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Reader View: Removing Article 370 decreased militancy, but no improvement in living conditions

YourTurn is our new weekly feature in which ThePrint's readers share their views or opinions in response to the question of the week.

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New Delhi: Monday marked the first anniversary of the scrapping of Article 370 that stripped Jammu and Kashmir of its special status, and paved the way to it being split in two union territories — Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

We asked our readers: One year on, what has scrapping of Article 370 achieved?

This is what some of their views were:

‘Brought uniformity to all Indian citizens living in Jammu and Kashmir’

One year on, scrapping of Article 370 has achieved a standard of uniformity for all Indian citizens in the region without any shades of separatism. Hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens living in Jammu, from Gorkha and Dalit communities, who were denied equality before, are now climbing the ladder of opportunities in J&K through Domicile Certificates. Whenever the elections in J&K take place, people will vote as J&K’s permanent residents … With the scrapping of Article 370, we as a country have managed to scrap the misogyny and illiberalism, which was part of the basic socio-political structuring of the erstwhile state of J&K.

— Mukul Sharma

‘We have achieved nothing’

As Shekhar Gupta often says in ThePrint’s Cut the Clutter, we live in a polarised world today. Article 370 has been so polarised for political gain instead of ‘vikas’ (development). Thanks to the pandemic, we all know how lockdown can be for the economy as well as for humans. We complain about lockdown but imagine living in a military lockdown for months as the people of J&K have been, with 2G connectivity in a 4G world. It’s not about who is right or wrong at the end of the day but humanity always comes first. In simple terms, the answer to the question is that we have achieved nothing, but the cost of nothing is never nothing.

— Yanthan Naga, Kohima

‘The move has solidified India’s claim on J&K internationally’

The scrapping of Article 370, along with a well-coordinated diplomatic response, has helped solidify the Indian claim on Jammu and Kashmir internationally. Almost all major countries asserted that it was an internal matter, and Pakistan’s claims were mostly ignored. With Article 370 gone, the region enjoys the same status as the rest of the country. On the one hand, the move ensures that J&K will slowly get properly integrated with the rest of India. Ladakh, on the other hand, has been freed from a forced Relationship. It will be culturally independent and will prosper without the burdens of Kashmir.

— Tejashvi

‘No improvement in governance, but separatists have lost support’

Although there is no evidence of improved governance or reduction in terrorism in J&K after the abrogation of Article 370, one significant positive is that it has ended claims of separatism. It has been a year, and there has been no significant protests or demonstrations against this move, nor any major party in India, including Omar Abdullah’s, is demanding restoration of Article 370. Separatists seem to have no say at all and don’t seem to have any ground support. This probably is the biggest achievement of the abrogation of Article 370.

— Vidyuth Chikoti, San Francisco Bay Area, US. Twitter handle: @followvidyuth

‘Scrapping Article 370 has proved effective in stopping terror activities’

In reference to all terror activities in Jammu and Kashmir, it has indeed proved to be effective. The move to scrap Article 370 wasn’t a bad one. It was long overdue. If it all came into the country’s actual territory, it could enjoy rights and liabilities granted generously by the Constitution of India. What was a little disturbing is the way the government wanted to enforce it. House arrest of political leaders and disconnecting people by blocking the internet, all this seemed as if the government wanted to keep the people of Jammu and Kashmir in ignorance.

— Gaurav Jha, Kolkata. Twitter handle: @VeraciousBeing

‘Abrogation of Article 370 has repressed journalism in the state’

Ever since the abrogation of Article 370, journalism has been in a state of repression. The restriction by the police and inability of high speed internet have hamstrung all reporters which, as far as I believe, was the main reason behind decline of India’s position in the world’s press freedom index. But hopefully the joint Indo-Pak study shows that 80 per cent in Jammu and Ladakh and 70 per cent in Kashmir believe that their life has improved. Nearly 75 per cent people are happy with the government for educational, employment, healthcare and infrastructure development. Data is not that exhilarating but people are feeling safe which is consequential for the citizens of newly crafted Union territories.

— Ishan Sundriyal, Bareilly. Twitter handle: @ishan40792351

‘There has been no positive change’

In the past one year, we have not seen a real or subtle change in the situation of Jammu and Kashmir based on the news coming from the region. We still only hear about encounters, captures, etc. If anyone says that the situation has become good after removal of Article 370, they really have no idea of the situation and the people there. The people there still are not granted many things which are considered basic rights for us … we don’t even know for how long they have had no access to Internet or even cell towers. So, no, there has been no positive change or outcome in Jammu and Kashmir which could be called a good thing or was worth abrogating Article 370.

— Vaibhav, Ballia, UP. Twitter handle: @gyaaniVaibhav

‘There has been a decrease in violence but conditions go against values of democracy’

Since the day the government abrogated Article 370, there has been tension in Kashmir, no internet connectivity, poor phone systems, bloodshed and high security which go against the values of a democratic nation and infringe on human rights. But it has also resulted in the decrease of violence. The problem is, no forceful action can ever change the heart of citizens. Kashmiris do not feel like they are a part of India. The government could have used some other way for the unification of the territory, but suppressing democracy for political motives is incongruous.

— Syed Mobashshir Athar, Narkatiaganj (Bihar). Twitter handle: @msyedisback

‘Has caused mistrust among people of Kashmir’ 

On 5 August 2019, the Government of India revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir provided under Article 370, saying this step will bring prosperity in Kashmir, increase in industrialisation, rise in job opportunities for youth, expansion of horticulture and handicraft industry, boost tourism industry, protection of the rights of women and Schedule Tribes etc. But did we really achieve it? A report in Economics Times says that the economy Kashmir suffered losses of Rs 15,000 crore from August to December 2019. According to the trade body in Kashmir, KCCI, businesses in Kashmir have suffered a loss of estimated Rs 40,000 crore. According to the Observer Research Foundation, in the past five months alone, the economy of Kashmir lost Rs 17,878 crore and more than 90,000 job losses. The misuse of laws such as UAPA, PSA and sedition law, detention of leaders, journalists and locals and social media curbs, has caused mistrust among local Kashmiris.

— Prajjwal Kasera, Balrampur (UP). Twitter handle: @Prajjwal3959

‘Militancy has reduced, but there is a severe economic strain’

There is no developmental economic boom to be seen, the state is deprived of 4G internet and there is restricted access even for journalists — all of this tells a tale of a botched plan. According to a recent KCCI report, the economy has deteriorated to Rs 40,000 crore. Over 90,000 jobs have been lost in the sectors of handicraft, tourism and IT, with 23,000 government job vacancies due to the absence of a recruitment board. People are also failing to apply for existing job opportunities and exams due to bad internet connectivity. Even though militancy has reduced, we are facing a lot of strain.

— Atisshreya, Bhubaneshwar. Twitter handle: @atisshreya

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  1. “.. no improvement in living conditions” of whom ???? If militancy is reduced, how come living conditions are not improved. Is reduction of fear not part of living conditions???? It looks that living conditions of ThePrint ‘s journalists and their AKA’s in Kashmir are not improved as the money flowing from across the border to them is stopped.

  2. Some are complaining about internet speed. they must remember that Pakistan is hell bent to exploit the situation with their agents in India. So security has to be tight and conditions have to be normalised one step at a time. Some are complaining about democracy. A little smaller dose of democracy would do no harm to the health of Indian democracy.

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