CHANDIGARH, DECEMBER 15:
Terming the present situation in Kashmir as one of a tinderbox waiting to burst, eminent Kashmir experts on Sunday castigated the Centre move to undemocratically revoke Article 370 as it spelled and solidified India's relation with the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
During a highly-charged panel discussion with RSS ideologue-cum-BJP National General Secretary Ram Madhav and Congress MP Manish Tewary as panelists on Article 370 and the Death Knell of Terrorism, the distinguished duo comprising former R&AW Chief AS Dulat and Manoj Joshi echoed that former PM Atal Bihari Vajpeyee's approach of Insaniyat, Jamhooriyat and Kashmiriyat was the only way to ensure lasting solution to the vexed issue.
The Kashmir is badly numb and residents of the state are feeling a sense of disappointment with Delhi, said Dulat in his opening remarks adding that the situation was grim and what we are witnessing is Quiet Disobedience which nobody knows would take what course in future.
Taking part in the discussion, Ram Madhav said the revocation of Article 370 was done in most democratic fashion disclosing that political prisoners like the former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah would be released soon. Shying away to put any timeframe, Madhav however added that process to keep the political activity going in Kashmir were on.
We would restore the status of statehood to Jammu and Kashmir, Madhav said clarifying there it was felt that there was need to put the bifurcated state under Central rule for sometime hence the creation of Union Territories.
Taking strong exception to former RAW Chief Dulat's expression of Calm Disobedience, a visibly ruffled Madhav emphasised Kashmiris have never been known to be quiet and they are always up at the smallest provocation.
Kashmiris have lived with article 370 for seventy years and now they are experiencing life without it. It is a bold step taken by the Government and I am sure the new situation will ensure development and complete integration of region with India.
Putting his point across, Senior Congress Leader Manish Tewari blamed the Centre for setting a dangerous precedent by dividing a state into a UT there by trampling the very spirit of our constitution. We are a Union of States and what has been done by bifurcating Jammu and Kashmir is the most obnoxious move entailing serious repercussions for our Constituion and polity.
Echoing the views of both experts on the panel, Tewari further said that revocation had nothing to do with terrorism and had subverted all norms of due processes enshrined in Constitution. Terrorism, which the Central Government claims to put an end to with this one stroke, has had its genesis in dismemberment of Pakistan and creation of Bangladesh, said senior Congressman adding that our enemy neighbour had always followed the policy of bleeding India through thousand cuts.
Underlining that there was something fundamentally wrong in this decision, he further said that Centre had with its mindless decision alienated mainstream Kashmiri leaders too adding that God forbid if the situation so warrants we now literally have nobody to talk to.
Earlier replying to a question, Madhav clarified BJP alliance with PDP was purely on lines of development and security agenda mutually agreed upon. After working with Madam Mehbooba Mufti for an year and half, we felt some difficulties in furthering our security agenda in Kashmir and we as a party decided to quit and let president rule come into force.
Taking part in the discussion, eminent journalist and state expert Manoj Joshi stated the goal of centre to homogenise everything was bound to fail as we are a nation of distinct state identifies. It's possible in India to be proud of your cultural heritage and still feel equally proud of your nation. Even Hindus in Jammu and Kashmir have a different sense of Hinduism from Hindus living in other parts of the country, he emphasised.
Elucidating the historical perspective, he said decision to assimilate Jammu and Kashmir immediately after Independence was effected under conditions prevailing at that time. We were a new nation and were not very capable of guarding our borders then, he said adding that certain concessions had to be made to merge Kashmir with India. He advocated a mix of both hard and soft power to achieve desired objective.