Jammu had never ever rejoiced as much in the past 73 years as on August 5, 2019. The day was historic and the response was equally unprecedented and enthusiastic over the abrogation of Article 370. Reason: total integration of Jammu and Kashmir with rest of the country after revocation of special status of the erstwhile state. Another reason to celebrate was supposed end to the Kashmir and Kashmiris’ hegemony over the tolerant, assimilative and self-respecting people of Jammu. Jammuties accepted the political move despite Maharaja’s grand state getting fragmented into pieces. From the status of state, J&K was bifurcated into two Union Territories of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir. This move too was historic because it must be for the first time in independent India that a state was downgraded into Union Territory.
The initial days of the post August-5 decision were full of enthusiasm. Jammu was given to understand that the discrimination of over seven decades will be over now. They were also made to believe that the region will get equal participation in governance. They thought that the days of penury were over. They also thought that appeasement of one at the cost of hurt to another region will become a thing of the past. But nothing of the sort happened. Jammu is where it was. On the country, Kashmir is getting what it might have not thought even in the mistaken belief of ‘winning the hearts and minds of the people’. The people of Jammu are wondering that nothing of the sort has happened, which they had been made to perceive. The policy of appeasement continued with the government coming openly in support of reviving Kashmir economy in terms of lucrative minimum procurement price for the apple.The Valley is continuing to be the focus of attention, unfortunately at the cost of the Jammu interest.Currently Jammu is reeling under the spell of uncertainty with people wondering whether they remain the priority of the government. They have, however, lost hope. They are apprehensive about their future. Socio-economic and developmental effort is a thing of the past. Sense of deprivation and denial is looming large over the minds of the people. They find no change in the mechanism of governance except the region finding its wings clipped. The psychological impact is colossal. Once being residents of the proud state of Jammu and Kashmir, the people are now struggling to have their identity proved and established as domiciles. The state subjects are craving for getting domicile proof in terms of certificates. They can’t believe what actually has happened. They are not coming to terms with their identity shattered like dry leaves.Jammu is braving the brunt of the situation. Being domicile holders instead of state subject owners is a development that they had never anticipated. What they have lost post August 5 can’t be retrieved. What has been promised is not being delivered to them.What they have lost and what they have gained is a matter of discussion. This debate is being initiated in these columns of STATE TIMES, with the hope that the people will come out boldly and speak out their heart as residents of Union Territory.
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