The abolition of Article 370 has the special status of Jammu and Kashmir gone forever, for good. There is peace in Jammu, and in Kashmir; but doubts persist either in the minds of those who have suffered for so long due to this ‘special’ status, or in the hearts of those who suffer from separatist mentalities! Else, everywhere, there is a celebration of the true freedom of Jammu & Kashmir. The scrapping of Article 370 and the political bifurcation of the crown of India into two Union Territories, came about as a historic and brave decision of the Narendra Modi led government. The state had its own constitution, flag and rights; why was it so, left to stand in a corner with its rather not so ‘special’ status when we have had an Indian tricolour flag to proudly flutter; and rights and duties guaranteed by the Indian constitution? Jammu and Kashmir will now have a legislature like Delhi and other UTs where key subjects like law and order are under the control of the Central government, and its governor will now become a Lieutenant Governor. Article 35A differentiated the permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir from the ‘outsiders’; now it will cease to have effect there and enabling people to walk freely there, as they would do in any other area in the jurisdiction of the Government of India. This was a storming step that slapped the separatist forces in Jammu and Kashmir, and shut the mouths of those trying to trigger terrorist attacks once and for all. The ‘No Right to Information’ that weakened the people and the system that ran there before would now be replaced by a new, informed Indian citizen having faith in his country and foremost, his or her constitution.
It has long been claimed that large scale developmental opportunities could not be provided, jobs could not be created, government policies could not reach the people of J&K because they all got entangled in the web of restrictions and subsequent impediments that Article 370 had somehow placed on the people there. It was repeatedly claimed by the people of Jammu and Kashmir that ‘Right to Education’, reservation for minority groups, ‘Right to Information’, ‘Right to Equality of Opportunities’, access to adequate healthcare facilities, maintenance of law and order in the valley, and potential development of tourism in there could not be realized fully. With the central government deploying 10,000 central forces personnel in Kashmir on grounds to secure counter-insurgency operations and law and order scenarios; suspension of mobile and internet services; arrests and detainment of people suspected of violating the peace in Jammu and Kashmir, the scrapping away of Article 370 changed the way ‘many’ people saw the Government of India, and ushered a new bright era of their renewed faith in the Indian constitution; where they could securely believe that they as ‘free citizens’ as in any other part of India can work and realize all their dreams; without any ‘bias’, without checking the box that says, ‘Kashmiri Migrant’, without looking all so alien in one’s own country! The self-serving puppets of Pakistan hoping for traces of violence in India post the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into Indian Union Territories were beaten in their games, for peace persists in the valley, and peace will stay in there. With Islamabad trying every false way possible to counter India’s moves to safeguard its citizens in Jammu and Kashmir, all countries in the world are now witnessing India’s power, nationalistic sentiment, and valour; as brave Indian army suffers day in and out to pull down the charade of Pakistan that wanted to lure innocent Kashmiris into its snaky grip.
The Kashmir agenda has always been a priority for the Indian government, and with the world witnessing the repeated attempts of terrorists trying to cause a riot in the valley, India is playing at the forefront to ensure that its citizens need not worry about any such revenge-seeking, hate-directed, harming terrorist organisations. Kashmiris, are relieved that their post-paid mobile telephones are now working. Traders, merchants and shopkeepers have doubled their efforts hoping to make some profit in the limited time left as Diwali sales begin and festive colour paints India. But, the lost profits from crop sales, negligible business in the tourism sector, huge losses due to the restrictions imposed August 2019 onwards to maintain peace and order in Jammu and Kashmir has its people pay but a small cost, a little burden of the legacy of Article 370. With the job sector offering limited growth opportunities as of now, and quite questionable and debatable claims about truths being suppressed, Jammu and Kashmir, though headed towards a bright future, are very far from it at least, as of now; they need additional measures to boost their economy; improve education and healthcare facilities; build infrastructure, and so much more where Modi government needs to work to improve the situation of the people and make Jammu-Kashmir the heaven that we often talk about! More than anything else, its not the political but the social way that rules the hearts of people. If the people of Jammu and Kashmir realise that they now have been empowered constitutionally; and step forward to build their dreams with a renewed enthusiasm they need to only remember that their family, their India is waiting to help and watch them grow; but the first step forward to come out of that shell has to be their very own.