Recent developments in Kashmir, is trifurcation of the state in picture? What Modi-Shah duo is upto?

The scenario in Kashmir has changed drastically in last week. Many speculations are buzzing around in social media, about what government might be upto.

An additional 25,000 troops have been dispatched to the valley, a week after 10,000 troops were deployed. This huge number is an addition to the already existing 40,000 troops who were deployed to guard the Amarnath Yatra. By Friday, 2nd August , the entire valley will be under the cover of the military.

As per the reports, the troops were partly dispatched on Thursday and are being inducted in various parts of Kashmir.

In another sudden development, the government has put the Air Force and Army on high operational alert. As per ANI,

“For the rapid induction of CRPF and other paramilitary troops into the Kashmir valley, the government has pressed Indian Air Force aircraft including the C-17 heavy lift plane into service.”

Likes of Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti, Burkha Dutt have completely gone into panic mode and demanding communication with the centre.

It has been speculated that there might be an announcement regarding the delimitation ahead of elections or trifurcation of the state. Some political analyst opine that trifurcation is being discussed.

The trifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir would mean granting statehood to Jammu, Union Territory status to Ladakh and separate statehood to Kashmir.

The reason given for trifurcation has been that it will help to contain in the valley.

Last year, in October 2018, Governor Satya Pal Malik said that trifurcation would be a disaster for Jammu and Kashmir.

“The day this state will trifurcate, it will be a disaster. The state of J&K is a reality and it should remain so,” Malik was quoted by Economic Times.

But the fact is that, the unrest in the Kashmir is affecting the decision making pertaining to whole state, which is leading to the neglect of Ladakh. When people of Jammu and Ladakh doesn’t have anything to do with break India forces.

However, Satya Pal Malik said on Thursday that there is no plan to abrogate Article 35A and people should not pay much heed to the rumours.

This comment by the Governor is further leading to speculations about trifurcation. Commentators say that for trifurcation, a presidential order would be passed. Basically, as per the powers granted by clause (1) of Article 370 of the Constitution, the President, with the concurrence of state government can pass a series of orders.

Meanwhile, Amarnath Yatra has been suspended till August 4, citing inclement weather conditions and pilgrims have been ordered to cut short their visit, due to the threat of terrorist attacks.

How trifurcation will change political scenario in state of J&K?

Though not a final solution, a step that could help localise the problem — trifurcate Jammu and Kashmir state into three parts: Jammu, Ladakh and the valley.

It has been a long standing demand of the people of Ladakh (and Jammu as well) who do not want to have anything to do with the anti-India movement in the valley.

A resolution passed by the All Religious Joint Action Committee of Ladakh goes a long way in this direction.

ARJAC leaders — Tsewang Thinles, president, Ladakh Buddhist Association, Ashraf Ali Barchar president, Anjuman Imamia, and Sheikh Saif-ud-Din, president, Anjuman Moin-ul-Islam – in 2016 demanded at a press conference, Union Territory status for Ladakh. They remarked that since Independence, the mountainous region has always kept a special strong bond with the Union of India.

In a memorandum to the prime minister, the ARJAC explained that Ladakh was once an independent Himalayan kingdom.

‘Ladakh as an independent kingdom gained political status during the 15th-16th century when the Namgyal dynasty came into power,’ the memonrandum added.

This lasted until 1842 when General Zorawar Singh integrated Ladakh into the Dogra empire. In October 1947, Ladakh acceded to India after Maharaj Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession for his state.

Ladakh, the ARJAC further pointed out, has been linked to the Dogras (and Kashmir) for hardly 105 years:

‘Ladakh is fundamentally different from Kashmir in all respects — culturally, ethnically and linguistically. Over the years the successive governments of the state have adopted a policy of discrimination and subversion towards the region with the sole objective of stifling its people and marginalising its historical, religious and cultural identity.’

Nationalism remained a dominant ideological creed and became a rallying force among the Ladakhis to fight back the Pakistanis and the Chinese who made frequent bids of conquer our land in 1948, 1962, 1965, 1971 and 1999 wars,’ the ARJAC affirmed. ‘The jawans of Ladakh Scouts played an exemplary role in decisively foiling the enemy’s misadventures.’

The ARJAC also said,

“We firmly believe that all of us live only if India lives. Our commitment to patriotism is firm and unequivocal. Our people and soldiers have never hesitated to make supreme sacrifices in the discharge of their duties towards the country. We shall never fail the nation.’

The trifurcation would have other advantages not mentioned in the memorandum.

Today the Ladakh region has two districts, Leh and Kargil and two Autonomous Hill Development Councils, Ladakh and Kargil.

Though Ladakh is India’s largest district, with ‘disputed’ borders and two belligerent neighbours, it is administered by a junior officer.

Ladakh needs a special status; The granting of Union Territory status would solve many of the anomalies: A lieutenant governor representing the Centre would sit in Leh (or Kargil) and a chief secretary would head the administration.

Further, the elected MLAs and ministers would not depend on the mood of Srinagar to develop the Union Territory.

Last but not least, it will probably force China to clarify its position on Ladakh.

Already back in 1954, when India and China were negotiating the Panchsheel Agreement, China adamantly refused to acknowledge, let alone reopen the Demchok route, which  is shortest to reach Kailash – Manasasarovara. simply because it considered and probably considers Ladakh ‘disputed territory.’

The reopening of the ancient pilgrim route would be a great confidence building measure between India and China. ,

Making Ladakh a Union Territory would (peacefully) hit many birds with one stone. It would help localise the so-called Kashmir issue in the valley; it would provide a better administration to the mountainous region, streamline the security of the area and force China to drop its ‘neutrality’ stance.

All these years there was a lack of political will to make something like this happen. If, the centre takes stern stand on this matter, it’s duty of every citizen to show our solidarity and stand with the government. Kashmir, is heaven on earth. Let’s the Dal lake resonate the vedic chants by Pandits. The abandoned houses have their owners return.

Dr Sindhu Prashanth