Revocation of Article 370 deepens anxieties in Kashmir; locals fear increased levels of violence, job woes

The abrogation of special status and the division of the state into two Union territories is being seen in Kashmir as a major setback.

Ishfaq Naseem August 11, 2019 21:52:43 IST
Revocation of Article 370 deepens anxieties in Kashmir; locals fear increased levels of violence, job woes
  • The abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution has deepened anxieties among several Kashmiris.

  • Several political parties, including the National Conference (NC), Congress and the PDP have formed a Joint Action Committee to oppose the move.

  • Adil Ashraf, 26, who runs a garment shop in Srinagar's Lal Chowk, said the abrogation of the special status will also increase unemployment in Kashmir.

The abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution has deepened anxieties among several Kashmiris, who view the abolition of special status as an assault on their identity.

The abrogation of special status and the division of the state into two Union territories is being seen in Kashmir as a major setback. Meanwhile, people in Shia-dominated Kargil have reacted sharply to the decision to bifurcate the state. Authorities had to impose prohibitory orders in the region as people observed a shutdown to protest the move.

Several political parties, including the National Conference (NC), Congress and the PDP have formed a Joint Action Committee to oppose the move.

Revocation of Article 370 deepens anxieties in Kashmir locals fear increased levels of violence job woes

Security personnel in Jammu and Kashmir. Reuters

Due to the state's special status, the powers of Parliament to frame laws for Jammu and Kashmir were earlier restricted. The state also had its own constitution and a separate flag alongside the tricolour. After the abrogation of the special status, BJP leader and Assembly Speaker Nirmal Singh removed the state's flag from his official vehicle.

In Srinagar, Feroze Ahmad Shah, who runs a construction company, said, “With the revocation of Article 370, we have lost our identity. The decision came as a shock. Article 370 was a bridge between India and Jammu and Kashmir, but that bridge has been destroyed now. The powers of the legislative Assembly have been curtailed and the state has now been turned into a Union Territory. The government enforced a lockdown and restricted the movement of people.”

Adil Ashraf, 26, who runs a garment shop in Srinagar's Lal Chowk, said the abrogation of the special status will also increase unemployment in Kashmir.

He said, “It will be difficult for poor people to own land and houses here now, as people from outside Kashmir will be able to buy property at higher rates. Moreover, tensions between Hindus and Muslims will rise once the Kashmiri Pandits are settled in separate colonies. The settlement of people from outside will turn Muslims into a minority in Kashmir."

Imran Hussain, 35, who sells mobile phones at a shop in Lal Chowk, said that the abrogation of special status would further fuel militancy. He remarked, “People take it as an assault on their special identity. I fear that the move could trigger violence in Kashmir. The government has even detained the pro-India leaders, which will only strengthen separatism in Kashmir. In many areas, ordinary youth have also been arrested in large numbers, which will only deepen public anger.”

Mohammad Maqbool, the managing editor of a local bilingual newspaper Wadi Ki Awaaz said that the abrogation of the special status has only ensured that the concentration of troops has increased by several times in Kashmir. “The region has been turned into a prison,” he said.

Maqbool added, “The effect of the abrogation of Article 370 will be felt more by the younger generation. Now, outsiders can come and take up jobs here. The local industry will be finished. I think the people will exhibit anger, which will further shrink the economy. Violence in Kashmir will hit the tourism sector. People are angry over the decision.”

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