Abrogating Article 370 arbitrarily is a historical betrayal with the people of Kashmir — RWPI

BJP government’s autocratic step in Kashmir is fueling a fire that is bound to impact entire country

Revolutionary Workers’ Party of India (RWPI) strongly condemns BJP government’s extremely autocratic and dictatorial step of abrogating Article 370 and dividing the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two parts. RWPI warns that BJP government’s arbitrary step in Kashmir is fueling a fire that is bound to impact the entire country.

RWPI is in favour of formation of states based on voluntary union of nationalities and does not wish that Kashmir must secede. However, it’s not about anybody’s wish. It is the right of Kashmiris to decide what should be their destiny and hence they must get their right to self-determination. By arbitrarily abrogating Article 370, the government has done a historical betrayal with the people of Kashmir. The status of special state conferred to Jammu & Kashmir has been done away with and it is being converted into two union territories — Jammu & Kashmir Union territory will have a legislative body with limited powers like the one in Delhi and Puducherry while Ladakh will not have any legislative body like Chandigarh. It means entire Jammu & Kashmir will be under direct central rule which will further alienate the common masses and such a rule will only be possible to sustain through the presence of army at every nook and corner. History tells us that the entire population of not even a small territory can be militarily suppressed for long. Kashmir will not be an exception to this.

Through this step, BJP and Sangh Parivar will intensify their campaign of polarization on religious grounds and will exacerbate the alienation of religious minorities and in this guise they will do their best to hide the failures of their government. Since Pakistan is also involved in the Kashmir dispute, attempts will be made to fan the tide of anti-Pakistan jingoism along with provoking religious fanaticism.

It is to be noted that even Pakistani ruling class is suffering from a serious crisis and internal contradictions and like its Indian counterpart it too needs such tensions to deflect people’s attention. The ruling classes of both the countries have been using the Kashmir issue as a tool to delay their crisis and divert the attention from the basic issues. And every time the interests of Kashmiri people have been sacrificed.

Abrogation of article 370 is a historical betrayal with the people of Kashmir. At the time of partition in 1947, the people of Kashmir had chosen to side with secular politics by rejecting Jinna’s politics and the conspiracy of the then king of Kashmir. The accession of Kashmir with India was done in the special circumstance of the ‘kabaili’ invasion as a provisional arrangement and it was conferred the status of special state and it had its own constitution and its own flag. Article 370 used to represent this special status and defined the relationship of Kashmir with India. With the abrogation of Article 370, the constitution of Kashmir has ipso-facto become null and void and the Article 35A too will no longer be valid. With the unilateral abrogation of Article 370, the accession of Kashmir with the Indian union becomes null and void theoretically. Indian state never fulfilled its promises that it made to the Kashmiri people in the ‘Instrument of Accession’ that was signed on 26 October 1947 and which formed the basis of the accession of Kashmir with India. Now the BJP government has abrogated it in an extremely autocratic manner. Neither the consent of Kashmiri people was taken nor was any effort made to carry out dialogue and take consent of the people of rest of India.

Besides isolating the muslim population of Kashmir valley, this autocratic step would lead to further alienation of the population living in the muslim dominant regions of Jammu and Laddakh. With the growth in the army’s repression, terrorism will be fueled in the entire region in an environment of desperation and directionless anger, whose price will have to be paid not just by Kashmiri people but also by the people in rest of the country. Even the return of the displaced Kashmiri pundit families will now become even harder.

Also, the imperialist countries will get an opportunity to intervene in the Indian subcontinent and to take advantage of the tensions between the two countries to fulfill their nefarious agenda. The arms race and increased military budget will put burden on already crippled economy and it is the masses who will have to bear this burden.

Now it is abundantly clear that the economic recession is severe and the economy is on the verge of collapse. It is the most severe economic crisis of independent India and its impact is already visible in the form of very high unemployment and stagnation in the productive activities and the masses will have to further bear the burden of this crisis in the coming days. Every step of the government in the service of native and foreign capital is intensifying the crisis. Under such a circumstance, the government does not have any way out other than orchestrating religious polarization, provoking jingoism and war-mongering. The elections to the legislative assemblies in some states are scheduled to be held in the coming months and Modi government is trying its best to win these elections by taking advantage of the wave of jingoism. It is this desperation that lies behind this sudden and autocratic step in Kashmir and in this process the entire subcontinent has been pushed to turmoil.

RWPI believes that now it is the duty of masses and revolutionary Left forces of this country that they raise a united voice to prevent a civil-war like situation in the country and stop repression of Kashmiri people. In order to prevent the people to come under the influence of fascist propaganda, all progressive-democratic forces will have to go to the people and expose this dangerous conspiracy of Hindutva fascists. At the same time we will have to be alert and active to stop any kind of violence and hate-mongering against Kashmiri people.