Homeland Security

'Article 370 is a very misconceived Article'
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Issue Net Edition | Date : 18 Feb , 2019

Claude Arpi’s interview with Jagmohan, Former Governor of Jammu and Kashmir and Union Minister. It was recorded in 2007.

Claude: Sir, there are rumors that India and Pakistan will soon have a ‘deal’ on Kashmir. As someone who has been twice governor, in 1982 and in 1989 and this in the most difficult conditions, could you tell us how do you see the situation today? Is there any chance of a breakthrough in the peace process?

Jagmohan: The basic point is: whatever arrangements will be made, these arrangements will not work if the fundamentalist forces remain in power and if they dictate the law by the virtue of the gun. Take for example the suggestion [from President Musharraf] that they should be a joint-rule, joint management [of parts of the J & K State]. All this sounds very big, but it does not mean anything. If you and I are controlling the same place and if we differ, who is going to decide, who will have the final word? Even elementary things like that are not clear in Musharraf’s proposal.

The poorest State in India is Bihar, but today Kashmir gets 11 times more Central assistance than Bihar.

And what does it means ‘self-rule’. If it means a ‘democratic rule’, it is already existing in our part of Kashmir; elections are regularly held and elected leaders form the government. What other ‘self-rule’ do you want? ‘Self-rule’ does not mean that Kashmir can become independent.

And if Kashmir becomes independent, who is going to provide the money which is needed to run the government. Take the example of the Plan Expenditure [money allocated for development in the Five- Year Plan], today it is 100% financed by the Central Government.

Between 40 to 45% of the Non Plan Expenditure [allocations outside the Plan to run the day to day expenses] are met by the Central Government. In case of ‘self-rule’, nobody has made clear who will pay the bill.

Claude: Kashmir is today the most subsidized State in India!

Jagmohan: The poorest State in India is Bihar, but today Kashmir gets 11 times more Central assistance than Bihar. If ‘self-rule’ means self-sufficiency, all this support from the Central government will stop. But the problem is that nobody, none of the Kashmiris leaders will tell you this. If you ask them, they will say, “the finances will come”, but they will remain vague. That is for development.

…it generates the feeling among Kashmiris that they are different. They believed: “We are different”. This has created a separate psyche in Kashmir.

Then Non Plan Expenditure, the day to day expenses like the salaries [of the government employees]. If tomorrow Kashmir is ‘de-linked’ from India except for External Affairs, Communications and Defence, the finances will not be provided anymore.

The next question is “who will pay?”

Will the Americans do it? Nobody is able to answer these questions. Some say, India should continue to finance ‘self-ruled’ Kashmir, but if tomorrow the ‘self-ruled’ government declare themselves independent or an Islamic State, will India, a secular State continue to finance a theocratic State?

There are so many contradictions in these proposals; it is what people do not understand. There are so many loopholes.

So far is Pakistan concerned, it is not even a democracy [and they are speaking of ‘self-rule’].

Claude: Does ‘self-rule’ applies also to Baltistan, Gilgit and other parts of Kashmir occupied by Pakistan?

Jagmohan: [Musharraf] has not clarified this. Today, [these areas] are virtually a colony of Pakistan. In POK, the President of Pakistan is the Chairman of the Security Council, of the Development Council and of the Kashmir Council. The Minister for Kashmir Affairs in Islamabad is the Vice-Chairman of these Councils. It means that all decisions are taken by Islamabad. It is not like here in India where the elected Chief Minister can take its own decision, there is not such thing in PoK. [The problem is that] nobody has gone into the nitty-gritty of these proposals.

Claude: Would this means ‘self-rule’ for Ladakh and Jammu

Jagmohan: On the Indian side, we have given an autonomous Council to Ladakh because of his special character. It means that for certain subjects, whatever Ladakh decides, it is final. You can not [constitutionally] go beyond this, but because of these arrangements, Ladakh is prosperous.

The only solution for all these areas of the Valley, Jammu, Ladakh is that we have to learn to live together and to learn to work for the social and economic development of the State.

Their only grievance is that they want to get rid of the Kashmir State. They want the status of Union Territory whereby they will directly be linked with the Central Government. It is also a problem, because Ladakh has two districts, Leh which is Buddhist dominated and Kargil which is Shia dominated.

The only solution for all these areas of the Valley, Jammu, Ladakh is that we have to learn to live together and to learn to work for the social and economic development of the State. We should not waste our energies in ethnic issues. If you look at ethnicity in the Jammu & Kashmir State, you will find so many ethnic groups. For example the shepherds in hilly areas can ask for a separate State, the people living in the mountains close to Himachal Pradesh speak Pahari, a different language and they are racially different, they can ask for a separate State, same thing with the Jammu people, or Pooch or Rajauri area. Even on the Pakistan side, you have the Mirpuri or people from Gigilt. It is just like Yugoslavia, the separation has only created havoc and bloodshed.

[In Jammu & Kashmir], many small dictators will claim to the leadership of their own area and the economical development will suffer, the State will suffer, everybody will suffer. I am against this; people should learn to live together with their own differences. So far the State is concern, one should provide good governance, give justice to people, offer economic development.

When I was in Kashmir the first time, I did a lot of developmental work and people forgot about article 370 and other [political] issues. There was justice, the roads were built, everything was done and people were happy; their attention was diverted from the narrow issues.

It is vested interest who keeps this article 370 and do not allow outside investment to come.

Claude: I noticed recently in Jammu that Indian firms can not invest in Jammu & Kashmir because of the Article 370. How to develop in these conditions?

Jagmohan: Article 370 is a very misconceived Article.

First, it generates the feeling among Kashmiris that they are different [from the rest of India]. They believed: “We are different”. This has created a separate psyche in Kashmir.

Then it benefits people who want the power like the Abdullah family; they have exploited this Article, not allowing outside people to come to the State. They have thus created their own sheikhdom.

I will tell you a story. When I was for the first time Governor in Kashmir, one day a fire erupted in an area of Srinagar. I went to inspect the place, it was stinking, there was no sewage at all. After some time, I sold in the same area a plot for a cinema which brought 60 millions rupees to the State. I had opened the tender to outside parties from Delhi and Mumbai. Normally under Article 370, it should have been restricted to local people, but we would have not got more than 4 millions. A friend of a politician would have bought it and eventually this ‘friend’ would have entered into a lease agreement with the Mumbai businessman and will have pocketed the difference. The middle man would have got the benefit, not the State.

The local leaders started an agitation against me, because I was not respecting Article 370. They came in a delegation, it included the people from the area were the fire had erupted (and where there was no sewage). They told me that it is an infringement of Article 370. I told them: “Do you understand what it means for you Article 370?” They spoke of their self-identity. I told them: “I went to your colony and it was stinking, yourself told me that you were living in hell, now with this 60 millions I will provide you with proper sanitation. Do you want sanitation or Article 370?” They immediately understood.

It is vested interest who keeps this article 370 and do not allow outside investment to come. This article does not help anyone, it hampers economic development. It only helps politicians and narrow-minded people who work only for their selfish interest.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

Claude Arpi

Writes regularly on Tibet, China, India and Indo-French relations. He is the author of 1962 and the McMahon Line Saga, Tibet: The Lost Frontier and Dharamshala and Beijing: the negotiations that never were.

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13 thoughts on “‘Article 370 is a very misconceived Article’

  1. India needs to upgrade her national constitution at the earliest in respect with the new & old challenges it has been subjected to and which must include immediate & full abolition of the Article 370 for the benefits of the majority & minority peoples of the whole republic and all the international borders of the nation secured with complete water tight security where any intruder gets killed on the spot by the automated defensive system 24/7.

  2. Kashmir will be occupied by China if they gets freedom. Kashmir does not have enough resources to stay independent, they will spread more terrorism and it will create more problems. India won’t give Inch of Kashmir.

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  4. Very True Artcle 370 is promoting Exploitation of Poor Muslims , Hindus, Sikhs & Buddhist by Rich & political well Connected Muslims.
    Article 370 is imposed to Protect Muslim Majority only & what about all other three Minorities( Hindus , Sikhs & Buddhists ) who have been abused for all 60 years,
    Article 370 is best example of State Sponsored Communal Rule & permitted exploitation of Minorities( Hindus) by Indian National Congress

  5. Can the writer also give a complete answer to the question “I noticed recently in Jammu that Indian firms can not invest in Jammu & Kashmir because of the Article 370. How to develop in these conditions?” Mr. Jagmohan has only descriped one instance of an exception. Is the center really only spending and gaining nothing from this territory? Please suggest write ups that give clarity on these points – people really need to know and understand the dynamics before turning out to be conclusively harsh.

    • Yes Kashmiri can decide any time to be an independent country and all the investment will go for dust.
      India has paid a very heavy price for the kashmir valley obsession like liaquant nehru pact.

  6. Those who have called Art-370 as a bridge to link J&K with India need to know that (i) Jammu Kashmir Rajay acceded with India through Instrument of Accession as signed by Maharaj Hari Singh and through any thing like Art-370 (ii) Maharaja Hari Singh has no where said in the accession document that that it is being done after taking consent of the people of Jammu Kashmir ( ‘Kashmir Ghati’) and there was also no condition in the Indian Independence Act 1947 for such consent (iii) In case Art-370 is amended or abrogated still J&K Constitution would be there the Section-3 of which says that the State of Jammu and Kashmir is and shall be an integral part of the Union of India.(iv) Similarly in case Article-370 of COI is amended Art-1 of COI is there that describes J&K as territory of India in First Schedule (v) In part-XXI of Constitution of India Art-370 is mentioned as Temporary Provisions wrt the State of Jammu and Kashmir, so do those who plead that Art-370 can not go mean to say that the Authors of Constitution of India had temporarily included J&K in territory of India? In case they opine so then any fair mind would surely take pity on them(vi) It should also be understood that at Art 370( 1-c) it has been mentioned that the provisions of article I and of this article shall apply in relation to that State is not because Art-1 applies through Art-370 but Art-1 has been mentioned along with Article -370 there to demonstrate that Art-1 is totally an Indian Union subject ( Union subject) and no any clarifications / interpretations are to be made concerning any matter pertaining to Article-1 as has otherwise been made regarding other subjects to be seen as subjects of Union or State list.(vii) and there is no reference of grant of Special Status or Autonomy to J&K in article-370 or in any other chapter / article of Constitution of India. Omar Abdullah ji should exercise utmost care while making comments on such matters.dayasagr45@yahoo.com 941979696

  7. Article 370 is a dagger pointed at the heart of India. The creators of this debacle is the Congress Party which played the religious politics to win power at the time of partition. Their descendants the modern UPA team continue to justify special status for a religious minority whose only interest is to promote status quo until India can no longer afford to keep a large military force in the region. They wish to retain the right to turn over this most strategic geography of India to the enemy across the border based on religion not because of lack of freedom or individual rights. If this was a desolate peace of land perhaps political consideration could be debated. The fact of the matter is that Kashmir is the gateway for the terrorists into India, a land where two mortal enemies of India stare at India across the borders, and most of all an area which is the source for the major waterways into India. Every Indian owe it to the future to demand that the article 370 be torn and shredded to pieces for the sake of unity and integrity of India. Those who shout about the rights of the minority need to be confronted with the question, what about the rights of over billion Indians? The residents of Kashmir need to know that they are citizens of India first and then residents of the state. If they do not accept this fact, they should be given the right to move to Pakistan. The stakes are so high that if India needs to turn the entire state of Kashmir into a garrison state with restriction of individual rights, so be it. Letting Kashmir degenerate into another Afghanistan will be the beginning of the end of India itself.

      • Mr. Pronoy, Indians from all over India shed blood, tears and lives to protect Kashmir in the three wars with Pakistan. Do you think they fought willingly so that the residents of Kashmir some day could hand Kashmir over to Pakistan or have a right to break away from India? What about the rights of 1.2 billion Indians to be secure from the enemy and terrorism across the border? Kashmir is an integral part of the equation. The current residents of Kashmir do not have any more or any less rights on Kashmir than the residents of Kanyakumari. That is the ground reality of a democratic secular India and holds true for all states and territories under the Indian flag.

        • 1) If kashmir is an integral part then why nehru said it is a disputed territory and went crying to United Nation to solve it.
          2) India in order to keep kashmir valley had started saying that they don’t believe in two nation theory and has been doing muslim appeasement since then.
          3) forced muslims to stay in india by liaquat nehru pact.

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