Shubhreet Kaur gives an ordinary citizen’s take on Jammu and Kashmir and the recent developments in India. 

I am not a political expert nor am I politically inclined. I don’t consider myself to be aligned with the ideology of any party or extreme views on either side. For me, it’s about actions taken in the interest of the nation as a whole and scrapping of Article 370 was a long overdue much-needed move.

Frankly, I was a little surprised by some people not being happy with the abrogation of Article 370. It is in favour of the majority population of J & K (Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh) and also a step towards potentially resolving an issue that has plagued India for years.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Looking at the bigger picture, what scrapping Article 370 does is simply bring J & K at par with all other states and UTs in India. Why is that a bad thing?
  • Why should a woman from a state lose her right to buy property or land or her children lose their right to inherit property or land from their grandparents if that woman is married to someone from outside the said state? Same is not applicable to men in that state.
  • Why should a woman lose her citizenship and rights in a state if she marries outside that state? With the state citizenship issue removed, women’s rights in J & K will be preserved.
  • Why should the Right to Education not exist in any state? It was not applicable in J & K under Article 370.
  • Article 370 was always meant to be temporary and it’s finally being revoked. This is not just about Kashmir valley. It’s about fully integrating J & K with the rest of the country.

Here are some simple questions regarding what Article 370 stood for that we must ask ourselves:

  • Why should a state in a country have a separate flag, dual citizenship (state and country), and a separate constitution than all other states in that nation?
  • Why should a woman from a state lose her right to buy property or land or her children lose their right to inherit property or land from their grandparents if that woman is married to someone from outside the said state? Same is not applicable to men in that state.

Why should a state in a country have a separate flag, dual citizenship (state and country), and a separate constitution than all other states in that nation?

  • Why should a woman lose her citizenship and rights in a state if she marries outside that state? With the state citizenship issue removed, women’s rights in J & K will be preserved.
  • Why should the Right to Education not exist in any state? It was not applicable in J & K under Article 370. Yes, I agree education levels in India still need vast improvement but not having it at all certainly wasn’t helping the situation. Children in J & K will benefit with RTE in place.
  • If we want to be one unified secular country, then don’t the rights need to be unified for all as well?

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We can add more to the list but I think the point is clear. Looking at the bigger picture, what scrapping Article 370 does is simply bring J & K at par with all other states and UTs in India. Why is that a bad thing?

It’s about ALL of J & K

Regarding the transition, it will take time. Why won’t it? You can’t undo what the last 70 years have done in 3-4 days or 3-4 months. Jammu and Ladakh may see it happen at a faster rate as rates of militancy are lower there. Kashmir will probably take longer. But we have every reason to be optimistic towards betterment of people in all of J & K.

Many are arguing about the rights of Kashmiris. I completely agree with you! Because the rights of Kashmiris in India should be the same as the rights of all other Indians. Kashmir is a part of J & K, and J & K is a part of India.

As a secular nation, we have to keep in mind the views of the entire community that will be impacted and not just a segment.

The decision has been taken keeping in mind the population of J & K and that includes people of Jammu and Ladakh as well where the majority seems to be clearly in favour of it. As a secular nation, we have to keep in mind the views of the entire community that will be impacted and not just a segment. That includes all Indians from J & K – Muslims, Kashmiri Pandits, Buddhists, Sikhs, Hindus who have been living there for years and years and have suffered from the inherent discrimination of 370.

Ladakh for long had wanted 370 to be scrapped and be a separate UT. Jammu too has repeatedly struggled under 370 and welcomes the change. Article 370 was always meant to be temporary and it’s finally being revoked. This is not just about Kashmir valley. It’s about fully integrating J & K with the rest of the country.

Also Read: Women Of Kashmir Speak Up On Center Revoking Article 370 And 35A

Was there a better way?

Addressing the issue of the way the move has been made – Yes, it’s far from ideal. But ask anyone who has lived or spent a sufficient amount of time in J & K, specifically Kashmir, and they will tell you that it’s one of the most volatile areas in India.

Past history of Kashmir has shown that regular situations of unrest are high there and more often than not, lead to people getting injured or killed – civilians and soldiers.

With a move that essentially takes away special concession to the area, the likelihood of dangerous protests taking place was high.

With a move that essentially takes away special concession to the area, the likelihood of dangerous protests taking place was high. And those protests would not have reflected the will of the majority, but would have been instigated by separatists the way it has happened before.

While the curfew and large number of troops seems scary (and it is), it has helped avoid injury or major loss to life. The presence of troops while daunting has contributed to keeping people safe. Without that deployment, the situation could have been much worse.

Was there a better way? Neither you or I or anyone else can say that with guarantee because there would have been big risks involved in whichever way this move was made. However, this is obviously temporary and curfews are already slowly being eased out.

Also Read: The truth about women journalists in Jammu and Kashmir

Let’s be civil…

I also want to add that the distasteful statements being made by people on both sides of the argument are disrespecting this historic move and its potential to improve conditions, standard of living, gender equality, education and unity that can be brought in J and K if properly implemented.

Nor does it help to have misleading photos of a militants shot by troops in 2008 or a video of an accidental fire from 2018 circulating as current occurrences in Kashmir to rile up people. This is precisely the reason why communications and; internet was blocked there to avoid unnecessary panic and hysteria which could lead to worse consequences.

This is not about revenge or winning or being able to buy land or marrying women. I urge people including the ones in favour of the move to not resort to gloating, mockery or cheap comments. It’s not us versus them.

This is not about revenge or winning or being able to buy land or marrying women. I urge people including the ones in favour of the move to not resort to gloating, mockery or cheap comments. It’s not us versus them. We ALL constitute US! We are all citizens of India. Support and empathy will play a huge part in the transition to follow.

A healthy fair debate can only expand our views and help us analyse and discuss any topic for that matter from all angles. But let’s not lose focus of what lies ahead. Implementation and transition are key! We need to support rebuilding the union territories of J and K and Ladakh as essential parts of India because that’s what they are – an integral part of India!

Shubhreet Kaur is a journalist turned blogger who writes about gender equality, parenting, lifestyle, and travel.

The views expressed are the author’s own.

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