No other Monday morning kept India as awake as it did yesterday. Hundreds of hash tags were being created on social media. The mood varied from joy, surprise and applause to shock and dismay. All the Monday morning blues were washed away as the Indian Home Minister Amit Shah moved Parliament revoking Article 370 that provides special status to Jammu and Kashmir. That was enough to make people sit up and take notice. But that was not it. The Home Minister also proposed that Jammu and Kashmir be divided into union territories—One, Jammu and Kashmir and two, the hilly terrain of Ladakh.
How did it all begin?
Well, to begin with media men say that they did notice some bustling activity near Prime Minister Narendra Modi's residence. His house was the hub of action and signalled that something big was about to happen in Jammu and Kashmir. First, the prime minister is said to have chaired a closed door meeting lasting 50 minutes with home minister Amit Shah and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. This was followed by another meeting with law minister Ravishankar Prasad. These two meetings were enough to drop hints that they had to do with Articles 370 and 35A. Then it was the turn of the Cabinet committee on security to meet the PM. This was obviously to take stock of the situation in Kashmir where a prohibitory order and total clampdown on communication are in force right now. After the CCS Meet, Amit Shah rushed to the parliament during which he was seen in his usual calm demeanor. Amid uproar from the opposition, Article 370 was snapped even as several parties hailed the bold and historic move by the Modi government one by one. Congress was left to wage a lone battle in vain.
The Modi government has completely integrated Jammu and Kashmir with India by bifurcating the state. Jammu and Kashmir becomes one union territory with legislature while Ladakh becomes another union territory without legislature. All Indian laws will now be applicable in the newly carved union territories.
The separate constitution of Jammu and Kashmir ceased to exist the moment Article 370 became inoperative. In one fell swoop, Home Minister Amit Shah with a directive from the top government leadership Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent out a clear message that all states in India was one. Jammu and Kashmir is now split into two union territories with Ladakh being one of them. This means that J&K no longer enjoys any special statehood status.
That's fine! But how does a layman understand what happened in Rajya Sabha yesterday? What did Modi and Shah do that has triggered talks, debates and made Jammu and Kashmir and Article 370 in particular, hotly debated trending topics on social media?
We are here to break that down for you...
Now, what does this move indicate? Remember, we sang praises of the PM after he ordered the Balakot airstrikes? Now, political observers see this move too as Modi government's biggest surgical strike on the status quo in Kashmir. They say that with this move, the Centre has put the oft-heard ‘azaadi’ rhetoric to rest in the most decisive manner. The government's decision to integrate J&K with the rest of India and an attempt to bring the former state on par with other states and Union territories also raises hopes of some real development in the new Jammu and Kashmir which has only stagnated over the years due to its status quo. Also, political observers have hailed the Modi government's historic move as a no nonsense message to Pakistan that Kashmir is very much a part of India. This is being seen as a decisive action on a state where the rulers have been content maintaining the status quo that has not only hindered development in the state but also harmed its people.
Now, the big decision is taken. But what about the implications?
Well, while the Kashmiri Pandits have welcomed the move, there is dissent from within, particularly the opposition parties who have raised their doubts over the consequences of implementing this. However, the decision was met with support from several opposition parties too which puts the BJP on a safe wicket. Now, J&K has always been a difficult state to handle. So, the repercussions are expected. But sources say that the Modi government is fully prepared to handle the crisis and the aftermath.
According to the dossier, the Modi government is particular about making sure that the locals do not bear the brunt of this decision and ensure that the implementation doesn't burden the Kashmiris in any way. The government has emphasized the fact that this monumental decision should not burden the local population in the least.
So, when was the plan made?
According to sources, the planning begun months before the Lok Sabha polls. Political analysts are of the view that the BJP waited for a thumping majority in the Lok Sabha before they started giving it a concrete shape. The blueprint was apparently readied by none other than Amit Shah himself. NSA Ajit Doval is said to be the prime architect of this plan. The team looked into the ramifications of the implementation like communally sensitive zones, the security scenario and also political leaders who may have to be put under house arrest. Keeping in view the consequences, the centre even rushed security forces to Jammu and Kashmir on an unprecedented scale foreseeing the possible storm this big decision could cause. Political analysts point out that since this seems to be a well thought out decision by the government as top priority is given to the local population as revealed by the dossier, the Modi government has everything covered. With able administration and a perfect system put in place and trouble makers taken out of the equation, the implementation should be smooth if not rosy. Also, with Pakistan battling financial instability, it is no position to interfere which puts India at an advantageous position.
However, the biggest challenge now before the government would be to handle the valley where there is a clampdown right now. The success of this historic decision now depends on winning the confidence and hearts of the local people. Will prime Minister's Mission Kashmir bear fruit? Let's wait and watch....