladakh. What should be the way forward for both in the Indian union so that both can have a lasting peace and development is a riddle for which all Indians are looking for an answer.

Jammu and Kashmir , even now is a complex Union territory with different ethnicity and subcultures living together.. It is the duty of the Government of india to see that sensibilities of all are taken care off for the peaceful future certain pointers may be looked into for the same by the government as listed below.

Government of india should make sure that the land and local resources are not left out for plunder in guise of development, the union Govt should strictly apply the rules as in place in the sates of Uttarakhand Himachal etc. The state subject may be defunct with the abrogation of 370 but the Govt should replace the same with domicile law as applicable in states mentioned.

This will ensure that the local population feels secured and with passage of time the integration will be complete.

The same domicile law should be used in jobs so as the people of state can have the same set of rules which are applicable to nearly all the states of India as far as Govt jobs and Doles are concerned.

The UT should under ACB book all the accused in corruption cases and the entire state machinery should overhauled and the corrupt or perceived to be corrupt be weeded out. The people should see some change. In past also the clean administration in 1986 provided by then governor is still remembered as the cleanest and corruption free administration.

The Local laws which were guided by various acts of Ranbir penal code should be put into place again, for example the protection of Chinar tree, a law which was put in place by HRH Sri Maharaja Ranbir sSingh Bahadur way back in 1870 so as to save the Chinar tree. With the abrogation of article 370 the protection to Chinar tree is also gone. Similar is with the case of Cow and Bovines, the law prohibiting the killings of the cows and Bovines has gone defunct.

Explained: What is a Union Territory

A law commission should look into the same and make sure that the laws under Ranbir Penal Code which were for the betterment of the erstwhile unified state are reinstated within the framework of the Indian law, as applicable to the rest of the country.

Now as the present J&K is a Union territory the Union should work out a law for the protection of the KP shrines and institutions, whatever small portion is left as of now, which will help their restoration and safety. Here it will be very important to say that the state Awqaf which had the protection and legality under RPC as well as state laws has also been vanquished. To gain the needed confidence of the people of Kashmir a wider state Awqaf act could be re proclaimed as was existing in the erstwhile state.

The ethnic tribes like the Gujjars and Bakarwals will be happy with the move as many of them will get the legal protection as far as political reservation is concerned. This abrogation has also taken these communities out of the political fiefdom of a few families. It is where the Government of India should focus on and the tribal communities of Gujjar and Bakarwals are placed throughout the state. During Maharaja's rule they had some protection which was later extended after independence, but with the abrogation of 370 Indian laws will be more protective towards them and hence its the duty of Government of India to make sure that the nomadic communities of UT J&K are made aware of it.

The delimitation should start with a promise of complete transparency. This exercise will raise many eyebrows in the parts of Valley, but as i mentioned above the nomadic communities which is large in number will get larger representation( as per Indian laws) will be happy and that will be enough to blunt the propaganda of the Valley based politicians. The delimitation also will make sure the population of the UT is taken care of in terms of numbers.

Final Point: The Government of india should also make serious efforts to see that Kashmiri Pandits move back to Valley. It should also put in place a powerful nodal officer who can assist all those who want to go back.

The process should be transparent and a decision should be made soon and also made public. The government of India also should refrain from taking any decision in a hurry. However it should also make sure that whatever small number of Kashmiri Pandits resident in the Valley are taken care of.

The government must ensure that they do not migrate.

For the UT of Ladakh I have only one word to say. The Government of India deserves the highest honour and respect for taking such a decision.

By interacting with civilians at Shopian, how Doval conveyed a loud message to rest of J&K

It is not only legally correct but also morally right too. It is time we apply the same set of rules as we have in the NE for the protection of the fragile culture and ecology of the UT of Ladakh.

Let us respect the fact that the people of Ladakh stood with India, despite all the injustices faced by them for seven decades.

Finally, as I started with the words of Pt. DP Dhar, "Clock never turns back" and that should be the frame work for all the future negotiations. As the Home Minister said, " let have the state of Jammu and Kashmir back as and when the normalcy is restored." In the mean time the Government of India should show all sort of compassion and love for the people of Jammu and Kashmir , especially those in the Valley who have no one but we the people of India to look up to as their own.

(Arvind Dhar is Vice Chancellor, NIILM University, Haryana is also a Kashmir Pandit refugee)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of OneIndia and OneIndia does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

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