The people of Jammu want more than revocation of Article 370. They want safeguards to preserve their identities. At times they feel dejected over the developments, post August 5. This is because the people are sensing amiss after reversing and downgrading the status of J&K as a Union Territory.
Prof Hari Om: Jammu continues to face challenge to its very identity. Of course, abrogation of Article 370 was a historic development. Ladakh achieved its 70-year-old goal; separation from oppressive Kashmir and UT for Trans-Himalayan region. Nation achieved its 72-year-old most cherished dream: Complete integration of J&K and Ladakh. But the unfortunate Jammu province left high and dry.The ruling dispensation in New Delhi didn’t consider it fit for a dispensation that would help it shape and control fully its socio-economic and political future, manage its own affairs itself as per its needs, compulsions and aspirations and compensate for the huge losses it suffered at the hands of Kashmir during all these years of accession.It was not separated from Kashmir knowing it full well that there was nothing whatsoever common between the two disparate regions.The developments which unfolded in the J&K UT after August 2019 and the manner in which the powers-that-be in the UT and the Centre conducted during all these months of post-Article 370 abrogation once again established that Jammu province has no place in the Union Government’s scheme of things.The conduct of the authorities in the UT and at the Centre has left none in the Jammu province in any doubt that it has to suffer under the yoke of Kashmir. It’s no wonder that there is widespread disappointment and dissatisfaction among all, barring those close to corridors of power in J&K and New Delhi.It would not be an exaggeration if someone may says so that people of Jammu province have been chaffing and seething with anger. Many political and social groups have joined hands and demanding statehood for Jammu province saying this is the only panacea available to end the life of their servitude and slavery.New Delhi and the ruling class cannot go on treating Jammu province like this any longer. Any failure on its part to change its attitude or to continue to cling to the same outdated Kashmir-centric policy would be only to provoke political explosions of portentous dimensions in this region.The sooner the ruling class in Delhi realizes it, the better. Jammu province deserves a status in the country’s polity and it’s possible only if Jammu province and Kashmir are treated separately.
Sham Lal Sharma, ex CEO: After the abrogation of Article 370, there were high hopes among people about a new era of development but nothing like this happened and situation became worse in Jammu.We have only lost due to abrogation of 370; we lost statehood and became UT with no policies and schemes for development or resolving issues. I think it’s a total loss for us, the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The government has once again mocked the sensitivities of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
Pritam Sharma, President Kranti Dal: The abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A was indeed a historic step. There is no doubt that it will help the local horticulture and food processing units in a big way. The handicraft industry, which was limited to selected destinations, will now be able to directly export and collaborate both nationally and internationally. After the formation of Union Territory, there is only one flag and one constitution but the people of J&K had a lot of expectations from the Centre, which are not being fulfilled till now. The business community is the major sufferer post Article 370 as they have to bear huge loss. There is no or minimum flow of tourists into the UT, which directly impacts the hoteliers, transporters and other small enterprises, directly or indirectly dependent on them for their livelihood. Moreover, many development works and projects of tourist attraction are getting delayed, which include construction of Tawi Lake etc. As promised, the government employees are not getting full benefits of the UT for which they are entitled when compared with rest of union territories across the country. People are feeling dejected with the Centre, as the promises made in the past were not fulfilled.
Vikram Malhotra, Gen Secretary JKAP: The abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, 2019 where on one hand fulfilled one of the core agendas of Bharatiya Janta Party ever since its inception as a political party, on the other hand it took away political agenda of the very premise of the political ideology of some of the regional Kashmir based parties and left the major opposition party INC in a utter state of confusion.The response to this huge political development was different in all the three. However, looking back to about one and a half year all this has turned out a bundle of broken promises, false hopes, uncertain future, massive unemployment, fear of losing identity and culture.
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