A month back, the Wire had a shrieking headline which said “The Constitution is allowing the Continued Discrimination against of Valmikis in J&K“. This was about the 206-272 families of Dalits who had now grown to 636 families. Same old obsession with Dalits, right?
Anti-Dalit Article 370
Well, it so happened that in 1957, there was a major sanitation crisis in the state of Jammu & Kashmir. The local sweeper’s union went on an indefinite strike demanding better wages. The protest went on for months and many cities had become garbage dumps. At that time, the then ‘Prime Minister’ Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad of Jammu & Kashmir had decided to bring in safai karamcharis from other states. And when they came, they were given housing and also a promise of permanent residence.
But Article 35A stopped them from having any educational, work, voting and residential rights in the state. The result was that generations of Dalits (Valmikis) lived without education or better jobs or even voting rights.
When the voting happened for Article 370, the biggest surprise for everyone was how come Aam Aadmi Party and Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party voted along with BJP in favor of revoking the Article? Well, its genesis and reason were in that “harmless” decision by J&K leader to bring in the Dalits.
That is why when the Home Minister Amit Shah stated in Rajya Sabha that – 370 ensures there is no right to education for the children of Kashmir. Dalits, OBCs in the state don’t get any reservation because of 370… Can the advocates of Article 370 explain why this should be? – no one really had any counter-argument.
Anti-women Article 370
IN 2017, a 5 member bench of Supreme Court comprising multi-faith judges – Chief Justice JS Khehar, a Sikh, Justices Kurian Joseph a Christian, RF Nariman a Parsi, UU Lalit a Hindu and Abdul Nazeer a Muslim – gave a 397-page ruling where 3 Justices voted against Instant triple talaq (talaq-e-biddat), while 2 voted in favor of it. The Triple Talaq was held unconstitutional and barred as a practice.
Despite the Triple Talaq ruling by Supreme Court in May 2017, 100 cases had still occurred. The Modi Government brought a bill to the Parliament in August 2017. On December 28, 2017 the Lok Sabha passed the bill to ban Triple Talaq. IN December 2018, Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Ordinance, 2018 was passed by the Modi Government. As the ordinance was to expire on 22nd January 2019, the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018 was introduced in Lok Sabha and passed.
But the bill did not pass in Rajya Sabha. SO the government re-promulgated the ordinance on Jan 10, 2019. The bill was again introduced in the Parliament on June 21, 2019. This time it was passed by Lok Sabha on 25th July 2019 and then by Rajya Sabha on 30th July 2019!
But 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!
Thus Amit Shah was able to characterize Article 370 as anti-women.
The pieces were being put in place and everyone was thinking that Modi government was trying to indulge in Muslim appeasement.
FATF Grey List and Pakistan’s Economy
In early 2018, the Paris based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) placed 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)“.
The ramifications of this placement meant that the banking channels of Pakistan were impacted negatively. Not just that, there were severe implications for imports, exports, remittances, and access to international lending!
This indeed had a direct impact on the forex reserves of Pakistan which fell to less than 2 weeks requirement.
Despite dilly-dallying for many months, the new Pakistani Prime Minister had to go to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to secure a $6 billion bailout package.
Interestingly, the IMF loan package has been intricately tied to the FATF clearances on Pakistan.
Highlighting five major risks to $6 billion Fund programme, the IMF’s Resident Chief, Teresa Daban Sanchez, has said that Pakistan’s failure to get out of FATF grey list could have implications on capital inflows jeopardizing foreign financing assurances. (source)
With their economic viability in doldrums and as Pakistani Rupee continues to fall (from 120PKR/USD in October 2018 to close to 160PKR/USD) and the forex reserves continuing to fall – $7767 mn as of July 26, 2019; the future of Pakistan is closely tied to their clearances from FATF. An organization that is keeping a close watch on Pakistan’s support of terror activities.
IN May 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!
As was the case earlier – Kashmir’s issue was always handled by ISI and Pakistani Army with the help of the terror organizations. India has, over the last 5 years tightened the screws on Pakistan as Pakistan’s economy goes down in the tube.
Many analysts in Pakistan believe that Modi’s trips to Saudi Arabia, UAE and other countries from where the remittances back to Pakistan were the highest led to sacking and throwing out of Pakistanis from the jobs there. And that severely impacted the forex inflows thus starting the decisive downward spiral for Pakistan’s economy!
Thus sliding of the economy, the tightening of the screws on the falling economy, and the linking of terrorism support to any bail-out of that almost bankrupt economy – are all tied together.
UN Resolutions, Shimla Agreement made irrelevant in one go – No Dispute left
Suddenly, in one go – something has vanished into thin air. The dispute between India and Pakistan.
The dispute was when Kashmir was a “disputed territory”. Now Jammu and Kashmir is a Union Territory ruled by an Indian Constitution and governed by the Center. It is not a state with a “special status” in India and disputed by Pakistan, but an integral part of India.
Kashmir is now India.
So, where is the dispute?
The entire narrative of UN Resolutions and the plebiscite et al – are all irrelevant now.
The Shimla Agreement. That shameful agreement when India held 93,000 Pakistani PoWs and gave all of them away basis an agreement that called for bilateral resolution of disputes. That is now rendered irrelevant.
The three main clauses were:
- A mutual commitment to the peaceful resolution of all issues through direct bilateral approaches.
- To build the foundations of a cooperative relationship with a special focus on people to people contacts.
- To uphold the inviolability of the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, which is a most important CBM between India and Pakistan, and a key to durable peace.
Line of Control is when you have “control” over some territory. When something is part of you, it is not Control. It is your border.
So Jammu and Kashmir is now not the Line of Control, it is your border. J&K is not “India Occupied Kashmir” – it is India.
PoK – Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, on the other hand, is a land in occupation. And, now the focus can shift to that as the disputed land and region.
In one swoop, the UN Resolutions that had become the war cry of every ill-read Indian and Pakistani are gone.
To better appreciate this analysis, one must listen to what Pakistan’s foremost political commentator, Najam Sethi, says in his program last night.
CheckMate by Amit Shah and Modi
You see there were multiple pieces in play.
- The majority in Rajya Sabha at any cost. Even bringing in the rapists in Goa and unscrupulous elements.
- The travels to the Middle East and subsequent sacking of Pakistanis and the steep fall in remittances and forex reserves of Pakistan
- Fall in exports and economic crisis
- The pushing of FATF grey list for Pakistan and linking IMF loan to FATF clearances in case Pakistan pushed for terrorism
- Trump’s offer to mediate in “Kashmir dispute” and India’s pushback
- Dalit agitation and Supreme Court case and strong reaction in the Leftist and anti-BJP press against the impact of Articles 35A and 370 on Dalits
- Triple Talaq bill and its non-applicability in Kashmir
Abhijit Iyer-Mitra shares many other links as well in the vast chess game, but most of his assertions are local and internal to India.
What happened in Parliament today was not some badly thought-out electoral promise but the culmination of a 4D chess game that Amit Shah had conceived of in 2014, while his opponents were playing Tic-Tac-Toe and were busy posturing.
This game was however much broader. It involved many players and many influencers.
In the end, every piece fell in place. 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. The chess pieces laid out by Modi and Shah were done brilliantly. And while everyone was looking elsewhere, the story of Kashmir as part of India was coming together.
A story that will have an impact on many thousands of years to come. It will reverberate in the sub-continent the way Chauhan’s killing or Guru Gobind Singh’s death impacts India of today.