Article 370: Three years of helplessness in Kashmir

Faheem Haider

It has been three years since Indian-administered Kashmir's special constitutional status was revoked. After three years, the same helplessness, fear and helplessness that was inflicted on them is still visible. In fact, nothing has changed. They hope that something good will happen but there are no signs of it.

On August 5, 2019, the federal government of India abrogated Article 370 of Indian-administered Kashmir. At that time, the Indian government had justified that unemployment and corruption would end in Kashmir after repealing this article. Even after three years, this dream could not be fulfilled.

According to data from the Center for Monitoring Indian Economy, the unemployment rate in Indian-administered Kashmir is 20.2, which is four times higher than India's average unemployment rate.

At that time, there was talk of eradicating corruption on the part of the government, but large-scale rigging in the selection of Kashmiri police, sub-inspector posts and financial stunts has come to light, after which the selection list was canceled and the labour of thousands of youth was lost.

The protest of the youth against these measures is still ongoing. After the abrogation of Article 370, some things have reduced like incidents of stone pelting no longer occur.

Amidst all this, an interesting thing was that while there is bitter bitterness between the governments of India and Pakistan, the forces of India and Pakistan have maintained peace on the Line of Control.

In February 2021, the forces of the two countries agreed to implement the ceasefire agreement and since then the borders have remained calm.

Even on restoring the state status of Indian-administered Kashmir, no firm response has come from the government.

While more than 20 petitions filed in the Supreme Court of India against revoking the special authority of Kashmir have been closed for three years.

The Supreme Court entrusted this decision to the Constitution Bench, but despite the passage of three years, the Constitution Bench did not come to any conclusion.

With the abrogation of Article 370, Article 35A, which was added to it under the Presidential Order, has also been abolished, under which the residents of the state were recognized as permanent residents and were given special rights as permanent citizens. The issue of Article 35A regarding the right to special citizenship of Jammu and Kashmir in the constitution is older than Kashmir. According to this law, a citizen of any area outside the boundaries of Jammu and Kashmir could not own immovable property in the state could not get a government job here and could not invest freely in Kashmir. A Kashmiri woman or girl had to lose Kashmiri citizenship in case of marriage to a non-Kashmiri, for example, an Indian citizen.

Now, after the removal of this article by India, India's relationship with Kashmir has clearly and effectively ended and now Kashmiris can declare their independence. Kashmiris fear that the collapse of this protective wall in the Indian constitution will make them stateless like the Palestinians, as the influx of non-Muslim settlers into Kashmir may take away their lands, resources and employment. The two treacherous families (Abdullah and Mufti family) who were India's representatives in Occupied Kashmir for the last 70 years with India's agenda see how they are being treated.

Today they are also speaking the same stance as a Hurriyat. This shows that those who were supporters of India's position in Jammu and Kashmir are no longer fit to show their faces to anyone.

The abrogation of Kashmir's special constitutional status was aimed at appeasing the Hindu vote bank.

Kashmir did not get special constitutional status. This status is still enjoyed by some states of India. It is obvious that Kashmir is a Muslim-majority region, so it has become a target.

BJP has built its vote bank on the principle of Hindu extremist thinking. Kashmir was stripped of its special constitutional status to please this vote bank.