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Ending the lock-down of Jammu and Kashmir and restoring conditions for normal life is as much a political as a security issue
The day after Jammu and Kashmir entered a new phase in history is a good time to look at the challenges ahead.
There are political, security, international and legal challenges to life without Article 370 and 35A.
This is, perhaps, the BJP's biggest political challenge, the shape and magnitude of which is not yet clear. Only when the state leaders and separatist activists are freed from detention, communication channels and transport modes restored and political activities allowed in the state, will the Centre know what it is up against. Until then the form and nature of the challenge, including beyond the state, would be a matter of conjecture.
Ending the lock-down of Jammu and Kashmir and restoring conditions for normal life is as much a political as a security issue. Lifting the security blanket could mean unforeseen eruptions testing public order and security. Assessing the security situation calls precise intelligence, its practical interpretation and a sense of the situation. And, that is no easy task.
How India deals with Jammu and Kashmir, as has been reiterated, is India's internal affair. Yet there is no denying international interest in the matter. This means that India's historic decision has to win international acceptance. The UN and the US have responded cautiously with reservations. New Delhi has briefed the members of the UN Security Council. So has Pakistan and, so far, there is no reaction apparently based on Islamabad’s briefing. But that is neither here nor there. The international community remains a challenge to be dealt with.
Legally, there are arguments for and against the constitutional validity of the government’s action. More than the force of public opinion, the supreme test will be in the Supreme Court. It will be challenge as much for the government as for the apex court. The court has to clarify whether the decision affects the basic structure of the constitutional scheme.
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