During a recent conversation with a Pakistani-origin journalist on the Clubhouse app, Congress leader Digvijay Singh stirred the hornet’s nest by hinting at reversing the decision by the Modi government to revoke Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir. The decision was taken on 5th August 2019 by the Modi government in a bid to fully integrate Jammu and Kashmir with the rest of India by revoking the draconian provisions of the article.
Shahzeb Jillani, the Pakistani journalist currently residing in Germany, had claimed that he was shocked at the changing landscape of politics and Indian society under the Modi regime. He alleged that the freedom of the press in India has shrunk and that the revocation of Article 370 has strained the relationship between India and Pakistan. Interestingly, Jillani also said that it is only in the last couple of months that he can notice how the media is speaking up against the Narendra Modi government.
“If and when this government goes and India does get rid of PM Modi, what will be the way forward on Kashmir? I know it is on the margins because of what is going on in India right now. But this is an issue that has existed between the two countries for so long,” Shahzeb Jillani asked Digvijay Singh.
According to his Twitter profile, Jillani is a former BBC correspondent in Pakistan, Beirut, Washington and London. He was earlier also associated with the DW news. However, while introducing himself to Congress leader Digvijay Singh, Jillani said that he is currently working with DW news and was born in Sindh, Pakistan.
“I sincerely believe what is dangerous to the society is the religious fundamentalism, be it the Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs or whatever. Religious fundamentalism leads to hatred, and hatred leads to violence…”, Digvijay Singh replied. He added, “Therefore, I think malice, disease, and the virus are religious fundamentalism. Every society/religious group has to realise that everyone has the right to follow their tradition/faith. No one has the right to impose his faith/feelings/religion on anyone else.”
Furthermore, the Congress leader alleged, “Democracy was not there in Kashmir when they revoked Article 370. Insaniyat (humanity) was not there because they put everyone behind bars. And Kashmiriyat is something that is fundamental to secularism. Because in a Muslim-majority State, there was a Hindu Raja (king).”
“Both worked together. In fact, the reservation in Kashmir was given to Kashmiri Pandits in government services. Therefore, revoking Article 370 and reducing the Statehood of J&K is an extremely sad decision. We (Congress party) will certainly have to relook at this issue,” he concluded.
Not only does Digvijay Singh promise to revoke the decision by the Modi government to revoke Article 370, which essentially kept Jammu and Kashmir as an arm separate from the rest of India since independence, with the Congress governments fanning that tension, he also seemed to whitewash the genocide of Hindus from the valley. When Digvijay Singh says that Kashmiri Pandits were the ones who got reservations in jobs, he says that the Hindus of the valley were treated well by the Muslims of the state completely glossing over the genocide where Hindus were raped, murdered and driven away from Kashmir by Muslim fundamentalists and Jihadis.
Abrogation of Article 370 by the Modi government
In the manifesto, BJP had promised to repeal Article 370 from the state of Jammu and Kashmir that gave it special status. On 5th August 2019, the BJP-led Union government fulfilled the promise. The state was divided into two Union Territories, Ladakh, and Jammu & Kashmir, under Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act. The decision came into effect on 31st October 2019.