Kashmir has long been a fault line that has blighted relations between Pakistan and India. It has led to several wars and the recent action by the Indian government to revoke its special status has generated intense debate within India itself. This in-depth article gives two perspectives from that debate….
India’s decision to revoke Article 370, which gave special status for the part of Kashmir it controls has caused sharp political divisions. In this article, two different views are put forward. One comes from Baijayant Jay Panda and Shashi Tharoor. The two responses stand alone and are not responses to each other.
The following are excerpts of the argument that each put forward.
Kashmir now has the potential to be infinitely better
Baijayant Jay Panda is a four-time MP and a national Vice President of India’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
It is hard to predict how a defanged Article 370 could in practice be any worse than the decades during which it prevailed.
That era saw well over 40,000 deaths in Kashmir as well as two wars and a limited conflict fought over the region by India and Pakistan. It also saw the brutal persecution of hundreds of thousands of its minority upper-caste Hindu Pandit community, who were forced out of the region in the 1990s as Muslim militancy grew.
‘The Kashmir move is a betrayal of democracy’
Shashi Tharoor is a Congress party MP and former diplomat
Many, however, worry that the short and medium-term damage caused by this decision will greatly outweigh the theoretical long-term benefits.
First and foremost is the violence to India’s democratic culture: the government has changed the basic constitutional relationship of the people of Jammu and Kashmir to the republic of India without consulting them or their elected representatives.
The legal sleight of hand employed here sends ominous signals to other Indian states: if it can be done to Jammu and Kashmir, it can be done to you in future.