Kashmir Indepth
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Scrapping of Art 370 gives a new status to J&K people

 Irfan Hussain

On August 05, 2019, the government of India guaranteed new status to the people living in Jammu and Kashmir by scrapping the then existing special status of the erstwhile state. Although enjoying a special status, the people were being deprived of several rights like preserving the rights of a woman even after marrying a man outside Kashmir, citizenship rights to the West Pakistan Refugees (WPR) and importantly putting brakes on the developmental works in Jammu and Kashmir. But, since Article 370 was abrogated by the federal government led by Narendra Modi on August 5 2019, all these rights have been guaranteed to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The decision, which was opposed by the mainstream political parties in Jammu and Kashmir, has paved the way for the employment, development and several other things that would certainly benefit the people living in Jammu and Kashmir. The special rights to the people were being granted temporarily under Article 370 and 35-A. The constitutions were being used by the political parties here to play politics and to gain the votes from the general public as these political parties had created a presumption among the masses that everything will be lost when the special status is trashed due to which they got heartily connected to it and wanted it to stay further. However, on ground, the situation post trashing of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status has guaranteed new status to the people in Jammu and Kashmir as the swelling number of educated but unemployed youth got a chance to earn their livelihood as the decision paved the way for the industrialists and other sectors to open up their offices and units in the newly carved Union Territory. The setting up of new industries and other sectors would provide the livelihood to the educated but unemployed youth of Jammu and Kashmir, who have been promised high and tall by the successive erstwhile state regimes, but failed to get anything on the ground as soon after the political parties assumed the charge, they forget each and every promise especially those done with the youth. The trashing of special status has now opened up many ways as well as the options for the youth. It has not only allowed the outsiders to set up units here but those living in Jammu and Kashmir can directly sell their products grown in Jammu or Kashmir to outside markets without anyone’s interference that would certainly help them to gain their markets there as well. The special status was also hindering the central government to come up with a new dawn of development in Jammu and Kashmir. Since the abrogation of Article 370 last year, nearly 200 projects have been either unveiled or inaugurated for Jammu and Kashmir where the local populace is being fully taken into confidence. The new era of development in Jammu and Kashmir will not only upgrade the status of the Union Territory, but would also attract the number of tourists from outside Jammu and Kashmir either domestic or foreigner to visit here, which would help the youth here to earn their livelihood as hundreds of people are directly or indirectly associated with the tourism sector, which has suffered a jolt at present due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Besides, the decision taken has also put a brake on the violence incidents in Kashmir, the graph of which was high in previous years. The stone pelting incidents, which was the new norm in Kashmir, has reduced to zero per cent since the abrogation of Article 370 while the number of local youth joining the militant ranks has also declined to a large extent. The separatism has also taken a back seat in Jammu and Kashmir.

The Kashmir valley was witnessing frequent strike calls from these leaders, but, since the abrogation of Article 370, none of the separatists are visible on the ground and are not making appeals for complete shutdown anymore, which has so far drained the economy of people living n Jammu and Kashmir. The benefits of trashing of Article 370 cannot be explained in words as the people have started getting benefits for which they had been deprived for a long. For example, a Kashmir woman if marry any outside resident, was losing her rights on the land and jobs in Jammu and Kashmir. But, this law’s amendment has put an end to such culture as the woman an now freely apply for jobs even after marrying any man outside Kashmir and can also buy land back in the Valley. Therefore, the decision taken last year has preserved the rights of a woman even after marrying a man outside Kashmir. The last year’s decision has also heard the genuine voices of West Pakistan Refugees (WPR), who were being deprived of the rights to buy land, get jobs and other things as this section of the society, have also got the rights. After the trashing of Article 370, the central government was able to take many decisions that are set to benefit people in Jammu and Kashmir in many ways. The central laws were implemented, largest-ever recruitment drive was started, Domicile Certificate was made basic eligibility condition for Government Recruitment, power department was unbundled, Land Registration Process was moved from Courts to Executive, Unique Market Intervention Scheme for Apple was introduced, seven new Medical Colleges were operationalised and sanctioned. School Health Cards scheme was launched for the first time, 50 new degree colleges were started and others are among the decisions that were taken by the federal government after the trashing of Article 370.

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