Despite making the strategic error of marrying Kashmir's right – the PDP - Hindu right-wing BJP Prime Minister Narendra Modi was always with resolving what appeared to be an intractable imbroglio.
As long as Mufti Mohammed Sayeed was Chief Minister of the alliance, there was some modicum of order in the Valley, but in the first flush of coming to power influenced by his soft separatist mainstreaming violence doctrine following Mehbooba, the freeing of the dreaded Masrat Alam, ideological heir to Syed Ali Shah Geelani, created all-around consternation. The Muslim League ideologue and the architect of the intifada stone-pelting movement in Kashmir valley were shockingly released in early March 2015.
Running with the hounds and hunting with the wolves, Mehbooba actually lobbied for his freedom and on his release said there was “nothing wrong” in it. The sheer brazenness of the attitude in what was nothing but pure blackmail convinced the PM to deal with the Kashmir bogey. Being tantamount to breach of faith, the BJP was stunned, to say the least.
A round of Islamophobia, Muslim bashing and finally a Jackboot tactic was used even as Mufti himself passed away and his daughter took centre-stage. By then Wahhabi Islamic indoctrination had spread far and wide due to the dark web and TOR. When push came to shove with the religious divide between Hindu Jammu and Muslim Valley accentuating, the road to perdition was near.
This manifested itself with the withdrawal of support from the Mehbooba Government. Even as things spiralled out of control, a new Governor was sent to take charge of the Valley. Presidential order to transfer power of assembly to Parliament was passed in 2018 using the power of President under Article 356.
A systematic plan was now put in place. In order to validate this further and remove objection from the Supreme Court, the SC/ST amendment was passed and as expected, the court did not say anything.
The chessboard then came alive. What this did was the validation given to SC/ST Bill, the primacy of the Governor became paramount. Using the precedent of 1952, the power of the constituent assembly is transferred to the State assembly. And the power of the state assembly was already with the Governor since 2018.
The PM had made his move in June 2018 itself. And when the Governor got a sniff of a coalition in J&K, he dissolved the Assembly. So, the whole controversy about dissolution was a part of this smoke and mirrors strategic imperative.
* Form government to dissolve at right time;
* Withdraw support to empower Governor;
* Controversial dissolution and President’s rule;
* Use Art 356 to empower Governor;
* Validate from SC using SC/ST bill;
* Use 1952 precedent to transfer power to Assembly, which means Governor now.
The real test was time of withdrawal from government. BJP withdrew just a year before the general election. Now they just had to wait till the Election Commission announced dates of elections. But J&K parties attempted to form a coalition before this could happen. But Governor Satyapal Malik trumped them.
This early dissolution created another problem. Now the elections could be held with the general election. But the Home Ministry raised security issue and elections were delayed. The power was still with the Governor. Mehbooba understood this game so did Omar Abdullah.
But the Election commission didn’t relent. Now, no threat to the power of Governor till LS 2019.
Now the time was ripe to pass the SC/ST Amendment Bill, thus, establishing the powers of Governor.
In this Bill consent of Governor was construed as consent of the state Assembly. The Supreme Court accepted.
From forming a government to withdrawing at the right time, giving power to the Governor using Article 356 to passing SC/ST Bill to validate his power, the BJP managed media, Opposition, judiciary and naysayers within their own ranks.
While everyone was speculating on the future of J&K, the BJP was creating a rift within NC and PDP. The sole aim was to delay the coalition as much as possible. Even if Mehbooba wanted a coalition with Omar, BJP made sure that they fell short of numbers.
The brute mandate in the Lok Sabha elections and the election manifesto promise of the scrapping of Article 35A convinced PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah to expedite the process. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval was part of this highly secretive exercise. On Sunday evening, Home Minister Amit Shah made the phone call to the two intelligence chiefs: Director Intelligence Bureau Arvind Kumar and RAW Chief Samant Goel.
This is when the lockdown trap was laid including the detention of Mehbooba and Omar Abdullah. The expediency arose from RAW Chief Goel briefing of the PM on the fluid Afghan situation. Goel highlighted the impending compact between the US and the Pakistan-supported Taliban by September 1 following which Washington could choose to reward Islamabad for its role with the resumption of military and economic aid.
That could lead to an intensification of Islamabad’s direct and indirect sponsorship of terror groups operating in Kashmir. An American drawdown from Afghanistan would strengthen Pakistan’s position even further and with India being kept out of the dialogue there, Pakistan enlarging the scope of its involvement would certainly hamper India’s interests. (IANS)