Bifurcation of Jammu & Kashmir

Bifurcation of Jammu & Kashmir

Context:

  • On 5th August 2019, the Indian government passed Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation bill (2019), which divided Jammu & Kashmir state into 2 union territories – Jammu & Kashmir (union territory with state legislature), Ladakh (union territory without state legislature).

Benefits:

  • Bifurcation can result in better governance, more efficient administration. It can also help in tackling terrorism.
  • Taking unilateral decisions is sometimes important because dialogue and all the other ways did not work till now.
  • When Jammu&Kashmir was one state, Ladakh felt alienated. Its ecological and cultural uniqueness was not given enough importance and was often neglected because the culture of Ladakh and J&K are very different. Thereby people of Ladakh are demanding the bifurcation from a long time. Ladakh’s local leaders feel that their region was politically neglected by the administration at J&K. So, bifurcating is a good decision. Moreover, tourism and film shootings faced obstacles due to the militancy in J&K. Now as Ladakh is a separate UT, it can boost its economy.
  • The Indian government announced that J&K will be turned into a state once the situation becomes normal. So, we can consider the UT status of J&K as temporary.

Negative Side:

  • Bifurcation of Jammu & Kashmir was done without consulting the people and local leaders of the state. Moreover, there was a blackout of communication channels and media, so they had no possibility of expressing their views. This sends a wrong message to the people and is against the democratic principles of India. It is also against the federal principles, which guarantees rights to states. Moreover, on the same day, Article 370 was revoked, so this may make local people feel like they have no say in the decisions that impact them.
  • This may set as a bad example for the succeeding governments. Downgrading the status of a state to union territory can be taken as a precedent. For example, If the state government is ruled by a different party from the center, and if center want to take control of the state, this incident can be shown as example to do so.
  • This step may be used by separatists to influence youngsters in acting against Indian government.
  • Further division of Ladakh into 2 districts – Leh and Kargil on religious basis is facing criticism from the local people. This move could have been avoided to preserve unity.

Challenges:

  • Ladakh has already faced neglect from J&K. Now, it came directly under the center rule because it is now a union territory. The main task before the central government is to bring the development in Ladakh in the way the local people want. The ecologically sensitive areas should be prioritised before taking up infrastructure projects. If their views are not taken into consideration, there will be no use of making it as a UT.
  • The big challenge before the Indian government is to bring a change in the perception of J&K people. Elections should be conducted in J&K as soon as possible to make people of J&K feel that their state is in their own hands and they have a say in the decisions that impact them.

Conclusion:

Dividing the Jammu & Kashmir state into 2 Union territories helps in better governance. Taking steps to develop both the regions as soon as possible is the need of the hour.

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