‘Huge disappointment amid apprehensions among people across UT’
Srinagar, Aug 04: On the first anniversary of Article 370 roll back and slicing of erstwhile State into two Union Territories (UT), there is a little hope and more despair coupled with the apprehensions among the people belonging to the cross section of the society.
On August 05, last year, the government scrapped the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the erstwhile State into two Union Territories following which the UT remained shut for months together.
Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) chief, Ghulam Ahmad Mir while talking to the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) said that the people in the Union Territory have been forced to face hardships since last one year and are still anguished over the decisions taken by the government last year.
“There is no sector which witnessed growth. Everything has got affected including education, trade, tourism, horticulture and others,” he said, adding that a few people who are their own are supporting and appreciating the last year’s decisions while the majority of people are anguished. “In one year, Jammu and Kashmir went back 25 years,” he added.
National Conference (NC) said August 05 is the darkest patch in the history of J&K marking the forcible, illegal and unconstitutional infringement of the rights of its people, saying the party will fight the battle for the restoration of people’s rights peacefully and legally.
Terming the actions undertaken on this day last year as ‘undemocratic onslaught on the rights and honor of the people of J&K’, party spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar in a statement said the measures betrays breach of faith and outrageous back peddling on the solemn commitments the people of Jammu and Kashmir had got from the union of India at the time of Accession.
“The commitments had come from the country, profusely guaranteed by its constitution. While the people of J&K have stood by their word, the union of India chose to backtrack from its solemn commitments made to the people of Jammu and Kashmir unilaterally and undemocratically. The decisions that were taken on the 5th of august were taken on false excuses all of which stand debunked today. One year later the situation is as it is, it has rather become more fragile and unstable. The dividends that the nullification of the Art 370, 35-A were claimed to give are not perceptible on ground. It was also sold to the rest of the country that the decisions of the BJP government have fared well with the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. If the people are that pleased at the drastic changes undertaken last year then why do we have curfew imposed in Kashmir today. The situation is no different in Chenab, Pirpanjal and Kargil areas. People of Jammu are equally upset and worried about their future. There is not a single soul in J&K which is not feeling humiliated, and ditched,” he said.
CPI (M) senior leader and former MLA Kulgam, Muhammad Yousuf Tarigami said that it has been a year since BJP Govt. scrapped J&K’s special status under Article 370,35A demoted the erstwhile state into two Union Territories. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah justified and defended the decision on the floor of the house, that it would end decades-long militancy, separatism and corruption in the region and bring development, jobs and prosperity to the region,” Tarigami said.
However, one year down the line, promises proved to be a mirage and the claims a hoax. None of the aforementioned claims pass the test of reality. If violence has really come down and the security scenario has improved, then why does the administration resort to a muscular approach of silencing the voices of the population by arbitrarily booking its people and detaining youth under draconian laws like UAPA, Public Safety Act, he said.
“One of the loudest statements we have been hearing is that Article 370 was an impediment in development, investment and job creation? How many jobs were created? How much investment has come in? How many developmental projects have been completed or announced? In fact the reality is that lacs of people have lost their jobs due to the lockdowns and uncertainty in the region. Forget about development and creating new employment opportunities, thousands of daily-wagers, casual labourers, scheme workers and others have been denied wages for months together,” he added.
Panthers Party President, Harsh Dev Singh while addressing media persons today in Jammu stated that on this day, the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir State lost its glory and was degraded and bifurcated into two Union Territories.
“Since the day, the democratic process has been stopped and unfortunately, people are being asked to celebrate the day,” he said.
Awami National conference (ANC) senior vice president, Muzaffar Shah said that the last one year has added to the miseries of people in Jammu and Kashmir. “Everybody from Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, all are in favor of the Article 370 and 35A as people believe that the constitution is guaranteed for their jobs, land and other things,” he added.
Shah further stated that the communication lockdown is a deadly stroke for every individual including students, doctors, traders and others. “Except Kashmir, nowhere in the world, you put curfew for prevention of COVID. It was done to put Kashmiris behind the bars again and particularly to thwart a meeting tomorrow at Gupkar wherein all the mainstream political party leaders were supposed to participate,” he said. “We are unable to understand what these guys are going to celebrate when nobody is with them,” he said.
National Students Union of India (NSUI) activist, Ajay Lakhotra while talking to KNO said that on this day a year ago, the Jammu and Kashmir not only lost the special status and Statehood, but the rights of the people were also snatched by the government.
“A year has elapsed, but the high speed mobile data services, which is one among the rights of people has been snatched and is not being restored,” he said, adding that the situation for the people has not changed on the ground as they are being deprived of basic facilities and rights.
President of Kashmir Hotels and Restaurant Owners Federation (KHAROF), Abdul Wahid Malik said that the situation hoteliers have faced from the past one year, has never been witnessed in the past. “We are facing a bad situation. We are not able to resume our work for one year. The hoteliers here have suffered huge losses,” he said.
He further added that they were promised by the government that they will be provided assistance, but nothing was done on the ground. Malik also said that many people associated with hotels and restaurants have now become jobless and many have even closed their hotels.
Houseboat Owners Welfare Trust (HOWT) member, Tariq Ahmad said that since August 2, they have been forced to face hardships. “We have not earned a single penny. We are not even able to pay the school fee of our wards. This is not me only, but all the house boat owners are facing similar situation,” he said.