Ram Madhav
File photo of BJP in-charge for Jammu and Kashmir Ram Madhav | PTI
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More than five months after Parliament voted to scrap the special status of Jammu and Kashmir to “fully integrate” the erstwhile state with India, even the people in Jammu are voicing their open displeasure. There is little to show that the purpose of diluting Article 370 has been achieved or is anywhere near being achieved.

The BJP-supporting, Hindu majority population of Jammu has always resented the Kashmiri dominance in matters of development, jobs, and politics. But now, it has started questioning, albeit in hushed voices, the rationale behind the Modi government’s August 2019 move.

What the controversial decision has achieved is merely internationalise the somewhat dormant Kashmir issue once again. In the process, Narendra Modi-led BJP has adopted several hard measures – snap the phone and internet lines, put scores of mainstream politicians under house arrest, and heighten the distrust among common J&K citizens.


Also read: ‘Dictatorship’, no ‘accountability’, no jobs: People in Jammu say Modi govt has failed them


Jammu is unhappy

More than Kashmir, which is always in the cross-hairs of the BJP’s electoral strategy, it is Jammu that has started to feel cheated – even after supporting the decision to split the former state into two Union Territories.

Sabak un (Kashmiris) ko sikhana tha ya humko? (Wasn’t the decision meant to teach a lesson to Kashmiris? Then why are we suffering?),” is a question being asked more often these days on the streets of Jammu.

While the dominant understanding is that Kashmiris have been without communication channels since the dilution of Article 370, what many outside J&K ignore is that Jammu too doesn’t have mobile internet. The region is now feeling slighted. Privately, even senior BJP leaders admit that the Article 370 move may have backfired in the absence of a clear gameplan.


Also read: New political front takes shape in Kashmir, and it’s ready to look beyond Article 370


The job scenario

Employment opportunities, or the lack of adequate share in government jobs, was always a big sore point with the electorate in Jammu, and they viewed the politically-dominant Kashmir taking away the major chunk of jobs. The Jammu and Kashmir High Court’s withdrawal of its recent notification inviting non-J&K residents to apply for district court jobs just goes to show how charged the job scenario in Jammu is.

The Jammu region, which is mostly hills barring parts of Jammu, Samba and Kathua districts, has little land to set up big factories. This is one reason why, despite a slew of incentives announced over two decades ago by Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government for hill states, Jammu and Kashmir attracted very little economic activity. On top of that, outsiders couldn’t buy land in J&K.

After the Article 370 move’s initial hoopla fizzled out, the local people realised that grand announcements by BJP leaders and union ministers notwithstanding, big companies weren’t exactly making a beeline to invest in Jammu and Kashmir.

This, many now say, was the main reason behind the postponement of the Jammu and Kashmir Investor Summit, which was scheduled for October 2019.

The officials, left red-faced, had argued at the time that the government needed time to make more arrangements and also wait for the law and order situation to improve. But the reality is this is now the subject on the street and in drawing room conversations.


Also read: RSS-BJP’s new plan for Kashmir — prop up Maharaja Hari Singh as a nationalist


Are we also anti-national now?

A bitter Jammu has begun to ask questions, something that the local BJP leadership is also waking up to now.

With access to mobile internet restricted, Jammu sees a clear parity with the Kashmir region. This is now leading to questions like why the Narendra Modi government can’t trust them. “Are we also anti-national now?” they frequently ask these days.

They have already started wondering if celebrations over the revocation of special status were premature. Many are of the view that while Kashmir may have been slighted, Jammu too has gained nothing.


Also read: J&K Police vehicle crushes 16-year-old to death, clashes break out in Srinagar’s Nowgam


Back to earlier days

Property prices haven’t exactly gone up as people had thought they would. Clampdown on political activity continues in the Jammu region as well. Outsiders can’t yet buy land. There is no uptick in economic activity. So what has changed?

Nothing.

In place of corrupt or inefficient ministers in the previous government, the Union Territory now has a Lieutenant-Governor who is assisted in administrative decision-making by advisors. Despite some vastly publicised public outreach events, the Modi government remains elusive to the common people.  And, this is making Jammu angry, forcing people to assess the pros and cons of the 5 August 2019 move.

For the BJP, these are ominous signs. Unless the narrative changes, which is possible only through concrete steps on the ground, the party could lose its bastion of Jammu.

The author is a senior journalist. Views are personal.

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45 Comments Share Your Views

45 COMMENTS

  1. Biggest loosers in this game are jammu people, now they will realize the consequences of the removal of article 370.
    Already the land is shrinking in the jammu city day by day, plus more outsider’s will come and buy their land and ultimately they will be turnout slaves to so called modi development.
    In comparison, Kashmir has least chances of that, reason is that Kashmiri people are proune to gun culture and no outsider will dare to live there and also insecurity makes all investments fail.
    Only reason to scarp this article was give stare subjects to various people like the people who are serving in forces like army, CRPF, bsf, ssb, etc and also their families.
    Here modi government got succeeded in doing this and making the demographic changes in Kashmir.
    But in the end, these are all futile practices and won’t solve any problem in jk. Because history is witness to this, from last 70 years, nothing changed and dispute remains same and now even more Internationalize in the whole globe., courtesy amit shah Strategy 😁

  2. Dear all, It has made clear what has been done with Article 370/35 A – It has been unofficially enforced but not repealed – the constitutional hand with which it has succeeded, and the deception by which the internationally recognized disputed and constitution Assembly ‘Satisfaction’ is that Jammu and Kashmir was acquired for partition and discrimination.

    • Which Britishers call Indians “indiots”? what kind of racists have you been talking to? If you hang around with racists, casteists, islamophobes and religious-supremacists (including hindutva guys) , you will only see fights around you. search out those who are fighting hate with love and you will see unity.

  3. It is not even six months and you have started questioning a 70 year old statute.Non availability of internet is bad but it not as bad as being dominated by chaps from the valley. Jammu will be safer,secure and much more prosperous in few years.

  4. Where was your kashmiriat when you threw out Kashmiri Pandits out if their homes. Regarding internet and mobile facility,it was started late round about 10 years later in j&k when there was congress govt. Moreover all r having one broadband at home.
    Regarding release of political leaders. They are not leaders they r misleaders, antinationalists and as good as terrorists. As long as they r under arrest, situation is peaceful. The day you please them terrorist activities will start.

    • The day you please them terrorist activities will start. WHAT? OMG!!! please do not please any kashmiri – only release them of tyrany 🙂

  5. BJP did not no how run govt but more misleading themselves and people by diverting mind of unnecessary issue instead of development.
    But every where slogan of BJP leaders are “Sab chaggasi” in BJP govt.

  6. We the Jammu people were and will always be in support of abrogation of Art 370.. People here are just demanding Restoration of mobile internet nd for the knowledge of the readers Wifi internet is working in all houses without any discontinuity since August 5 .. In addition people are demanding protection of jobs nd land rights for locals but at same time they are supporting for opening land laws for private companies. In short people though people are demanding for job security nd mobile internet restoration , but at the same time no one is opposing the abrogation of 370. So sry to say ur article is a bit misleading as per the ground scenarios

  7. This write up seems to be more of a table work than the ground reality here in Jammu. Yes people here in Jammu want internet facility to be restored but they questioning 370 move is narrative ‘blown out of proportion’.

  8. The problem with Modi and Shah before they could set right J&K, they jumped into CAA, NRC etc for whatsoever reasons. They have to pay heavy price.

  9. The NorthEast too! Abrogation of Article 370 is the reason they don’t believe BJP’s promises of protecting their culture. I

  10. The NorthEast too! Abrogation of Article 370 is the reason they don’t believe BJP’s promises of protecting their culture.

  11. Five months after abrogation of Article 370, the following are still persisting:
    (1) Major political leaders are still under arrest. What is their crime? Murder, theft, rape? When would they be released, or does the government intend to impose lifelong imprisonments?
    (2) Internet and other basic infrastructure still remain suspended.
    (3) Elections for J&K Assembly are yet to be held. The erstwhile state now converted into a Union Territory is without a democratically elected government. Is this democracy?
    Let the Centre ponder on these fundamental issues? The world is judging us. If we are unable to restore normalcy, it could be concluded as the biggest failure of the BJP government. Has the J&K gamble failed? The government should act quickly, time is running out.

  12. Jammu people fully support abrogation of 370. Not one person has changed his stance on this nor will 370 be backed in anyway. Also there is ample land in Jammu in Kathua and Samba for changing the employment situation in the state if not HP and northern Punjab. This only shows the bias of Mr Chibber or he out to wring some benefit from government.

  13. It’s not surprising that the abrogation of Article 370 has been a failure. BJP is a master in trying to boast about Development in Jammu and Kashmir. People will eventually teach them a lesson.

  14. Remarkable that a decision of such profound significance could have been taken without thinking things through. All the hallmarks of Demonetisation, although one was in the realm of politics, the other economic. Just a couple of days back, Print carried a column showing the economy of Jammu has suffered almost as much as that of Kashmir. 2. For me, Kashmir is a human issue. I did not twist my knickers when a young woman was seen carrying a Free Kashmir placard at Gateway of India. Later, saw a video clip in which she gave a perfectly reasonable explanation for what she was doing. We should not lose our empathy, as the people of Jammu may initially have done. Not feel that liberties can be taken in the Valley which would be unacceptable elsewhere in the country. 3. I am heartbroken by how the apex court has dealt with 5th August.

    • Your comments are always cogent and well presented. Abrogation CAANRCNPS are nothing but a political for benefitting BJP who wants their party to be in power from Kanyakumari to Kashmir and no wonder even Landlord in Delhi’s Lajpat Nagar forced the Tenant to vacate the house because they hanged hand written banner against CAA when Amit Shah and his supporters went around on their door to door campaign in support of CAA. Imagine crowd of 150 gathered at the house and intimidated them. If BJP can take out rally in support, the same right is available to them to peacefully comment against. It seems soon the land lords in India would be asked to include a clause in rental agreements that tenant would support only Modi and undertake not to speak against Modi and BJP.

  15. By abrogating Art. 370 BJP Govt of India has killed Kashmiriat, the term much propagated by AB Vajpai. Modi took the decision in a haste like he did in CAA case. Hinduising the polity in such a haste could prove counter-productive as there are more urgent issues at hand.

      • So where will Sikhs go.. Or will you try to convert us.. We did not allow Aurangzeb to convert Pundits against their will and you think you can harm Sikhs or Sikhi. We have dealt with Abdali, Mughals, British and Indira and if Modi want to try his luck….then…..

      • Shame on u every person has a say in the country no matter what they believe in today it’s Muslims tomorrow it b u and so on get a life and wake up stop day dreaming

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