What has happened in Jammu Kashmir since 5 August

Upon completion of 100 days in office of the second term of Narendra Modi government, the Prime Minister’s Ministerial colleagues and other top Bhartiya Janta Party leaders are presenting a report card to people across the country they key highlights of which are modification in Article 370 and the Triple Talaq Bill passed by the Parliament. While the fundamental question before our nation at this point of time is about the economy but a majority has chosen to focus at how politics operates about issues which have lingered in India for over seven decades –Kashmir, the most prominent of them. There is a lot that deserves comment on 100 days of Modi 2.0 but we would like to focus more on the last 35 days in Jammu and Kashmir since the unprecedented constitutional change happened through the constitutional and parliamentary system of India. This is basic fact, often ignored by many commentators, that Jammu and Kashmir is a highly diverse region with different people having different opinion about the past, present and future of this place and its politics. To say that whole of Jammu and Kashmir are happy with the modification in Article 370 and downgrading of a historical State to two Union Territories would be an absolute lie but to say to the contrary would also be not any lesser a lie. So the fact of the matter is that in diverse milieu of political opinion, a lot of people in Jammu region are happy, some or not; some in Kashmir are okay with the decision. We will have to begin by accepting the fact (a fact, which might appear as an assumption since no authentic opinion has come out of the Valley due to communications lockdown and detention of all prominent political, social, religious and business leaders) that a wide majority of Kashmiris and some more people in Jammu region are extremely bitter over the Modi government’s decision and the manner in which it has been carried out. This is a much long debate and requires one to go deeper into the whole gamut of Kashmir’s relation with the Union of India to arrive at the final question that how politics and also the statecraft reached a stage which such a drastic decision had to be taken. We leave this debate for another time. The issue under discussion is the handling os the situation after such a massive political decision with potential of shaking people’s emotions. Violence was definitely expected. It hasn’t happened. Clampdown, as it is prevailing in Kashmir, is not to anyone’s liking but these measures have ensured that no life was lost in any angry situation. The next big challenge is to ensure that people have minimum inconvenience due to restrictions. Avoiding inconvenience in face of communications blockage is impossible but this will have to be said with honestly and frankness that the authorities have done remarkably well in helping people with the basic needs including medical care and essential supplies.


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