Article 370: ‘Highly Dubious’ Process May Cause Further Unrest In J&K, Says Yashwant Sinha
Former Finance MInister Yashwant Sinha. (Photographer: Xabier Mikel Laburu/Bloomberg News)

Article 370: ‘Highly Dubious’ Process May Cause Further Unrest In J&K, Says Yashwant Sinha

The Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government’s resolution to amend Article 370, which gave administrative autonomy to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, is a “very unwise step to take at this point”, said former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha.

The government has not taken history into account and has “rushed in” to take a decision, the former Bharatiya Janata Party senior leader told BloombergQuint. The move, he said, will have severe implications for the state, India and the world.

“This government, the Prime Minister, now supported by the home minister, they’re interested in creating history everyday. They created history by demonetisation. We are seeing what the impact of demonetisation has been,” said Sinha. “They want to create history by abolishing Article 370 and 35(A) and now bifurcation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir and converting both parts into union territories.”

Union Home Minister Amit Shah introduced a resolution to amend Article 370 of the Indian Constitution which gives Jammu and Kashmir administrative autonomy. Barring one section, all special powers of the state stand to be revoked if the amendment is passed. The amendment also seeks to split the state—Jammu and Kashmir as a union territory with legislative powers and Ladakh as a union territory without legislative powers.

This will not be acceptable to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, Sinha said, adding it will lead to unrest in the valley and communal violence in rest of the country.

The only doctrine of state is that the will of the people will prevail and the will of the people of J&K is not with the government of India on this issue.
Yashwant Sinha, Former Finance Minister Of India 

Sinha said the move is aimed at rallying votes for the elections coming up in four states at the end of this year.

About the stakeholders—the civil society, separatists and mainstream politicians—in the Kashmir Valley, Sinha said that he does not expect any of them to support the government’s move openly. “Isn’t it important for the country to win over the people of Jammu and Kashmir, especially the people of the valley? Why have they drifted away from India? because of the actions we have taken without thinking, unwisely, unwittingly and this is the worst of that.”

The process through which the Article 370 amendment was introduced is a “dubious”one, and is unlikely to stand up in front of judicial scrutiny, he said. “The governor of Jammu and Kashmir does not represent the will of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. He represents the Government of India in Jammu and Kashmir. So how can his cooperation in this matter be taken as the the will of the people?”

Internationalising The Issue Of Jammu And Kashmir

The Modi government is likely to “internationalise” the Jammu and Kashmir issue where India has already been a losing group in the United Nations, Sinha said.

Pakistan is not likely to take this “lying down” and will probably take this to the UN Security Council and other international platforms, he told BloombergQuint. Moreover, it won’t be surprising if the U.S.’ reaction to this is unexpected, Sinha said. “Trump is waiting to jump into this.”

Former Prime Minister and BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee, according to Sinha, would not have gone ahead with this. “He is credited with starting the dialogue even with the Hurriyat. That was his attitude, completely liberal. He is the one who said famously that the issue of Jammu and Kashmir will be resolved not so much under the Constitution of India, as under insaniyat.”

As for the future of the resolution, Sinha said it may pass in the Rajya Sabha—a “manufactured majority”.

“I have no doubt they will carry it through the Rajya Sabha. They will carry it through in the Lok Sabha. They might even carry it through with the people of India but they will not be able to carry it through with the people of Jammu and Kashmir and they will not be able to carry it through as far as international public opinion is concerned.”

Watch the full interview here:

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