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Mainstream, VOL LIV No 30 New Delhi July 16, 2016

SC’s Arunachal Verdict, Kashmir on the Boil

Sunday 17 July 2016, by SC


Once again the judiciary has come to the rescue of the democratic forces.

As was aptly mentioned in The Times of India today, the five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court yesterday ordered reinstatement of the Nabam Tuki-led Congress Government in Arunachal Pradesh pulling the rug from under the Kalikho Pul Government—it was a unanimous decision of the Bench that “dealt a heavy bow to the Centre, which is still smarting from the setback it suffered barely two months ago when the SC struck down Central rule in Uttarakhand, clearing the way for the Harish Rawat-led Congress Govern-ment to return”.

The latest SC judgement doubtless amounts to a severe indictment of the Arunachal Pradesh Governor, J.P. Rajkhowa, for his unwarranted steps devoid of any constitutional backing.

The SC verdict, which upholds democratic principles and values in both letter and spirit, is definitely a setback to the BJP’s nefarious designs at least in the North-East for the present. There were strong fears that after Arunachal the ruling party at the Centre would play the same game and destabilise the State governments of Manipur, Meghalaya and Mizoram. Hopefully the SC verdict would help stall all such attempts.

Meanwhile the events in the Kashmir Valley have caused serious concern among all democrats including informed observers. Following the encounter killing of the young Kashmiri militant, Burhan Wani, the insurgency has taken a new turn. With three more killed in fresh violence and firing in different areas the death toll has risen till this point in time to 36 and is bound to rise further. Reports also disclose that there are till date 20 patients who have suffered pellet injuries in the eye. As Happymon Jacob, Associate Professor of Diplomacy and Disarmament Studies at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, observed in a perceptive article in The Hindu,

The writing on the wall has been clear to those who cared to read it: that Kashmir would soon bounce back to the days of home-grown insurgency, with religious radicalisation acting as a force multiplier this time. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government in New Delhi, in its impatient race for power in Srinagar, did not care to read the signs, and when told, it didn’t care to listen.

When he was enjoying his stay in Africa recently, the PM remained totally unconcerned about the Kashmir situation. (What a contrast with US President Barack Obama who cut short his visit to Europe on learning of the developments in Dallas!) However, on his return to New Delhi, Modi did issue a statement calling upon the security forces to desist from the disproportionate use of force. But one wonders if it was a case of too little too late.

Unless immediate measures are taken to tackle the fast-deteriorating situation, it would be most difficult to bring the Valley back to normalcy. For that to happen military means must give way to political dialogue. Are the authorities in charge listening?

July 14                    S.C.

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