26 July, 2021

A Deferred Destiny

The rejection of the J&K assembly’s autonomy resolution only defers India’s day of reckoning in Kashmir.

A Deferred Destiny

Recently, the Indian cabinet unequivocally turned down the idea of increased autonomy for Jammu and Kashmir. The J&K assembly resolution had called for a restoration of the state’s pre-1953 status. From a nationalist Kashmiri perspective, this would surely be the desired maximum autonomy they might have hoped for. But instead of seriously engaging with the prospect for autonomy, the Vajpayee government simply rejected the resolution. This was, most assuredly, a squandered opportunity.

The state assembly resolution offered a point of departure for a negotiated devolution of the powers of the state to the three culturally distinct regions of J&K-the Valley, Ladakh and Jammu-powers usurped by the Centre over the decades. To reject the resolution out of hand amounts to closing a door that might have been opened on to a path leading towards both addressing the sources of discontent that had spawned the insurgency and in reaching a settlement. Prior to 1953, J&K enjoyed an extraordinary degree of autonomy under the aegis of the Indian Constitution. Under the terms...

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