View from the right: Mainstreaming J&Khttps://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/view-from-the-right-mainstreaming-jk/

View from the right: Mainstreaming J&K

Though running this government will be a tightrope walk, especially for the PDP, if interests of the people of J&K are kept in mind.

While criticising the “secular” camp for terming the BJP-PDP alliance in Jammu and Kashmir as politics of convenience and for “hoping” that the alliance would strain along communal lines, the Organiser editorial cautions both coalition partners too: “Though running this government will be a tightrope walk, especially for the PDP, if interests of the people of J&K are kept in mind, this will be a historic opportunity. Keeping away from the pressures of separatist tendencies, focusing completely on development and providing transparency in governance will be key… J&K joining the mainstream political agenda is a real tribute to the first martyr of independent India, Syama Prasad Mookerjee, who always insisted on complete integration of J&K with the Indian Union. This government formation should be seen in this light.”

Emphasising that it was a historic moment for the state, the editorial points out that no one had expected the BJP to be a major stakeholder in J&K: “First time in history, regional imbalances in the state discriminatory towards Jammu and Ladakh are set to be corrected. The issues related to [the] rehabilitation of West Pak [Pakistan] refugees and Kashmiri Pandits will also get importance…” The editorial also says that one outcome of the political process is the alienation of separatist forces in the state.

DEFINING SECULAR

An article in the Organiser takes strong exception to former chief justice of the Delhi High Court Rajinder Sachar’s view that the suggestion to remove the word “secular” from the Preamble to the Constitution is treason. Countering Sachar’s argument that quotes the Kesavananda Bharati case to say Parliament has no right to change the basic structure of the Constitution, the article by Amba Charan Vashishth points out that the Preamble was amended in 1976, arguing that the “present Parliament is as much representative and competent to amend the Constitution to delete the two words from the Preamble… as was the then Parliament to insert these in 1976 during [the] Emergency…”

However, it goes on to say that the prime minister and his cabinet did take the oath that they “will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as by law established” and that nowhere have they implicitly or explicitly hinted at their intention not to abide by their oath. The article says there seems to be a deliberate design behind leaving the two words (“socialist” and “secular”) undefined to allow people and parties an unbridled liberty in interpreting these differently to suit their political purposes. It is because of this that every leader and party have the unrestrained freedom to claim to be “secular” and to dub an opponent “communal”.

JUST EVANGELISM

Asserting that some people are on a “mission” to dress up “service” and “philanthropy” in the garb of religion, the editorial in Panchjanya says that those who raised a hue and cry over RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s remark on Mother Teresa were mute when it came to Pope Francis’ tweet the next day. The Pope had tweeted about philanthropy being the best means for evangelism. It rues the fact that PM Narendra Modi’s tweet on the government’s serious efforts that secured the release of Fr Alex Premkumar from the Afghan Taliban did not trigger a debate. It also questions the sainthood of Mother Teresa and the “miracles” that had become its basis. It then mentions how Mother Teresa had herself acknowledged in an interview that her life’s aim was to help people connect with Jesus and that she engaged in evangelism.

Compiled by Liz Mathew