Abrogation anniversary: Uneasy calm in J&K
It is all quiet on the first anniversary of August 5, the day when Jammu and Kashmir’s special status was scrapped and statehood taken away.
Barring the blitzkrieg of the “for and against campaign” on social media, neither celebrations nor protests are visible.
The BJP, however, has planned a fortnight of celebrations beginning tomorrow with a call to hoist the Tricolour and lighting of homes all across the UT to demonstrate its celebratory mood. There is, however, a contrast in Srinagar, the nerve centre of the Kashmir politics, where the authorities are on tenterhooks due to the calls of observing Wednesday as a “black day” to protest against the “black law”.
Since August 5 last year, the administration of the two UTs of J&K and Ladakh have initiated a narrative of development over disruptive politics that has ended the discrimination and deprivation of various sections, particularly those like West Pakistan refugees were unsettled for the past over 70 years. They, and others like them, have got their citizenship rights as equals because of the domicile policy. “This is a dream come true for us all,” Labba Ram, leader of the West Pakistan refugees.
Gurkhas and Valmikis believe that the future of their generations is secure now unlike when J&K was covered with special status and denied them all the rights of citizenship. It has also gladdened the nationalists in Jammu who always wanted the countrymen to have rights to jobs and land in J&K, but their long-articulated calls for preserving the Dogra culture and identity against the “threat of Kashmiri supremists” have melted now.
Kashmiri leadership of all stripes has declared August 5 as a “black day”. The PDP has come out with specific call like that of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference describing it as a “black law”.
Two top National Conference leaders Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar have questioned the rationality of the decisions. They have said that no development has taken place. Farooq even asked the Centre to show “where the life J&K people had changed for better”. The Jammu region is not in a mood of celebration either as the people here, including some in the BJP, have seen that Jammu stands to lose more because of the domicile policy that empowers outsiders.
Ladakh, too, is a story of contrasts – Buddhists are planning celebrations, Kargil Muslims’ narrative is the same as that of the Valley residents.
‘A day of mourning’
August 5 is the darkest patch in the history of J&K, marking forcible, illegal and unconstitutional infringement of the rights of its people. The party will fight the battle for the restoration of people’s rights peacefully and legally. We would mark August 5 as a day of mourning. — Imran Dar, National Conference spokesperson
‘New hope for people in J&K’
We are going to hoist the national flag in all districts of Kashmir to celebrate the first abrogation anniversary. The decision of last year has given a new hope to people in J&K. — Sofi Yousuf , Senior BJP leader and party vice-president, J&K
‘Dark patch in political history’
While it is a dark patch of our political history, it is also a reminder of a black day in the constitutional democracy of India as a country too, given the way top institutions, that form the heart and soul of a country, acted or did not. The ramifications would be far and wide, some already visible. — Suhail Bukhari, PDP spokesman
‘Decisions sans legitimacy’
Decisions taken on and after August 5 are not acceptable to people and have been thrust on the people of Kashmir and are bereft of any acceptance or legitimacy amongst the masses. Despotic actions have a limited shelf life. — J&K Peoples Conference spokesman.