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Union Territory status for Jammu and Kashmir not a demotion, but an effort to align it with rest of India more intensely: Sources

Amit Shah Photograph:( ANI )

WION Delhi Aug 09, 2019, 06.34 PM (IST) Written By: Kartikeya Sharma

Centre is unlikely to hold assembly elections in Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir for at least a year, said sources. 

Centre has prepared a detailed plan and wants to use this time to completely overhaul the administration in the Union Territory (UT). Sources have indicated that massive financial and administrative reforms are on anvil starting with a business summit which might take place by end of the year. 

Sources also told WION that Jammu and Kashmir was bifurcated into two Union Territories for a purpose.

“If a state would have been created then it would have become business as usual. UT was created is to ensure that Kashmir gets properly aligned with the Indian Constitution. UT is not a demotion but an effort by the government to make required changes which wouldn’t have been possible otherwise,” a highly placed source informed WION.

Sources also told WION that government wants to send out the message that the country tried to attain peace with Article 370 for 70 years and now at least 10 years can be invested in a new set of laws. 

The plan also includes new townships in the valley and job opportunities for Kashmiri Pandits so that their relocation can gain momentum. The government understands that relocation can never take place without proper job opportunities and a safe environment.

A slow trickle of migration has already happened in Jammu and Kashmir but the government does not want to speed up the process lest it creates distrust in the mind of the people. For example, new temples are a reality in the valley as it happened slowly and organically.

The government is also expected to set up a proper Delimitation Commission so that Jammu gets its due in the state assembly. 

It would be accompanied by creation of a new set of political leadership in the valley which RSS-BJP believes can flow from those who contested panchayat polls recently. 

The idea is to remove the existing layer of political leadership which RSS feels is tied to the idea of Article 370. Sources say that new leaders would be able to circumvent powerful families in Jammu and Kashmir. More than that, the idea is to assert the sacred geography of Kashmir which existed before the medieval age. The idea is not to force a demographic change but make the rest of India engage with Jammu and Kashmir more intensely.

The other idea on the wishlist is to repopulate Ladakh which RSS feels is very sparsely populated. Most ideas are on the drawing table of the ideologues of Sangh Parivar as they feel that it is their only chance.

Lastly, RSS feels that there could not have been any other way for the Narendra Modi-led government to implement the decision to revoke Article 370 as the existing leaders would have compromised the process and wouldn’t have allowed the government to go ahead with it.