Article 370 perfectly scrapped: How the Modi govt executed the tricky move with complete precision

Learning from past violence over Afzal Guru and Burhan Wani, the govt maintained tight secrecy, moved troops into the state in advance and restricted rumour-mongers.

 |  3-minute read |   05-08-2019
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The day Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru was hanged, at least 40 people were injured in clashes that broke out in Kashmir. The injured reportedly included 23 policemen, deployed to control the violent mobs.

That was February 9, 2013.

A day before the hanging was executed, then-Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde reportedly called Omar Abdullah, who was the chief minister of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, informing him about the decision — the call that came on the evening of February 8 reportedly asked Abdullah to maintain law and order in the state. While police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were deployed, the Army wasn’t called in.

In 2016, 8,932 civilians and 8,378 security personnel were injured in the wake of the violence that followed the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen's poster boy terrorist Burhan Wani by security forces.

Much before all of these, in 2008, at least 12 people were killed and another 100 injured — following a dispute over the transfer of 99 acres of land to the Amarnath Shrine Board.

The protests then widened to become pro-independence rallies, some of the biggest since a separatist revolt broke out in the region in 1989.

Cut to 2019 — and it looks like the Narendra Modi-led BJP government pre-empted the violence that could have erupted upon Article 370 being revoked and J&K being bifurcated into two Union Territories — J&K (with legislature) and Ladakh (without a legislature) — with no proper security arrangements in place.

The government did not rely on police and CRPF this time — it instead moved heavy contingents of army personnel into the Valley to ensure that law and order is not disturbed.

Ahead of the announcement, the government imposed Section 144 in several districts of the state.

The state of Jammu and Kashmir was plunged into panic since last week after the government gave an order to deploy 280 companies in the state on security measures.

According to reports, on August 4, the government alerted advisories for communally sensitive areas across the country to ensure the move could be implemented as smoothly as possible.

The government also asked all tourists to leave the Valley before the order came in.

There are questions over why the government did not wait for the Amarnath Yatra to get over before making the announcement.

The answer is simple — by then, the Parliament session would have ended and it is in the House that the announcement was to be made.

Parliament’s Budget session is already on extension. The session which began on June 17 was to end on July 26 but has been extended till August 7.

amit-690_080519024412.jpgNow we know: The BJP extended Parliament's Budget session apparently to announce the abrogation of Article 370. (Source: TV grab/Rajya Sabha TV)

To reportedly prevent local political groups from spreading panic, the government also put Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah and several other leaders under house arrest. 

The government managed to keep the secret well-guarded and allowed no slips.

While speculation of all kinds kept floating about, the government allowed no leaks from its side and everybody was kept guessing till the end on what the moves were for.

The government cannot let its guard down just as yet.

There is every possibility that there could be major trouble once the telephone connections are restored and the internet starts working. The onus will be on the government to ensure there isn’t bloodshed and breakdown of law and order.

That is what we all need to watch out for now.

Also read: Why we need to get rid of Article 370

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