Kashmir’s economy is largely dominated by tourism and allied industry in some parts, fruits and agriculture in others
The BJP government picked a brilliant timeframe to scrap the Articles 370 and 35A that stripped J&K of its special status. Kashmir is a very sensitive issue in the Indian political spectrum. The political parties of India barely find common ground when it comes to sensitive decisions regarding Kashmir. But Amit Shah's swift move gave the opposition little time to regroup on the Kashmir issues after a protracted Talaq jolt.
With the scrapping of the Articles that provided Kashmir special autonomy, separate flag and dual citizenship for its denizens, the J&K will now become a Union Territory instead of an independent state. The BJP government believes it will integrate the state into the UT and India's claim on the state - which has been the most militarized region of the world for decades -will get cemented.
Addressing the Parliament on Tuesday, Amit Shah said the Indian government's Kashmir move is "not a political" one. Amit Shah's statement is partly correct because along with politics, scrapping the Articles has a lot to do with the economy.
The Article 370 granted the Indian government power over Kashmir's foreign affairs, defense, finance and communications, but allowed Kashmir's state legislature to independently decide laws of citizenship, ownership of property, and fundamental rights of the residents of Jammu & Kashmir. This had often served to hold back big investment and larger projects in the region, as large companies were discouraged from investing in Kashmir.
Kashmir's economy is largely dominated by tourism and allied industry in some parts, fruits and agriculture in others. These areas of business have been dominated solely by the Kashmiri people as big investors and corporations stayed away from Kashmir due to apprehension over the availability of the lands.
After the scraping of the Articles come into effect, big investors will get interested to invest in Kashmir. The big companies will find efficient workforce they need to build business empires in Kashmir, as citizens from other states will be able to relocate there.
Arvind Kejriwal, an opposition leader and fierce critic of BJP, announced his support for the BJP government's move saying he hoped "this will bring peace and development in the state," through a Twitter post.
For BJP, this Kashmir move is a huge blow against Pakistan. Since partition of India, the BJP and a majority of Indian politicians have believed that Pakistan plays an active role in destabilizing Kashmir. Recently, after the bilateral meeting with the Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, President Donald Trump proposed to mediate a dialogue between the two countries on the Kashmir issue.
Donald Trump's proposal and the claim that the Indian PM asked for his help to mediate in settling the Kashmir crisis threw the BJP government in a PR crisis. Although the Indian government unequivocally rejected President Trump's statement, Modi needed to come up with a stronger step regarding Kashmir. Finally, Modi has delivered on what he promised in his manifesto during the last parliamentary election of India.
The BJP move to strip J&K of its special status and autonomy has been well received by some parts of the opposition parties. Congress MLA Aditi Singh, an opposition leader, said she is "in absolute support of the decision. It will help in integrating J&K into the mainstream. It's a historic decision. It should not be politicized. As an MLA, in my capacity, I welcome this decision."
The Modi camp created an unprecedented wave of saffronisation during the last national election. With this new bold decision of the BJP leadership that received all out support from its base and other parts, BJP can dream of the Modi mania spreading to all other states where the weakening Congress and local political parties still hold majority.
With the scraping of the Article 370 and Article 35A, the Kashmiri youths' dream of Azaadi might just have been buried. The future of Azadi movement will find little ground to flourish in Kashmiri lands with new laws in place that impose the Indian constitution directly and equally on the Kashmiri youths.
The BJP government, however, isn't satisfied with scrapping the special status of J&K only. The BJP leadership wants to make it "absolutely clear that every single time we say Jammu and Kashmir, it includes Pak-occupied Kashmir. Let there be no doubt over it. Entire Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of the Union of India," Amit Shah said in his address in the parliament on Tuesday.