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Friday, March 6, 2015

Kashmir and Article 370: It remains a anchor around the Indian Neck



In 1948, with Kashmir almost conquered and Srinagar under siege by Pakistan aided forces the Maharajah of Kashmir Hari Singh signed the order of accession and joined the India union as per the offer of the departing British. The rest is history as the Indian army moved in and threw the invaders out and were on the verge of liberating the entire state. The Pakistan aided tribal soldiers and units of the Pakistan army were in retreat when the Indian Prime Minister for reasons that have never been made public agreed for a cease fire and worse  plebiscite in Kashmir to ascertain the wishes of the people.

In addition he got the Indian parliament to amend the Constitution and inserted article 370, which gave Kashmir a special status . it was given a special constitution and flag and the state was insulated from the rest of India by creating an insular atmosphere with sever restrictions on visiting or settling in Kashmir to Indians  from other states.  In one stroke Nehru created the Kashmir problem. Biographers and apologists for Nehru have never been able to explain why he did this, for the end result was catastrophic as a perpetual problem was created  and in world forums the question of Kashmir as a part of the Indian state is questioned by many.

Where do we go from here? The BJP which came to power on a plank of abrogation of article 370 and a common civil code has after coming to power failed to bite the bullet. It is clear that all that Modi and the BJP thought and propagated was just rhetoric and now that it has joined the PDF to form a government in Kashmir all these promises are jettisoned.

I wonder if we will  ever have a leader who will bite the bullet and see that Kashmir is integrated with India. With the BJP and PDF in power this will remain a dream and who knows at some later stage 50 years down the line whether kashmir remains a part of the Indian union ?