Past few weeks have been tense in Kashmir. Multiple state government orders directing hoarding of medicine at hospitals and setting a deadline for the food department to complete the distribution of rations in the Valley have led to a spate of rumours and speculations in the Valley. The arrest of the JKLF supremo Yasin Malik and crackdown on Jamaat-i-Islami has only added to a very fraught situation. What is more, hundred more companies of the paramilitary forces have been rushed to the state. Though J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik has played down the government orders on medicines, food and fuel as routine and the security brass has explained that the more security personnel were needed for the upcoming elections, this has done little to calm the frayed nerves of the people. For the measures that are being undertaken have followed immediately after the Pulwama attack that killed more than 4O CRPF personnel. This has caused widespread anger and grief across the country which in turn has led to calls for revenge against Pakistan, blamed for Pulwama bombing. As a result, the region seems to be teetering on the brink of a war with Kashmir once again serving as a trigger for it. The ongoing developments in Kashmir therefore are taking on a dimension far bigger than their literal purpose.
People thus fear the worst. And the prospect of the war is not the only thing that is keeping people on the edge. Kashmir has much more to worry. Considering the Kashmir-specific nature of the developments, people have a reason to apprehend that the union government may be mulling something extraordinary in regard to the state itself. And the biggest such fear is something drastic may happen with regard to the special constitutional position of the state. More so, when the Supreme Court is due to hear the petitions challenging the Article 35A. Some reports in media have said that instead of defending the Article or adopting a neutral stance, the union government will side with the petitioners on the issue. If anything, this would mean further weakening of the J&K’s defense of the article. That too at a time when the state is under the Governor’s rule. And should, as a result, an adverse decision be passed against Article 35A, it would throw Kashmir into turmoil and would further reduce chances of reconciliation, as also warned by several major mainstream leaders. It is thus important that the centre acts with farsightedness on the state and doesn’t closes doors of engagement and resolution of the basic issue over the state.
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