Row over Article 370
The new government’s ‘condescending’ offer of a debate on Article 370 came sooner than expected. The tearing hurry in reviving an issue people feel strongly about took the observers unawares. J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah’s tweet that ‘long after Modi government is a distant memory either J&K won’t be part of India or Article 370 will still exist’ put the Valley’s reaction so succinctly. Given its far-reaching implications and consequences, the abrogation of Article 370 is easily said than done. The people of Kashmir will resist the move with all the strength, as the Valley has its distinct identity – Kashmiriat. By contemplating a move that may nullify the very basis for the Kashmir Valley’s continued being as an ‘integral’ part of India, the government will unwittingly reopen J&K’s accession with India and the territorial claims to the disputed territory. Instead of making noises, emboldened by a clear majority in the Lok Sabha, about revoking Article 370 that acts as a bridge between Kashmir and the rest of India by virtue of the special status it gives to the Valley, the BJP government will do better ‘to try and win the hearts and minds’ of the disaffected Kashmiris.
G David Milton
Maruthancode, Tamil Nadu
With the BJP in power, it seems that the bureaucracy is becoming more corporate-friendly. It has advised the new environment minister Prakash Javadekar to lift the ban on mining in forests and moratorium on new factories in heavily polluted industrial areas. Do the bureaucrats want to accelerate the pace of environmental destruction? The new aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju is in no hurry to privatise Air India, which has always been caught in air turbulence. The ministers, politicians and bureaucrats would only be happy to stall any move to privatise the white elephant. And the airline’s employees have always resisted the move. All these parties have been enjoying their joyrides and pleasure trips on the airline, at public cost. In fact, the employees have contributed a major share to the decline of Air India. Come what may, the airline has to be rescued.
The 100-day agenda, set to his ministers by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the activities that will take off from there will keep them busy for most of the time in their term of five years. The ministers can work in competitive spirit. Agenda for every 100 days is a