Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. George Orwell
J&K has always remained a stye in the eyes of the BJP government. Abrogation of Article 370 alongside other things was its main agenda in 2019 Parliamentary Election. J&K, as we know, has been marred by insincere political promises and dictatorial political decisions of the Centre. Abrogation of Article 370 is one such impulsive decision which has given a formidable jolt to the peace, poise and prosperity of the Valley.
When Article 370 was abrogated on 5th August 2019 by the BJP government, Home Minister, Amit Shah condescendingly told in the Parliament that: this was done for the development of J& K. In a patronizing manner, he further said that Article 370 is a ‘developmental barrier’ that keeps J&K in a backward corner. Besides Amit Shah, the then Governor of J&K, Satya Pal Malik, promised fifty thousand jobs for the J&K youth. Instead of development and jobs, J&K has seen disaster and despair in the form of continuous eight months curfew, communication blockade, Internet shutdown and what not. Most of the job notifications issued prior to the abrogation of Article 370 have been withdrawn forthwith.
The BJP run government in the name of development is disfiguring the Valley of J&K cunningly in a stepwise and systematic manner. The colonial and communal mindset of the government is harassing the people of the Valley in every which way. Firstly, the State was bifurcated into two Union Territories (J&K and Ladakh). This has been done to balkanize the State. The move is overtly arbitrary and colonial in nature.
Because a Union Territory can be transformed into a State but a State cannot be transformed into a Union Territory as per the Constitutional provisions. The BJP government has thrown the Constitutional provisions to the winds when they scrapped Article 370. By doing so, the government has proven imperialistic, antagonistic, and ill-advised.
Now many months have gone by since the abrogation of Article 370, but there are no signs of development in the valley to be seen anywhere. The development announcement made by the Home Minister was just a ploy to hoodwink Kashmiris. Abrogation of the Article 370 has petrified the entire Valley. The move has led to the frustration of the people. People could not sell their annual fruit yield because of continuous curfew, communication blockade and all that. The entire Valley remained cutoff from the rest of the Country for continuous eight months. Students studying outside the valley could not communicate with their families because of the communication blackout. Patients with lethal diseases could not move outside the Valley for the treatment. Some died in the anticipation of the treatment. Schools, Colleges, and Universities remained closed. Students of the Valley lost their precious time because of the Article abrogation.
Had there been a development in the mind of the Centre, they would not have kept the entire Valley under the continuous curfew. Had the development of the valley been the focus of the government, it could have been done without scrapping the Article. So far we have seen only heavy military deployment, oppression, imprisonment of the mainstream politicians, and economic disaster. Development for the people of the valley is only a pipe dream!
Every move of the BJP government is against the people of the Valley. The government is actualizing its selfish and colonial moves with the announcement of new rules, laws and regulations in the valley. On April 11, the government of India issued a new domicile law for the region. The law now entitles anyone who has stayed in the region for 15 years domicile status -10 years for central government officials and their children and seven for high school students. This new domicile law is only meant for changing the demography of the valley. Every social and political organization has opposed this new domicile law. Altaf Bukhari has said “This order in its entirety is a casual attempt, cosmetic in its nature, to hoodwink the people of J& K who genuinely believed that post-Oct.31, 2019, their rights and privileges in the matter of employment and other rights would remain as it had been”.
After the announcement of new domicile law, Government of India has now announced the shifting of all the service matters of the employees of J&K and Ladakh to Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) Chandigarh. This move is meant to further frustrate the people of the Valley in general and the employees in particular. Now the employees will have to move outside the valley even for the petty service related issues. Employees will now face many hardships because of this. The grievances of the employees will take considerable amount of time for the redressal. Why is the government acting so callously and impulsively? The answer is obvious: to depress and frustrate the people. Time tells it all.
Postscript: Every empire, however, tells itself and the world that it is unlike all other empires that its mission is not to plunder and control but to educate and liberate. Edward said.
Bilal Ahmad Dar is a Research Scholar at the Department of English and can be mailed at: email@example.com