Kashmir, which is a Himalayan region, has always been in news for some reason or the other and there have been violent activities in the Indian administered side of Jammu and Kashmir from the past 30 yrs due to the separatist insurgency movement against India. It is that region which both India and Pakistan say is fully theirs. Kashmir was once a princely state called Jammu and Kashmir, and it was joined into India in 1947 soon after the end of the British rule in India. After independence, India and Pakistan went for war over Kashmir and both India and Pakistan controlled different parts of the territory with an agreed ceasefire line.

Article 370 gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir, allowing the state to have its own constitution, flag, and rights. 

Special status to Jammu and Kashmir under article 370 has been revoked by the presidential order. What does this mean? What effect does this have?

What do you think of it, is this something to be grateful/ thankful for or an awful thing? You must have noticed that individuals are either completely supporting it or are totally against it, and we should see both the sides with a fair methodology. The individuals that are supporting it, for what reason are they doing as such? What’s more? Why are a few individuals against it? For what reason are they doing this?

Based on this you can formulate your very own sentiment on this after hearing out both sides.

Let’s see it has a long history, yet summing up so, when it was formulated, Article 370 was a mode of keeping Kashmir associated with India. This article concedes a special status to Kashmir, because of which, Kashmir had the option to keep up its very own constitution, separate from the Indian constitution. It could have its very own flag, separate from the Indian flag. The forces of the Indian central government would at first be instrumental just in three areas i.e. external affairs, defense, and communications. Besides article 370, there was another article 35A which characterized the perpetual residents of Kashmir.

Previously, no outsider was allowed to purchase land or property in Kashmir or they can apply for government employments, scholarships and Jammu and Kashmir were also allowed to make its own rules related to ownership of property, permanent residency, and fundamental rights.

The decision that has been taken right presently hasn’t removed article 370. Interestingly, it has utilized article 370 to declare it invalid and void. There is a provision in this article which reads that “This article can cease to exist”. That is, this article can be declared invalid and void through a presidential order in a meeting with a constituent assembly of Jammu and Kashmir. So the President and the State government of Jammu and Kashmir can take this decision mutually.

 But the situation at present is that Jammu and Kashmir have been brought under the President’s rule. So the forces of the State government got transferred to the Parliament of India. Kashmir will no longer have a separate constitution and it has to abide by the Indian constitution much like any other state of India. All the laws of the land will be automatically applied to Kashmiris, and people from outside Kashmir will be able to buy property there and they can also apply for government jobs. The government of India says that this move will bring development to the region. There would be no different flags, and the tricolor will be the only flag. Since it is yet not certain whether things like purchasing lands would be permitted or not because there are a ton of states in our nation, such as Himachal Pradesh and the north-eastern states where the rest of the Indians are not permitted to purchase land. There are various reasons for this. Example: ecological reasons. In any case, was this decision correct? Would this lead to an improvement in the conditions in Kashmir or would it exacerbate the situation?

 Initially, I’d like you to hear the opinion of the individuals who support this decision and feel that conditions in Kashmir would improve over time. They feel that it is a win-win situation for both Kashmiris and Indians. This is because the Indians can now purchase land in Kashmir and because of which the land costs in Kashmir would rise.

 The local Kashmiris would get more cash when they would rent out their lands or offer lands to others. Industries would now come and put their resources in Kashmir and this would lead to financial advancement which would create more employment opportunities, increased business, and would reduce terrorist activities in the valley (as it was generally seen that many get into illegal or terrorist activities due to poverty and unemployment). Therefore if people in the valley join jobs, there would be a decrease in the casualties of psychological warfare. A few more advantages for the Kashmiris are the Right to Information, the Right to Education, the assembly duration in UT of J& K is five years, Single Citizenship, Article 360 will be applicable, minorities will be eligible for a 16% reservation, panchayats will have same rights as they are in order states, and if a Kashmiri woman marries outside the state or the country, then also she will retain all her rights and Indian citizenship. Now the Kashmiri pundits are extremely delighted that they would now have the option to return to Kashmir. Lastly, there’s a contention that expresses this would create a stressful effect. The one flag and one constitution would make the Kashmiris feel like a part of India.

Now, let us see what the individuals who contend against this state. The individuals who are against this decision have a basic contention that the Kashmiris were not asked at all before taking this decision. Hundreds of troops were brought in, a major Hindu pilgrimage was canceled, the internet was suspended, the landlines were cut off, tourists were ordered to leave, schools and colleges were shut, the Kashmiri politicians were placed under house arrest, and the individuals were bolted up inside their homes. And the government took this decision without informing the Kashmiris about it. People, therefore, express that these sums to the illicit occupation and this can be compared to Fascism. That is, bringing in the military and forcing this decision on them without asking them initially. Some Kashmiris felt that by dissolving the State Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir, forcing President’s rule on them is no less than a dictatorship and they also feel that nobody is giving attention to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Another contention is that what the government was doing was unconstitutional and this was done because a decision had been taken behind their backs. So the individuals were deluded. They were kept in obscurity.

The supporters of the decision felt that getting the troops was an ideal decision because if it issue would have settled with talks, then this unrest would not have been there continuously for 70 years. Some separatists say that article 370 was the sole mode of association between Kashmir and India.

Many felt angry by the way this bill was passed. There was no dialog or discussion in the Parliament. Another significant decision has been taken that Jammu and Kashmir will be made a different union territory and Ladakh will be made a different union territory. The government then said that it has revoking nearly all of Article 370, which 35A is part of and which has been the basis of Kashmir’s complex relationship with India. Many Kashmiris believe that the BJP government ultimately wants to change the demographic character of the Muslim-majority region by allowing the non-Kashmiris to buy land there. The decision also comes with a hint that the BJP government is tough on Kashmir and Pakistan.

So if the decision to repeal Article 370 would have been taken by counseling Kashmiri individuals or if nothing else in discussion with the Kashmiri politicians or the State Government, in the wake of the elections, then it would have been different. There are clashes between the State government and the Central government and this hampers growth. The advancement gets slowed down and the work cannot progress in the right way. So this was my feeling on this issue, but here, I’d like to ask you what do you think? Was this choice right or wrong?

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