Abrogation of Article 370 is evoking large scale criticism, not because it integrated Jammu & Kashmir with rest of the country but because the promises made about industrialisation and job generation is nowhere seen even after 15 months of the historic political moves.
Maheep Bhardwaj, Secretary, Delhi TU: Article 370 of Indian Constitution gave special status to the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state. Incorporated in the Constitution on October 17, 1949, this article exempted J&K from Indian constitution and permitted the erstwhile State to draft its own constitution. This article along with Article 35A defined the J&K state’s residents to live under a separate set of laws, including those related to citizenship, ownership of property and fundamental rights as compared to residents of the other Indian states. As a result of this provision, Indian citizens from other states could not purchase land or property in J&K.
On 5 August 2019, Government of India revoked special status of J&K. Several leading Kashmiri politicians were taken into custody.
The BJP led NDA government described the decision of revoking Article 370 as boon for the people of Jammu & Kashmir, saying it will help in the economic development. New companies will invest in J&K. Land prices will become high. Job opportunities will increase which in turn will decrease terrorism. It will also be favourable for Kashmiri Pandits who will now be able to return back to their homeland. Kashmiris will feel more integrated towards India as now there will be one flag and one constitution”, the central leadership observed.
But the scenario is different. After over a year, the decision turned out to be as mere slogan as the one made during demonetisation in 2016, ‘which led India towards economic crisis’.
Abrogation of 370 was referred to as a master stroke a year back which was expected to unite India, however, there are variant views among the citizens now.
Complete internet shutdown in some areas and only 2G services in others led to downfall of education in J&K. According to a report there was 86 per cent decrease in tourism which further led to 5 lakh job loss in the UT. J&K has lost Rs 40,000 crore due to different lockdowns after the abrogation of Article 370 (Report: Impact of lockdown on human rights).
It was promised that the situation would get better in J&K but even after one year not even prevailing conditions were maintained.
Shashank Khajura, Businessman: It was a historic step taken by the central government to revoke Articles 35A and 370. A new ray of hope was there that it will begin a new era of development. Job opportunities, employment avenues will be there but it is very unfortunate that the ground situation is still the same with zero development, zero job opportunities and zero avenues for youth. “We lost special status with the hope that we will have more employment opportunities. But it is unfortunate that we are still facing the discrimination in the hands of corrupt politicians. Only fake promises, false hopes and nothing else. It is another failure of the BJP in Jammu. We will not vote for BJP again.”
Afroz Hamid, Student PG College Rajouri: The abrogation of Article 370 has been a curse. Seeing the present scenario of the Union Territory, it seems that there is no such big development. Political scenario has completely changed. The BJP led government is doing injustice with the citizens of Jammu & Kashmir. The politicians are fooling the people on the peace process. Article 370 has been scrapped without discussing and deciding with the citizens of the UT. The special identity of the erstwhile State has been erased, which is totally unjustified.
After the revocation of Article 370, there is no development across the UT. The unemployment is now increasing at a very alarming rate.
The majority of labourers are from outside the UT, the skilled labourers which are inhabitants of this UT are not getting work due to outside labourers. Local business sector is facing huge losses and they are virtually suffering. The crime rate is also increasing at an alarming rate. The first and foremost thing is that there is an increase in militancy across the Valley, which is not a good sign. A segment of people across the country is of the opinion that Article 370 is a major cause of Valley’s continuous encounter with mishaps while according to others Article 370 is not the only reason for Jammu & Kashmir’s current status. The BJP led government has divided the people in the erstwhile State on the basis of religion and caste. The new land laws are also not satisfying and good for the UT. Now everyone from the rest of the country can buy land in the UT. Overall, the youth of J&K will suffer due to false promises made by the government. High speed internet is not working after the removal of Article 370. Citizens are suffering due to lack of 4G internet connectivity especially the student community. PHE, PDD and other casual labourers are also on roads. Therefore, abrogation of Article 370 is the biggest curse for Jammu.