Article 370 Is A Failure; Kashmiri Pandits, Muslims Demand Reinstating Statehood, Special Status

On the anniversary of revocation of Article 370 and the splitting of the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), Safina Nabi, a Kashmir based writer called the move a “failure”.  Earlier Kashmiri Pandit organizations also demanded to reinstate Article 370 before August 5th 2020.

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“Projecting it as a move that would bring development and peace to Kashmir, India’s action has instead disrupted almost every aspect of our culture and politics. Incidences of violence have increased, the economy has slowed dramatically, normal life has become a casualty of political expediency,” she wrote.

Last year on August 5, the Indian government revoked the contentious Article 370 that granted special status to J&K and a substantial amount of autonomy to frame its own laws. The decision was accompanied by splitting the state into two union territories: J&K and Ladakh. The move was followed by detaining mainstream political leaders and a communication blockade throughout the region.

“India wanted us to believe that Article 370 was a hindrance to economic development, but the past year has brought little in the way of growth, with the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry projecting losses of around $6 billion,” wrote Nabi.

According to the author, many mainstream leaders still languish behind bars. On November 20, 2019, the centre quoted that 5,161 persons were detained since August 5, out of whom 609 were under detention while the rest were released.

Challenging the claims of Government of India, she stated that according to a recent statement from the executive committee members of the J&K High Court Bar Association to the chief justice of the Supreme Court of India, nearly 13,000 people are still in detention.

“The abrogation of Article 370 has led to the winding up of various commissions, including the J&K State Human Rights Commission, and the Women’s Commission, and it has plunged our education system into crisis,” she wrote.

She further emphasised that children in the valley have not been able to attend school for more than 10 days since the decision. About the ongoing ban on high-speed internet, she stated that children are being been barred from the basic right of education.

Taking a dig at the current India-China border clash, Nabi wrote that China has aggressively presented itself as a third party to the dispute by entering Ladakh to engage in a series of firefights that have heightened cross-border tensions even though New Delhi claimed that foreign interference would end after the decision.

She concluded saying that India will never accept that the abrogation of Article 370 as a failure and New Delhi will try to affirm that life in Kashmir is normal. “It will continue to hope that by blocking communication and controlling dissent on the ground, no one will know how much the situation has deteriorated”.

Earlier, an organisation of Kashmiri Pandits has asked the government of India to restore the statehood and special status for Jammu and Kashmir. The group called Reconciliation, Relief and Rehabilitation has urged to government to reinstate Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir.

The group has made an appeal to Indian PM, Home Minister and the government saying, “The people of Jammu and Kashmir were your own people, love them. As a good gesture, confer special status to J&K. The representatives /parliamentarians are for the people, by the people and they need to understand the aspiration and the wishes of the people”.

The statement added that the special provisions should be made to protect the interest and aspirations of the backward regions, to protect the cultural and economic interests of the people, safeguard the minorities and deal with the disturbed law and order in some parts of the state.