REGIONAL DISCONTENT

REGIONAL DISCONTENT

 

Topic
Jammu & Kashmir issue
Punjab Issue
Problems in North East

 

 

JAMMU & KASHMIR ISSUE
  • As we have studied that in 1951, the UN passed a resolution providing for a referendum under UN supervision after Pakistan had withdrawn its troops from the part of Kashmir under its control.
  • The resolution has remained infructuous since Pakistan has refused to withdraw its forces from what is known as Azad Kashmir.
  • Since then Kashmir has been the main obstacle in the path of friendly relations between India and Pakistan.
  • Also, Article 370 of the constitution, which gives greater autonomy to it as compare to other states in the country.
  • All provisions of Indian constitution are not applicable to the state. The Laws passed by the Parliament apply to J&K only if the state agrees. J&K has its own constitution too.
  • There is a section of people and parties outside J&K that believes that the special status of the state doesn’t allow full integration of the state with India. Hence, it should be revoked.
  • By 1989, the J&K state had come in the grip of a militant movement mobilised around the cause of a separate Kashmiri region.
  • The insurgents get moral, material and military support from Pakistan and Separatist Politics has taken different forms and made up of various strands.
  • From 1990 onwards, Pakistan started supporting state sponsored Terrorism in India especially in Kashmir and Security forces which still exist as a main security challenge before India.
  • In August, 2019 BJP led NDA government had revoked the Article 370 and divided the state into two union Territories – Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh, thus it made the integration of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh in India in a complete manner.
  • Also, the separatists have been sidelined forever by the NDA government.

 

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN INDIA AND J&K
  • In pursuance of the provisions of Article 370, the President issued an order called the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1950, to specify the Union’s jurisdiction over the state.
  • In 1952, the Government of India and the State of J&K entered into an agreement at Delhi regarding their future relationship. In 1954, the Constituent Assembly of J&K approved the state’s accession to India as well as the Delhi Agreement.
  • Then, the President issued another order with the same title, that is, the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir), Order, 1954. This order superseded the earlier order of 1950 and extended the Union’s jurisdiction over the state. This is the basic order that, as amended and modified from time to time, regulates the constitutional position of the state and its relationship with the Union.

 

ARTICLE 370
  • In pursuance of this commitment, Article 370 was incorporated in the Constitution of India. It clearly states that the provisions with respect to the State of J&K are only temporary and not permanent.
  • It became operative on 17 November 1952, with the following provisions:
  • The provisions of Article 238 (dealing with the administration of Part B states) is applicable to the state of J&K. The state of J&K was specified in the category of Part B states in the original Constitution (1950). This Article in Part VII was subsequently omitted from the Constitution by the 7th Constitutional Amendment Act (1956) in the wake of the re-organisation of states.
  • The power of Parliament to make laws for the state is limited to:
  • Those matters in the Union List and the Concurrent List which correspond to matters specified in the state’s Instrument of Accession. These matters are to be declared by the president in consultation with the state government. The Instrument of Accession contained matters classified under four heads, namely, external affairs, defence, communications and ancillary matters.
  • Such other matters in the Union List and the Concurrent List which are specified by the president with the concurrence of the state government. This means that laws can be made on these matters only with the consent of the State of J&K.
  • The provisions of Article 1 (declaring India as a Union of states and its territory) and Article (that is, Article 370) are applicable to the State of J&K.
  • Besides above, the other provisions of the Constitution can be applied to the state with such exceptions and modifications as specified by the President in consultation with the state government or with the concurrence of the state government.
  • The President can declare that Article 370 ceases to be operative or operates with exceptions and modifications. However, this can be done by the President only on the recommendation of Constituent Assembly of the state. Therefore, Article 370 makes Article 1 and Article 370 itself applicable to the State of J&K at once and authorises the president to extend other Articles to the state.

 

External and Internal Disputes:
EXTERNAL ISSUE

Externally, Pakistan has always claimed that Kashmir valley should be part of Pakistan. Pakistan sponsored a tribal invasion of the State in 1947, as a consequence of which one part of the State came under Pakistani control. India claims that this area is under illegal occupation. Pakistan describes this area as ‘Azad Kashmir’. Ever since 1947, Kashmir has remained a major issue of conflict between India and Pakistan.

 

INTERNAL ISSUE

Internally, there is a dispute about the status of Kashmir within the Indian Union. Kashmir was given a special status by Article 370 in our Constitution. Article 370 gives greater autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir compared to other States of India. The State has its own Constitution. All provisions of the Indian Constitution are not applicable to the State. Laws passed by the Parliament apply to J&K only if the State agrees.

 

PUNJAB ISSUE

Background-

  • After partition, the Sikhs were now a majority in the state of Punjab. Hence to fulfill this demand, during the 1970s a section of Akalis began to demand political autonomy for the region.
  • They passed a resolution in this regard in their Anandpur Sahib Conference in 1973. This resolution asserted regional autonomy and wanted to redefine centre-state relationship in the country.
  • They declared their goal of attaining bolbala (dominance or hegemony) of the Sikhs. However, this didn’t mean separation from India.
  • The more extreme elements started advocating secession from India & demanded “Khalistan” under the leadership of Bhindrawala.

 

ROOTS OF COMMUNALISMPOST-1947

Two major issues, which were in themselves secular but were communalized by Sikh and Hindu communalists, dominated Punjab politics till 1966.

The first issue was that of state language:

  • to decide what was to be the language of administration and schooling in bilingual Punjab. The Hindu communalists wanted this status for Hindi and the Sikh communalists for Punjabi in the Gurmukhi script.
  • The government tried to resolve the problem by dividing Punjab into two— Punjabi and Hindi—linguistic zones. But the Hindu communalists opposed the decisions to make the study of Punjabi, along with Hindi, compulsory in all schools and Punjabi being made the only official language for district administration in the Punjabi linguistic zone.
  • Even more contentious was the problem of the script for Punjabi. Traditionally, for centuries, Punjabi had been written in Urdu, Gurmukhi and Devanagari (Hindi) scripts.
  • However, dissociating Punjabi from its common cultural background, the Akalis demanded that Gurmukhi alone should be used as the script for Punjabi. The Hindu communal organizations insisted on Devanagari also being used along with Gurmukhi.
  • The issue was given a strong communal complexion by both the Sikh and Hindu communalists.

 

Second issue – Punjabi Suba

  • In the 1950s and 1960s, linguistic issues in India caused civil disorder when the central government declared Hindi as the main official language of India.
  • For demanding Punjabi to be the official language of the Punjab a total of 12000 Sikhs were arrested for their peaceful demonstrations in 1955 including several Akali leaders.
  • The nationwide movement of linguistic groups seeking statehood resulted in a massive reorganisation of states according to linguistic boundaries in 1956.
  • At that time, Indian Punjab had its capital in Shimla, and though the vast majority of the Sikhs lived in Punjab, they still did not form a majority.
  • But if Haryana and Himachal could be separated Sikhs could have a Punjab in which they could form a majority of 60 per cent against the Hindus being 40 per cent. The Akali Dal, Sikh dominated political party active mainly in Punjab, sought to create a Punjabi Suba. This case was presented to the States Reorganisation Commission established in 1953.

 

ECONOMIC IMPACTS OF THE GREEN REVOLUTION

While the Green Revolution in Punjab had several positive impacts, the introduction of the mechanised agricultural techniques led to unemployment. The unemployed youth could have been absorbed by industrial development, but the Indian government had been reluctant to set up heavy industries in Punjab due to its status as a high-risk border state with Pakistan. The resulting unemployed rural Sikh youth were drawn to the militant groups, and formed the backbone of the militancy.

 

 

PAKISTAN INVOLVEMENT
  • Pakistan has been deeply involved in the training, guiding and arming Sikh militants. Wadhawa Singh, Chief Babbar Khalsa International (BKI), Lakhbir Singh Rode, Chief, International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF), and Ranjit Singh Neeta, Chief, Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF) permanently based in Pakistan, have been co-ordinating militant activities of their outfits in Punjab and elsewhere in India under the guidance of Pak ISI.
  • Interrogation reports of Sikh militants arrested in India suggest training of Sikh youth in Pakistan under the supervision of ISI

 

Operation Blue Star (1984)

  • The leadership of Akali was transformed from moderate to extreme elements, and they took the path of armed insurgency to get Khalistan.
  • They made the Golden Temple as their HQ in Amritsar and turned it into an armed fortress.
  • In June 1984, the government of India carried out “operation Blue star” an army action to flush out the militants. It was successfully achieved by Indian army personnel.
  • Meanwhile during the action, the holy place got damaged and people’s sentiments got hurt and this gave impetus to militant and extremist groups.
  • Later, the bodyguards of our PM Indira Gandhi shot her to avenge the feelings of Sikhs, which was followed by brutal anti Sikh riots

 

Anti-Sikh Riots (1984)

  • The assassination of Indira Gandhi led to anti-Sikh riots across the country, particularly in Delhi and Punjab.
  • The riots were very violent, and they have been termed by some as genocide or massacres as well.
  • Rajiv Gandhi ordered an independent judicial enquiry into the Sikh riots and also signed the Punjab accord.
  • In 2000, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) appointed Justice Nanavati to investigate the killing of innocent Sikhs during the riots.
  • The commission submitted its report in February 2005. The report was criticized heavily as it didn’t mention clearly the role of members of the Congress party like Jagdish Tytler in the 1984 anti- Sikh riots
  • There were widespread protests in the aftermath of the report, leading to resignation of Tytler from the Union Cabinet.
  • After the report, the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh apologized to the Sikh community for Operation Blue Star and the riots that followed.

 

Punjab Accord (1985)

  • Rajiv Gandhi initiated negotiations with the Akali leaders to provide a lasting solution to the Punjab problem. In August 1985, Rajiv Gandhi and Longowal signed the Punjab accord. The major provisions of the accord were:
  • Rangnath Mishra commission was to enquire into the 1984 riots.
  • Families of innocent persons who were killed after 1st August 1982 would be compensated fairly, and there would be compensation for any property damaged too.
  • Chandigarh was to be given to Punjab by overruling the recommendation of Shah Commission, which had suggested that it be given to Haryana.
  • A Part of Anandpur Sahib Resolution dealing with Centre-state relations was to be referred to the Sarkaria commission.
  • Sharing of Water through tribunal between Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana.
  • Revocation of AFSPA from Punjab.
  • This accord didn’t facilitate peace immediately. Militancy and counter insurgency violence continued which led to human rights violation.
  • The Fragmentation of Akali Dal also started. Normal political process was suspended and President’s rule was imposed.
  • Gradually the militancy was eradicated by the security forces.
  • The Peace returned to Punjab by the middle of 1990’s. The alliance of BJP and Shiromani Akali Dal emerged as victorious and brought back democratic process in the state

 

Aftermath of Punjab Accord and end of militancy

  • Elections for state assembly in Punjab and national Parliament were scheduled on September 1985. Longowal was assassinated by the Sikh militants who were opposed to the accord.
  • In spite of this, elections were held on time, with a voter turnout of 66%. Akali Dal secured an absolute majority in the state assembly for the first time in their history.
  • Surjit Singh Barnala became the Chief Minister. The Akali government was ridden with factionalism and militant groups who soon took advantage of the soft policies of the state government.
  • Therefore, there was resurgence of terrorist activities with time, and the state government was not able to contain them.
  • Post this, the central government dismissed the government and imposed President’s Rule in May 1987. In spite of this, terrorism went on increasing, with support from Pakistan.
  • The governments headed by VP Singh and Chandra Shekhar tried to solve the Punjab problem through negotiations and by appeasement of terrorists and extremists.
  • In 1988, the state launched Operation Black Thunder, which was undertaken by Punjab police and paramilitary forces. It succeeded in flushing out terrorists.
  • From mid-1991 onwards, Narsimha Rao government followed a hard policy towards terrorism. The police became increasingly effective and by 1993, Punjab had been virtually freed of terrorism.

 

PROBLEMS IN NORTH EAST:

 Reasons for problem in North East India:

The historical connection:

  • The historical connections among the traditional tribes in the Northeast are largely of Tibeto-Burman/Mongoloid stock and closer to Southeast Asia than to South Asia.
  • It is ethnically, linguistically and culturally very distinct from the other states of India.
  • Though cultural and ethnic diversity per say are not causes for conflict, but one of the major problem areas is that the Northeast is territorially organized in such a manner that ethnic and cultural specificities were ignored during the process of delineation of state boundaries in the 1950s, giving rise to discontentment and assertion of one’s identity.

 

Influx of migrants:

Most States in this region underwent major demographic changes due to influx of migrants from neighboring States and countries.

 

Backwardness compared to the rest of India:

The isolation of the region, its complex social character and its backwardness compared to other parts of the country have all resulted in the complicated set of demands from different states of the North-East.

 

International border:

The vast international border and weak communication between the North-East and the rest of India have further added to the delicate nature of politics there. Three issues dominate the politics of North-East: demands for autonomy, movements for secession, and opposition to ‘outsiders’.

 

The AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Power Act) The application of this act shows the inability and reluctance of the government to solve the conflict with adequate political measures. The AFSPA was passed on 18 August 1958, as a short term measure to allow deployment of the army to counter an armed separatist movement in the Naga Hills, has been in place for the last five decades and was extended to all the seven states of the Northeast region in 1972 (except for Mizoram).

 

Assam Crisis:

 Reasons:

1. Economic

  • Severe underdevelopment of Assam was due to unfair treatment being meted out to it by the central government, which had not only neglected its development but also discriminated against it in allocation of central funds and location of industrial and other economic enterprises.
  • Economic backwardness was also ascribed to control of its economy and resources, particularly the production and sale of its tea, plywood and other commodities by outsiders, mostly Marwari’s and Bengalis. • The labour force in tea, plywood and other industries was also mostly non-Assamese.
  • There were demands for a greater share for Assam in the revenues derived from tea and plywood industries, a higher royalty for its crude oil, larger central financial grants and plan allocation, location of oil refineries in Assam, construction of more bridges over the Brahmaputra river, upgrading of the railway link between Assam and the rest of India, greater effort at industrialization of the state by both the state and the central governments, and greater employment of Assamese in central government services and public sector enterprises located in the state.

 

2. Bengali people

  • Throughout the colonial period and for several years after independence, Bengalis settled in
  • Assam occupied a dominant position in government services, in teaching and other modern professions and in higher posts in the public and private sectors.
  • The lack of job opportunities, the significant role of ‘outsiders’ in Assam’s industry and trade, and the fear of being culturally dominated produced a sense of deprivation in the minds of middle-class Assamese.
  • They started a movement in the 1950s demanding preference for Assamese speakers in recruitment to state government services and making Assamese the sole official language and medium of instruction in schools and colleges.
  • The movement for a change in the official language led to the gradual building up of hostility between Bengali and Assamese speakers. In July 1960, it erupted in tragic language riots.
  • In 1960 itself, the state assembly passed a law, against the wishes of Bengali speakers and many tribal groups, making Assamese the sole official language, though Bengali remained the additional official language in Cachar.
  • In 1972, Assamese was made the sole medium of instruction also in colleges affiliated to Guwahati University.
  • This effort to impose the Assamese language became one of the factors which hampered the process of evolution of the Assamese identity, prevented it from encompassing the entire state and led to many of the hill tribes demanding separation from Assam.

 

3. Illegal migrants

  • The main grievance that was to develop into a massive anti-foreigners movement in 1979 was the large-scale illegal migration in a relatively short span of time from Bangladesh and to some extent from Nepal.
  • The British administration had encouraged migration of thousands of Biharis to work on the plantation system introduced by them.
  • Between 1939 and 1947 Muslim communalists encouraged Bengali Muslim migration to create a better bargaining position in case of partition of India.
  • Partition led to a large-scale refugee influx from Pakistani Bengal into Assam besides West Bengal and Tripura.
  • After 1971, there occurred fresh, continuous and large-scale influx Bangladeshi peasants into Assam.
  • This demographic transformation generated the feeling of linguistic, cultural and political insecurity that overwhelmed the Assamese and imparted a strong emotional content to their movement against illegal migrants in the 1980s.

 

4. Division of state

  • Many Assamese felt that the development and consolidation of a wider Assamese identity, by the gradual assimilation of Assamese tribes, was prevented by the central government’s decision to separate large tribal areas from Assam and create small non-viable states such as Meghalaya, Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh.

 

5. Conflict due to illegal migrants

  • Illegal migrant became a major issue in 1979 when it became clear that a large number of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh had become voters in the state.
  • The All Assam Students Union (AASU) and the Assam Gana Sangram Parishad (Assam People’s Struggle Council), a coalition of regional political, literary and cultural associations, started a massive, anti-illegal migration movement.

 

6. Demands

  • They asked the central government to seal Assam’s borders to prevent further inflow of migrants, to identify all illegal aliens and delete their names from the voters list and to postpone elections till this was done, and to deport or disperse to other parts of India all those who had entered the state after 1961.
  • The years from 1979 to 1985 witnessed political instability in the state, collapse of state governments, imposition of President’s Rule, sustained, often violent, agitation, frequent general strikes, civil disobedience campaigns which paralysed all normal life

 

 

ASSAM ACCORD (1985)

 Background-

  • The issue of outsiders migrating into Assam has a long history, starting from the British era during which migration of tea-plantation workers was encouraged.
  • In 1971, after the Pakistani crackdown in East Bengal, more than one million refugees sought shelter in Assam. Most of them went back after the creation of Bangladesh, but nearly 100,000 remained.
  • After 1971, there were large scale illegal immigration into Assam and nearby north-eastern states from Bangladesh.
  • This led to demographic transformation of Assam created apprehension among many Assamese.
  • They felt that Assamese being reduced to a minority in their own land and consequently to the subordination of their language and culture, loss of control over their economy and politics, and, loss of their very identity and individuality.
  • As a result, 1979, the All Assam Students Union (AASU) and the Assam Gana Sangram Parishad (Assam People’s Struggle Council), started a massive, anti-illegal migration movement.
  • They demanded that the central government seal Assam’s borders to prevent further inflow of migrants, and also to identify all illegal aliens and delete their names from the voters list.
  • There was a complete breakdown of law and order, and riots on the basis of linguistic and communal identities took place.

 

Assam Accord (15th August, 1985)-

  • After Rajiv Gandhi came to power, he signed the Assam Accord on 15th August, 1985.
  • As per the accord:
  • All foreigners who had entered Assam between 1951 and 1961 were to be given full citizenship, including the right to vote
  • Entrants between 1961 and 1971 were to be denied voting rights for 10 years, but could enjoy all other citizenship rights and migrants who entered after 1971 would be deported
  • A second oil refinery, a paper mill and an institute of technology were also promised to ensure economic development of the state.
  • The central government promised to provide legislative and administrative safeguards to protect the cultural, social and linguistic identity and heritage of Assamese people
  • In the aftermath of the accord, fresh elections were held in December 1985. A new party, Assam Gana Parishad (AGP), was formed by the leaders of the anti-foreigners movement, which was elected to power.