ON August 5 last year India took away the special status of the erstwhile state of J&K by abrogating Article 370 and 35A that subsequently paved the way for the reorganization of the former state into two Union Territories – J&K and Ladakh. The Minister of Home Affair Ami Shah on the floor of the Parliament supported the annulment of Article 370 on the grounds that it would aid in the region’s economic, social and political progress and supported it as the only tonic to the issues that had plagued Kashmir for more than thirty years. But the people of J&K dismissed the decision as an attack on their identity and rights.
The move had invited serious backlash from various organisations and had escalated the issue to the international platform like never before. One year after the abrogation, the heat is still on especially on the international front. The move has engaged almost all neighbouring countries who share a border with India. Prominent national and international defence experts and analysts have related the ongoing ‘Galwan Valley’ clash as a fallout of scrapping of Article 370.
It is quite clear now that the intent of India’s policies in Kashmir are under a sterner scanner now more than ever. But the greatest casualty for India has been a loss of people’s trust in them. The local political leaders and parties in J&K who had sold the idea of democracy and secularism have lost all support at the grass roots following their detention last August. Common masses in Kashmir count every move of India as a betrayal; thereby compromising India’s self-image itself.
Celebrating the anniversary of rescinding of Article 370 and 35A on August 5 in this situation has furthered this sense of alienation. All the claims of development have fallen flat as the abrogation has failed to bring any visible changes to the ground situation.
- Bilal Ahmad is a Research Scholar at the Department of English Literature & Foreign Languages, SRM University
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