The revoking of Article 35A and Article 370 in Rajya Sabha continues to have repercussions all over the country. But what was at stake was the security of Indian borders and Kashmir valley more specifically. Not surprisingly the Modi government had everything planned in advance to ensure that no insurgency takes place and peace and harmony is not compromised in any way in the State.
The scrapping of both these articles has been long-standing objectives of Bhartiya Janata Party ever since its days of Jana Sangh. But the endgame started on July 5, 2019, when Home Minister Amit Shah made the historic statement in the Rajya Sabha.
Mediation Offer From Trump Was A Major Trigger
Just when the resolution to scrap Article 370 was being discussed and passed in the Parliament, the national security adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval had already reached Srinagar to make sure that the transition of Jammu & Kashmir from State into a Union Territory is conducted smoothly. According to reports, only a few people were aware of the details of the entire plan.
At the start of the day on July 5, the Research and Analysis Wing’s chief Samant Goel visited Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his office and told him that it will take around a month for Kashmir to completely integrate with India. Simultaneously the spy agency chief also warned the PM that the move could go out of control with the US completely supporting Pakistan to strike a deal with Taliban over Afghanistan which is the key exit point from the country.
According to Goel, it could lead to the US getting in agreement with Pakistan-supported Taliban by September 1. If it happens, Washington which currently is not entertaining any demands from Pakistan may choose to restart economic and military aid to Islamabad as a reward. Ultimately it will lead to a direct and indirect intensification of sponsorship of terror groups in Kashmir by Islamabad.
New Delhi was already aware of this threat which was further reinforced after the meeting of Pakistan PM Imran Khan with Washington President on July 22. Since Donald Trump is desperate to settle the issue of Afghanistan, he made an offer to act as a mediator between India and Pakistan.
BJP’s Top Team Was Already At Work
Even ahead of the meeting of Goel with the Indian PM, the top team of BJP including leading legal experts and ex-finance minister Arun Jaitely had started analyzing how legally Article 370 can be removed with an order from the President, especially in the case the Governor is heading the state administration.
Internal sources from the BJP functionaries revealed that both the preparations for scrapping Article 370 and drafting manifesto for the 2019 general elections were done simultaneously.
The sources said that the finalization of resolutions and bills gained momentum after the announcement of Lok Sabha election results. The massive win gave the ruling party confidence that it will be able to fulfill the promise of removing Article 35A and Article 370.
It should be noted that Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), BJP’s ideological parent always perceived both these articles as an obstacle in the integration of J&K with the rest of India.
Pre-Planned Visits, Discussions And Strategies
After Amit Shah visited Srinagar on June 26 accompanied by Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba and Intelligence Bureau Arvind Kumar, things started to move forward. Even though most of the national security establishments were in total agreement with this decision of scrapping Article 370, the internal security agencies had also warned about possibilities of violence in Kashmir valley.
Despite these warnings, the Modi-led NDA government decided to move ahead. To further make the position strong and get the latest inputs about the security situation in the valley RAW chief Goel visited the State on July 11 followed by a visit from NSA Doval on July 23. Also, army chief General Bipin Rawat visited the region in June as well as in July to ensure that the army commanders are on their toes.
Doval also called a meeting with three intelligence and three military chiefs including NTRO on July 24. The decision to scrap Article 370 presumably was taken sometime in the last fortnight.
Some Recent Highlights Of The Plan
- The home ministry sent 2,000 satellite phones to the administration in the State in the case internet or phones do not function. Accordingly, internet services in Jammu & Kashmir were cut off from Sunday night followed by the stoppage of mobile and phone services.
- In the past 10 days around 350 companies of paramilitary forces that include 35,000 were moved to the Valley.
- In the last week of July, the government sent the high altitude long-endurance Israeli Heron drones from the National Technical Research Organization (NTRO) across Pir Panjal for crowd control. Simultaneously dozens of military aircraft carrying relief supplies including medicines, water, and food were sent to the Valley.
- All these activities triggered the buzz about the scrapping of 35A which further intensified after the administration called of Amarnath Yatra asking tourists to exit from the Valley. However, during all these rumors and speculations, scrapping of Article 370 was never mentioned.
- On the evening of August 4, Shah held up a meeting with Goel and IB Chief Kumar and told them to be ready thus giving the national security establishments an indication that the government was indeed going to scrap the two Articles. But the agenda was kept well under wraps as outwardly it was shown that the home minister had called the two chiefs to discuss situations in the north-east.
- Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, the external affairs minister was also a part of the entire planning so that he could deal with diplomatic fallout that could arise as a result of this move.
- To ensure that the local leaders are not targeted by the spy agency from Pakistan and Jihadists from the Valley, the political leaders were kept under house arrest from Sunday midnight onwards.
- Simultaneously Section 144 and curfew were imposed in the Valley while paramilitary forces were told to display restraint and avoid firing unruly crowds that could be triggered by Pakistani supporters in the Valley.