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A welcome statement

The reality finally appears to have dawned on BJP. Union Minister of State for Home HansrajGangaramAhir has said what the government at the centre (since it was installed in 2014) had been reluctant to say till now. The minister told parliament that the union government had no proposal for scrapping Article 370 of Indian constitution that gives the state of Jammu and Kashmir a special status. This is for the first time that the BJP made its stand clear on an issue that had remained core the Hindutwa agenda in India. During parliamentary elections in 2014, scrapping of Article 370 was one of the fundamental planks on which the BJP contested the election. In the recent past, BJP and its other Hindutwa allies made frenzied noises regard scrapping of JK’s special status. Backed by a mad media, a vilifying campaign was launched against the people and politicians of Jammu and Kashmir and the special status the state enjoys under the constitution of the country. They have already approached the Supreme Court of India challenging the validity of Article 35A of Indian Constitution which was introduced in 1954 under Article 370. The special status provides for no-voting rights to the non-residents in assembly and local body elections in the state. They also cannot buy any immobile property in Jammu and Kashmir. The extremist Hindu elements have been averse to this status of the state. They have been eying on doing away with the special status of the state through any means that suits their political agenda. Though they have tried it many a times in the past but they never got any institutional support for it. The so-called special status the state of Jammu and Kashmir enjoyed under Article 370 and 35A cannot be looked in isolation. They are well linked with the accession of Jammu and Kashmir. Any fiddling with the state’s special status would open the very chapter of accession. Jammu and Kashmir has not merged in India, it has rather acceded with India and there is a formal document in this regard which is based on serious conditions and restrictions as provided in Article 370. Though much of status provided under this Article has been eroded and it remains in name only, yet its nominal presence serves as a major psychological deterrent. The Hindutva extremist brigade should know that Article 370 was not included in Indian constitution as a favor to the people of Jammu and Kashmir from New Delhi. It rather was to open a door for New Delhi to enter the state. It is a one-way road from New Delhi to Srinagar. It is the very first clause of Article 370 (that states that Article 1 of Indian constitution which determines the geographical boundary of India, is applicable to Jammu and Kashmir also) that makes Jammu and Kashmir a geographical part of India. Abrogation of Article 370, academically speaking, terminates the application of Article 1 as well. The Hindutva think-tank is either unaware of this fact or is drunk with military power. Whatever the fact, the Hindutva forces should know that the people of Jammu and Kashmir are very sensitive about their position and status in Indian union. It is an emotional issue with them. They have resisted against all machinations of doing away with their political identity in the past and they will resist it in future as well. The Hindu extremists are playing with fire, and pushing the people of Jammu and Kashmir to wall, which in every way would be disadvantageous to New Delhi. Playing with fire is bound to burn your hands. The central government perhaps has understood this reality. The latest statement of the MOS home is an indicator in this regard.