Friday, Jul 01, 2022

Constitutional Federalism: State Of Exception In The Paradise Of Kashmir

Far from being the exemplar of constitutional federalism, experts feel Kashmir has suffered at the hands of a centralising New Delhi. The abrogation of articles 370 and 35A made it official.

State of Exception in Paradise
State of Exception in Paradise Photograph: Suhail Sofi

In the premises of the National Conference head office at Nawai Subah, sec­u­rity forces usually hang their gar­m­ents to dry over festoon flags of Kashmir’s grand old party. Off­­i­ce-­­bearers of the party say they don’t ask the forces to remove these clo­t­hes. “We feel hurt, but can’t do anything about it. After the revocation of Article 370, regional parties are facing an ons­l­aught. It is sad to see our flag being covered with underwear, pyjamas and shirts. If we say anything, BJP might make it a national security issue,” says Imran Nabi Dar, spokesperson of the party, with a straight face.

But what does this act by the Indian security forces have to do with the larger debate on Ind­i­an federalism, and Jammu and Kashmir’s position within it? To start with, it reflects the sense of powerlessness prevai­ling among regional political parties as well as the people of J&K.