- Oliver D’Souza
There is no doubt that the revocation of article 370 in J&K in the manner in which it was done, complete with the President being used to bypass established law, always raises questions about its legality. That is why the matter is in the Supreme Court which has to date not taken it up.
At the same time, the topic of revocation of article 370 in J&K has become a politically touchy issue. Parts of the population that is polarized in the country on communal lines take exception to any suggestion of reverting to status quo ante. The BJP, like everything else it does, viewed the issue with a communal angle and its Hindurashtra agenda while its right-wing sister organizations trumpeted it as a victory of Hindus over Muslims.
The fact, however, is that the revocation has brought nothing but misery to the state. Over a year of lock-down, along with a police state in force, compounded by the pandemic has brought economic destruction to the people of the area. Many new laws were instituted, old ones scrapped to make way to hinduize the place and to hand over chunks of it to the BJP’s business cronies. None of them have benefited the people just as the revocation of article 370 has neither brought prosperity to J&K or the rest of India. Most certainly the courts will have to look at the legality of the revocation, while the government will have to count the benefits versus the losses.
But politically sensitive that the matter is along with the fact that it is sub-judice, it was imprudent for Congressman Digvijay Singh to talk about bringing back 370 if the Congress came back to power. The matter is in court, let the courts decide it.
The Congress party, on its part, has distanced itself from the statement saying that his vews were personal and not that of the party.
On the one hand, BJP attacked the Singh while own family members have also criticized him, with no Congress leader of stature seconding his statement. is seen openly standing with Singh over his statement.
The BJP, in its now established response to everything that questions its decision has sought to tag Singh as an anti-national and called for an NIA Inquiry.
“Such a person working against India should be investigated by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), including other competent agencies, so that other anti-India forces do not dare to raise their heads,” BJP State unit President, Vishnu Dutt Sharma said.
Singh has responded by referring to a six year old statement of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Chief Mohan Bhagwat, saying, “India-Pakistan are like brothers. Just like Kauravas and Pandavas, Pakistan is our brother, the Indian government should strengthen its relations with it.”
Singh asked Sharma whether he will send Bhagwat to Pakistan and start a NIA investigation into his statement.
“Such a person working against India should be investigated by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), including other competent agencies, so that other anti-India forces do not dare to raise their heads,” Sharma added.
Digvijaya Singh has hit back on the demand of Vishnu Datt Sharma.
After Digvijaya Singh’s statement, the Congress has maintained stoic silence. The Congress has officially said, since Digvijaya Singh is not holding any party position, his statement is his personal opinion. The party has nothing to do with Singh’s statement.
A Congress leader on condition of anonymity told IANS, “It is incomprehensible why prominent leaders of the party make such statements, not toeing the party’s official stand. At times it seems as if he (Digvijaya Singh) is not concerned about the party at all. Such controversial statements are made before the elections. As the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh are approaching, Digvijaya Singh’s statement will cause damage to the party’s chances.”
Here, it needs to be remembered that some Kashmiri Pandit and other groups have criticized the revocation of article 370, which also takes away certain guaranteed rights of the people in the area, and have actually asked for a return to the article.