The Economist’s way of being economical with the truth!
In its current edition, London-based The Economist has gone hammer and tongs against India over the scrapping of Article 370
As has been seen with several Western media publications, The Economist too has given short shrift to objective assessment of the ground situation in its article ‘India is still trampling on civil liberties in Kashmir’.
India News Network rebuts the misrepresentation of facts that the British publication has willfully indulged in with the sole purpose to hurt India’s reputation.
Mr Modi’s decision a year ago to rescind that autonomy and split the state into two territories (Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh) run directly by the national government was intended to please his supporters. It was always going to enrage Kashmiris, who were not consulted, even though the constitution demanded it.
India News Network
First of all, Article 370 was “temporary” in nature under Part XXI of the Indian Constitution. Special autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir was granted under this part of the Constitution. The provisions of Article 370 were not a part of the “Instrument of Accession Agreement” signed in 1947 by the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir. It should also be recalled that the special status to Jammu and Kashmir, over the years, became a euphemism for separation from India and separatist leaders who worked like self-serving puppets of Pakistan, played it to the hilt.
Moreover, special rights for the people of Jammu and Kashmir had generated a feeling of being different which in turn was exploited by Pakistan and forces inimical to India’s unity and integrity. They fanned terrorism in the state, resulting in the loss of more than 70,000 lives in the last 30 years.
Last year, in May, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) registered a case against several separatist leaders, including Shabir Shah, Jammu-Kashmir Liberation Front’s Yasin Malik, Duktaran-e-Milat’s Asiya Andrabi, and All Parties Hurriyat Conference’s general secretary Masarat Alam for “raising, receiving and collecting funds for funding separatist and terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir and entering into a larger conspiracy for causing disruption in the Kashmir Valley and for waging war against India.”
The state was in the grip of widespread chaos; the credibility of mainstream political parties had hit rock bottom. It was in this situation that the scrapping of Article 370 became a necessity. It was not aimed at pleasing one section of people or displeasing another. The objective was to save the region from secessionism and empower those who felt deprived under Article 370. The flagrant and egregious abuses of Article 370 included denial of the status of permanent resident to the West Pakistani refugees, the Balmiki community, the Gorkhas and women of the state who married outsiders. This was accomplished by retrospective legislation, sometimes in blatant disregard to the law or court judgements where a High Court judgment ruling the last practice illegal was never formally notified by a government order.
Thirteen months later, most of the restrictions remain in some form in Jammu and Kashmir.
India News Network
It is true that some restrictions were imposed in Jammu and Kashmir after Article 370 was abrogated. But now they have been lifted with 4G internet services in use in Ganderbal and Udhampur districts, while reduction in terrorists’-triggered violence in the Union Territory has led to peace and growth in confidence among common people. For the first time in rural areas of Kashmir, community empowerment has received a boost. More than 4,000 panchayats of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir have been provided with considerable funds to carry out functions entrusted to them. Almost all political detainees, except for a few, have been freed. Right To Information (RTI) is fully functional in the Union Territory. Any citizen can obtain information related to Jammu and Kashmir by filing an application under RTI. Moreover, the UT administration on September 11 launched the Jammu and Kashmir Integrated Grievance Redress and Monitoring System which will serve as an effective grievance redressal mechanism.
To all these tribulations Kashmiris add an extra concern—that an influx of migrants from the rest of India will turn them into a minority in their homeland. The revoked autonomy included restrictions on who could own land in the state. The government promised that the new order would preserve locals’ say over who gets to live among their alpine peaks. Yet new criteria have made many more Indians eligible for “domicile certificates”. Instead of seeking to allay such fears, Mr Modi chose to celebrate the anniversary of the abolition of Kashmir’s autonomy by laying the foundation stone of a new temple, to be built on the site of a demolished mosque.
India News Network
It is wrong to say that revoking the autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir will lead to an influx of migrants from different parts of India. Even the domicile rules, announced by the Centre recently, don’t facilitate easy entry into the Union Territory. Only those can qualify for domicile in Jammu and Kashmir who have resided in the region for 15 years, or studied there for seven years and appeared in either the Class 10 or the Class 12 examination. Children of central government officials (Army, paramilitary forces, IAS and IPS), and employees of public sector undertakings and banks, central universities and others who have served in Jammu and Kashmir for 10 years can be domiciles of the Union Territory. Similarly, children of such residents of Jammu and Kashmir who reside outside the region in connection with their employment or business or other professional or vocational reasons will be eligible for a domicile certificate of the Union Territory. Therefore, to say that the scrapping of Article 370 will lead to mass influx in the region is wrong. Secondly, it should be known that it was the Supreme Court of the country which delivered a judgement in favour of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya. Hence, it will be appropriate to say that laying the foundation of the temple in Ayodhya has been mandated by the justice system and not otherwise by the political system of the country.