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Revocation of Article 370: Jammu, Kashmir & Ladakh

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This year India celebrate 75th anniversary of independence in form of “AZADI KA AMRIT MAHOTSAV”. Almost three years ago on 5th of august 2019 the Indian government surprised the world by abrogating the article 370 which had given special status to the Jammu and Kashmir.

When the article was introduced in the Indian constitution it was understood that it was supposed to be a temporary measure for preserving the special arrangement between the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir and the Indian union or the newly created independent India. It was always understood that the article would be abolished and Jammu and Kashmir would eventually become like any other state in the country. 

That was not to be for various political and administrative reasons, also the fact that Jammu and Kashmir was majority Muslim state. The population in Kashmir valley was Muslim although the Jammu region had more Hindus and Ladakh of course had a mix of Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists. So that was the arrangement which continued for a long time for almost 70 plus years which created a kind of a rift between the rest of India and Jammu and Kashmir.

Some families in Jammu and Kashmir benefited from it. They became the new elite in the state. The political families, business families, some bureaucratic families and of course the common people continued to get discriminated against and the divide between Jammu and Kashmir on religious lines only got accentuated. 

But with one stroke the PM Narendra Modi government on 5th of august 2019 just abolished the article 370 and created two new union territories in the form of Jammu and Kashmir together and Ladakh which has majority Buddhist population as another union territory. So the removal of article 370 from the Indian constitution and the abolishment of the special status to Jammu and Kashmir meant that Pakistan which constantly keeps the pot boiling in Jammu and Kashmir through its proxy war and by constantly calling Jammu and Kashmir as an unsettled dispute between India and Pakistan did not know how to react. 

It was a major constitutional and emotional change in the valley region on 5th august 2019. There was a lot of protest go through. How the Indian government moved in to quell the protest they were complete curfew, huge number of security forces went into the Kashmir valley and in Jammu to control it. 

Three years later many things have been changed on the ground that was a cataclysmic change. If one may want to call it in that particular year when everybody thought that proxy war is going to now go to the next stage. Pakistan will attack India, Pakistan will try and exploit the resentment amongst the Kashmiri population but nothing of the sort happened.

The population realized that it’s a political decision and in the long run it would be a good administrative decision in terms of better governance in favor of the common people. 

In the velly  there are different perceptions about it. There are different opinions amongst people and naturally so it’s a varied region their aspirations are different like us.

When the new union territory was created and they expected to get at par treatment with the Kashmiri Muslims but that has still not happened. is what their sense is you will find many of these voices in that film so when you go to the Kashmir valley there are other voices which talk about the radicalization of the Kashmiri youth. 

Kashmiri muslim youth in the valley there is one gentleman who speaks about the increasing or increased influence of the jamaat on every aspect of the Kashmiri life. The radicalization that is now assuming dangerous proportions if you speak to the security personnel the security establishment will tell you all the parameters of the violence have come down. 

There are very sporadic incidents of violence and killing targeted killing of Kashmiri Hindus sometimes of businessmen and even a popular TV star has happened. 

But the violence levels have come down, overall the sense of security has increased. The encounters on the line of control between India and Pakistan have reduced but the infiltration from the Pakistani side to continue the proxy war hasn’t really reduced as much as India would have liked. But because Pakistan still believes that Kashmir is its main cause against India for against the resentment that it has against India and therefore it must continue the proxy war so all that remains.

As we know, every Pakistani mind thinks that Kashmir has been taken away from Pakistan by India by amending its constitution and giving it a special status under the union territory which comes directly under the central government. So there is a governor’s rule their political activities right now at the low level in Jammu and Kashmir as well as in Ladakh but there are challenges of putting in place administrative systems, tourism is booming in both Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir. but is that sustainable does that give the long-term tourism that India wants or those two regions want which are in the very fragile climate zone.  

Now we’ll have to wait and watch for a long-term and permanent effect of that change but all that iI can say after three years is that it’s a good beginning and we need to build on that beginning. Although there are challenges and there are multiple opinions about how these three years have gone.

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