article 370 1565188182

It has been one year now since Article 370 abrogation done undemocratically and immorally by Government of India where thousands of persons including prominent political leaders were pushed behind walls over the night because the largest democracy of world feared that these political leaders have a base in population which was required to be cut to avoid any dissent , resistance against the decision that was taken in Parliament of India with representatives of 120 million people about future of a state that was associated with Union of India through a special status provided to it under special circumstances and with agreeing constituent assembly of constitution of India. In a single shot, in single day, such a big decision was made approved in Parliament with an agreed convenience of President of India without any larger debate in which the J&K state was parted in two and the new J&K became a UT with legislature while another one Ladakh, a UT without legislature.

As the status of state changed, there was a discontent among people and to stop any protest, preventive detention of leaders was done with relocating few in jails in J&K, outside the state and with some under house arrest. Even the former Chief Ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah were also arrested. Interestingly, while talking about Farooq Abdullah in Parliament, the Home minister of India spoke in an unprofessional way to which parliamentarians never questioned. In the Rajya Sabha (Upper House of Indian Parliament), it was informed that a total 5161 people were detained in Kashmir (excluding Jammu and Ladakh) during Aug5, 2019 to Nov1, 2019. Government considered these detention ‘With a view to prevent commission of offences involving breach of peace and security of state and maintenance of public order’.

Now, when a year is completed, many youths, political leaders are made free but many are still under detention, (mis)utilising draconian provisions of PSA. Recently, a video and picture of Saifuddin Soz surfaced in media where he was looking from behind the barbed wire boundary wall and security persons pulled him back while the Govt. of India stated in Supreme Court in official capacity that Soz is not detained, but unfortunately, opposition remain unable to raise the issue among public.

Mehbooba Mufti’s detention was further extended under PSA. She is the one who took steps earlier to form a government in collaboration with BJP as a moral decision to obey people’s wish who voted for both parties in electorates, but even she was not spared from the wrath of detention. Now, when NC’s Omar Abdullah, Farooq Abdullah are also free, still the extension in Mufti’s detention is unfortunate and reflects that probably the government considers her larger acceptability and leadership among people. Recently, in an interview, Mufti’s daughter and youth face of PDP Iltiza shared how hard it is for them to see all this. Mehbooba Mufti is also one of the most prominent leaders who spoke about bringing CBMs as a part of development and she has been very vocal to have better Indo-Pak relations for a peaceful future of the subcontinent. In earlier years, even successful start of cross border bus and trade relations were done under PDP leadership through which many people on both sides got some ways to heal themselves by meeting relatives, family members who are divided due to the conflict-ridden region. Now, it seems that after the episode of abrogation and sidelining voices of all Kashmiri political narratives, India-Pakistan relations may actually become worse, which cannot be said to be fine for the South Asian region.

Number of people who are still under detention is not known exactly, but it seems that emotions of common people are not coming out, which is obviously a dangerous sign. People say that many Kashmiris are suffering from disorders and depression. Schools, colleges everything is shut, terrorist attacks threat are still continuing, mobile internet is still unavailable.

Legally it can be a matter of argument in ambit of courts whether disabling 4G networks, censoring media, changing domicile rules, detention of people and leaders, bi-furcation of state without asking will and advise of state leaders and people; were legal or illegal; but when one will see it through frame of ethical or unethical, right or wrong; there can be more points and weightage on the side which would stand against what happened last year through Parliament of India. Just following a manifesto promise or to gain popular sentiments for voting could have been avoided for a greater future of the country and its people.

It never meant that the situation in the valley remained well prior to 370 abrogation. In fact, regular incidents of terrorist attacks, encounters, stone pelting and civil curfew were a routine thing in the state. Internet shutdown had happened earlier too. Summer unrests were so horrible and psychological pressure among young minds were all earlier too. A report of JKCCS stated that during the year 2003 to year 2017 around 318 children (aged between 01 year to 17 year) lost their lives in incidents of violence in the valley. Valley of Kashmir remained one among highest military zones in the world. But after August 5, the situation turned another turn with addition of another psychological pressure among people’s minds and even blocking the safety valves such as freedom to register protests, public rallies too.

As the Kashmir issue was already complex and a conflicting one due to different narratives, now it has been made more complicated with addition of more narratives, fear of speaking, sense of confusion and uncertainty of future. No one knows where this all will go. Government must start restoring trust and instead of confidence building measures, there is a strong need for trust building measures. And as nothing can be predicted, only hope exists, where one can hope that things will be settling down one day.

Ravi Nitesh is a peace activist and freelance writer. He tweets @ravinitesh. Views expressed are personal



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