SRINAGAR – As the shutdown over abrogation of Kashmir’s special status continued for the 68th day, the Jammu and Kashmir administration has come out with a full-page advertisement in local dailies in Srinagar asking people to resume their normal activities.
Friday marks the 68th day of uncertainty in Kashmir which was sparked by abrogation of Article 370 provisions and scrapping of Kashmir’s statehood, its constitution and its flag on August 5. Markets remain shut and public transport is off the roads.
“Closed shops. No public transport,” reads the advertisement. “Who benefits?”, asked the advertisement released by the states Department of Information and PR.
“Are we going to succumb to militants? For over 70 years now, the people of Jammu and Kashmir have been misled. They have been victims of a vicious campaign and motivated propaganda that has kept them trapped in an endless cycle of terrorism, violence, destruction and poverty,” the advertisement, published in various dailies of Kashmir, reads.
The appeal was made at a time when governments in both New Delhi and Srinagar continue to claim that the situation in Kashmir was normal.
In the ad, the government highlighted how the separatists sent their children to “exotic lands” to study, work and earn while instigating the common people to push their children into “violence, stone pelting and hartals”.
“They used threats of terrorists, coercion and misinformation to beguile the people. Today, militants are using the same tactic of threats and coercion. Are we going to tolerate this,” it asked.
The government also asked the people whether they would allow this “age-old tactic of threats and coercion” to influence them.
“Will threat and misinformation prevail or will we take informed decisions on what is best for us? Will we let a few posters and threats push us into not resuming our businesses, into not earning our legitimate livelihood, into not securing a rightful education and secure future for our children, into not letting development bloom for our Kashmir,” it added.
As there are very few signs of normalcy returning to Kashmir Valley any time soon, the government said it was for the people of Kashmir to think about the well being of the Valley.
“This is our home. It is for us to think of its well being and prosperity. Why fear?” it asked.
Even before taking away the special status of the state, the government had imposed strict restrictions, fearing the public backlash.
Communication services including mobile services and the internet were completely suspended.
Though restrictions on public movement have been largely eased, mobile phone services and the internet continue to remain suspended and hundreds of political workers, trade union leaders and lawyers remain behind bars.