Impact on collective psyche

The whole of Jammu and Kashmir went into a security lock-down with communication networks snapped affecting normal life, hours before the government announced the move.

Narendra Modi government sprang a surprise on August 5 by revoking the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution and went ahead with bifurcating the state into two union territories of Jammu and Kashmir as well as Ladakh. Described as a “bold” move that was “necessary” for the full integration of the troubled region with the Union of India, several questioned the way it was done. 

The whole of Jammu and Kashmir went into a security lock-down with communication networks snapped affecting normal life, hours before the government announced the move. Political leaders, separatists and potential “troublemakers”, which ran into over 5,000, were put under preventive detention. One criticism was the lack of consultation prior to the government’s twin move of scrapping special status and bifurcation. Usually, a state is bifurcated following a recommendation from the state Assembly but in Jammu and Kashmir, the Assembly was dissolved and state was under President’s rule. 

Read: The 370 aftermath: Beneath the calm in Kashmir

Jammu and Kashmir was not part of the Union of India when the country attained independence and its accession came months later after Pakistan-supported raiders launched a military assault to capture it. Following this, political leaders from Kashmir and central leaders negotiated the status and an agreement on its special status arrived. Initially, Jammu and Kashmir was given the power to legislate on all issues except internal security, foreign affairs and defence but over the years, the provisions under Article 370 were diluted. However, a large number of Kashmiris considered the special status and Article 370 as Kashmir’s link with India. 

With this move, the supporters of the government decision believe that it will open up more opportunities for Kashmiris. The business could grow more rapidly and there could be creation of more job opportunities.

But Kashmiris’ concerns are that this could create more trouble as the region would turn more like a security camp as the establishment would always anticipate trouble. This would go against them as businesses will still consider it an unsafe place. They lament that the security clampdown so far had an impact on the collective psyche. 

They also fear that there will be an influx of “outsiders” now affecting the culture and their opportunities. Ladakh MP and BJP leader Jamyang Tsering Namgyal himself has raised these concerns following the scrapping of Article 35(A) that restricted outsiders’ right to buy land in the region.

For those living in the troubled areas, return to normalcy – not just in terms of using their vehicles or using a form – is what they long for. 

 

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
GET IT
Comments (+)