Article 370: Indian-Americans hail bold step on J&K

Women put sweets in each others mouths during celebrations for the move to remove Article 370 for special status for Jammu and Kashmir (Photo AFP)

Indian Americans on Monday congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Union Home Minister Amit Shah for "taking the bold step" to revoke Article 370, which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

Article 370 scrapped: Live Updates

The Indian government abolished Article 370 and moved a separate bill to split the state into two union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh Article 370 granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir and allowed it to have its own flag and constitution, among other rights. Applauding the move to revoke Article 370, US-based Foundation for India and Indian Diaspora Studies (FIIDS) said the temporary constitutional provision had created a permanent situation of bloodshed in the Valley and choked prosperity in Jammu and Kashmir.

It expressed hope that the newly-introduced Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation bill will bring peace and development in both J&K and Ladakh.

"We congratulate Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister (Amit) Shah for taking this bold step. It was long due, but it took the courage and vision of Prime Minister Modi to remove this unjust provision," said Jagdish Sewhani, president of American India Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

Several Indian-Americans are ready to invest in tourism and other sectors of J&K and Laddakh, he said.

Indian American Forum for Political Education (IAFPE) president Sampat Shivangi said it "is a historic and a very bold act" by Modi and Shah. They have "given a gift to the nation" in the run-up to the Independence Day celebrations on August 15, he added.

He said, "One can see the celebrations in Streets of India with joy and jubilation which I am witnessing firsthand as I am in India and am part of this historic party. This revocation of article 370 was long overdue a Nehruvian blunder the nation had to go through for the last 70 years ravishing the economy of Kashmiris and rest of India."

However, US experts and think-tank community said it was too early to comment on the long-term consequences of the move and act was a risky decision with almost unfathomable implication.

"Too early to say if the revocation of J&K's special status will end up being seen as a wise decision or a historic blunder," said Sadanand Dhume, a member of the American Enterprise Institute and a columnist of The Wall Street Journal.

"But two things are clear: India has ignored Kashmiri sentiment, and taken a risky decision with almost unfathomable implications," he tweeted.

Ashutosh Varshney, author and Sol Goldman Professor of International Studies, tweeted, "The real questions are legal & constitutional. Can Art. 370 be scrapped with an executive order, or through a constitutional amendment?"

"Should the status of a state, which joined Indian Union on the basis of a special clause, be reversed without consulting all stakeholders? Should Delhi impose its will on a state, when federalism is a basic and inalienable feature of the Constitution?" Varshney, who is also the director of the Centre for Contemporary South Asia, Brown University, asked.

Michael Kugelman, senior associate at the Woodrow Wilson Centre said the revocation of Article370 is a "major tipping point for an already-fraught dispute".

"It’s hard to overstate the magnitude of this move," he said.

Meanwhile, dissident Pakistani journalist Taha Siddiqui slammed Pakistan for its double standards.

"Dear fellow Pakistanis! Why the selective outrage over...Kashmir but absolute silence over state abuses in Pashtun, Baloch & other regions within Pakistan? Why such hypocrisy/double standards?" he tweeted. 

Comments (+)