Removing Article 370 looked unthinkable to all previous administrations because of domestic and international complications. This is an analytical look at threading together some well-known events from various internet sources to figure out the absolute genius behind the steps taken in rendering Article 370 ineffective.
It would take a disciplined team and strategic moves worthy of a game of chess, to accomplish this ‘mission impossible’. How was it done?
Move 1: Setting the board – Isolating Pakistan
The Paris based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) places Pakistan on its grey list which meant a severe blow to its financial situation. The reasons behind it were “Pakistan’s “structural deficiencies” in anti-money laundering (AML) and combating the financing of terrorism (CFT)“.
This helps in tying together the factors of Pakistan’s sliding economy, the tightening of the screws on it’s falling economy, and the linking of terrorism support to any bail-out of that almost bankrupt economy.
Effect: Begins the process of isolation of Pakistan
Move 2: Opposition Queen neutralized – Isolating PDP
Although BJP teamed up with PDP to form state government, this really provided an inside look and reach into the inner workings of the state government, so crucial for the significant next steps. BJP abandoned the coalition on June 19, 2018 citing concerns about terrorism and radicalization in Kashmir.
PDP’s lost its plank of ‘soft separatism’ the day the party decided to join hands with the BJP. In its three years of power, the PDP was seen by the people of the Kashmir valley as merely playing second fiddle to the agenda of the BJP.
Effect: PDP loses credibility in the eyes of its support base
Move 3: Opposition Bishops taken out – Taking over administration of J&K
The governor on November 21 dissolves the 87-member state assembly citing horse-trading and lack of stability to form a government as the reasons, even though the PDP, supported by the Congress and their arch rivals National Conference, had staked claim to form the government.
Effect: Begin the process of takeover of J&K
President Ram Nath Kovind signed the proclamation for imposition of central rule in the state, which plunged into a political crisis in June after the Mehbooba Mufti-led coalition government was reduced to minority following withdrawal of support by the 25-member BJP in the state.
Effect: The imposition of Governor’s Rule will put the central government in charge of the affairs of the state
4: Opposition Rooks taken out – Defanging Pakistan’s offensive
February 26, 2019
The 2019 Balakot airstrike is conducted by India when Indian warplanes crossed the de facto border in the disputed region of Kasmir, and dropped bombs in the vicinity of the town of Balakot in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan.
Effect: Pakistan is reminded of the might of the Indian armed forces, so it won’t engage in any adventurism later
Move 5: Opposition Knights taken out – Terrorism in check
May 1, 2019
The Jaish-e-Mohammad Chief Masood Azhar was named as “global terrorist” by the United Nations after China lifted its hold on a proposal to blacklist him.
Effect: Pakistan officially blacklisted as a country harboring a terrorist, so any future diplomatic support from international community will not be forthcoming easily
Move 6: Owning the chessboard – Winning the general elections
May 24, 2019
Amit Shah combined the Hindutva agenda with the Modi government’s development plank to woo backward castes and bolster its traditional base of upper castes to take on the opposition.
Effect: BJP wins the elections handsomely
Move 7: Home Knight 1 moves in – Introduction of J&K Reservation Bill
June 24, 2019
BJP moves the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Bill, requiring Kashmir to provide 10% reservation for marginalized communities. Ostensibly, it was the denial of rights to these marginalized sections that made the BJP raise the Article 35A issue using the issue of revoking the residency rights of the Valmiki community.
The bill had a Trojan horse (the knight). This was the provision that the Governor could act as the local Assembly if the state did not have a functioning Assembly.
Effect: Wherever “State Assembly” is mentioned in Article 370 and 35A, that can now be replaced by the office of the Governor
Move 8: Home Knight 2 moves in – Introduction of Triple Talaq Bill
July 30, 2019
Triple Talaq bill was passed by Lok Sabha on 25th July 2019 and then by Rajya Sabha on 30th July 2019. This bill too had a trojan horse (the knight). It was that, this bill was not applicable to Jammu & Kashmir. Something that brought relief to all Muslim women around the country was not applicable to Kashmiri Muslim women.
Effect: Article 370 can now be characterized as “anti-women”, which is a much broader appeal and cannot be challenged by any national or international organization
Move 9: Home territory “Castled In”. All opposition pawns taken out
Firing along LOC to keep Pak army engaged at another front. Deployment of 280 companies in the state on security measures. Moving heavy contingents of army personnel into the Valley instead of relying on state police. Imposing Section 144 in several districts of the state. Putting PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, NC leader Omar Abdullah and several other leaders under house arrest.
Effect: Final fortification of the state and isolation of troublemakers
Move 10: Home King and Vizier make the move. CheckMate!
PM Narendra Modi
deliberately chose August 7 to address the nation on J&K because on that
very date in 1952, Syama Prasad Mookerjee spoke against 370 in the Constituent
Assembly of which he was a member.
Rajya Sabha voting was managed through support from Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and YSR Congress and Aam Aadmi Party and walkouts by others. Lok Sabha already has BJP majority.
Effect: Bill passes in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha
Move 11: A clean board for the future
In the meantime, creating a non-legislature UT for Ladakh helps in fortifying India’s international border without political disturbances, while a J&K UT with legislature means no one can claim that democracy has been subverted, since people of the region still have a voice in the political process of the state. Tri-furcation of J&K would have meant creation of a Hindu Jammu vs Muslim Kashmir, making it easier for secessionists to target this as their homeland. No more. Now, it is all a part of one united India!
Move 12: How it was presented to the world
For the domestic audience, from the plight of Dalit families from 1957, Masood Azhar’s ban to FATF clearance for IMF to Triple Talaq – everything was linked to Article 370.
For the international community, India points out that the proposals made in the Parliament on Monday were “aimed at providing good governance, promoting social justice and ensuring economic development in Jammu and Kashmir.”
Chess game par excellence!
Featured Image: Business Today