“I apprised them that this was in the favour of gender equality as now women of J & K can retain their immovable property even after marrying a non-Kashmiri and various acts like Right to Education, Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens, Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, etc. would be applicable…”
Abrogation of Article 370 has brought about a considerable shift in the future of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is upon the citizens to determine how they perceive this change and align their future goals to keep pace with the rest of the country.
Of Course they have their own doubts and misconceptions regarding the nature of it but their willingness to be open and receptive to understanding and hoping for positive change is a great start.
Recently while interacting with the residents of a village, I asked them about their life in the valley. The residents were unhappy, purposeless, mentioning how there is limited development and the avenues for employment are few. They were very enthusiastic and curious to know about the people, lifestyle, and how things are in the rest of the country. When I told them about the various facets of life and opportunities one could enjoy in other states, they were surprised and longed to experience the same. I apprised them that with the revocation of Article 370, the people of Jammu and Kashmir would also enjoy additional rights and privileges a normal Indian citizen has in other states and which they were deprived of earlier.
All they knew was that the special status of J & K had been taken away by the central government. They were unaware of the opportunities and advantages this policy had for them. As a representative of the organization and a fellow countryman I tried my best to clear their notions and fears regarding this change.
To make them see the bigger picture I explained how they could now reap the benefits of better investments in the state, by having access to employment opportunities. Setting up of new businesses would mean a natural spurt in the training of youth to make them job ready. The world is moving at a fast pace and it is now that the valley can explore economic avenues other than tourism. Even in the tourism sector, a safe and secure social base would institutionalise the whole system and open the valley to the global population.
It is the young children of Kashmir that will truly see the benefits of this step in the longer run. Especially when they don’t have to face the choice of picking up arms or pursuing education. When they have a sense of purpose and meaning in life, to uplift the community, to innovate, aspire for a decent standard of living and make a bright future for themselves as well as the state. And for all this we want to give them an environment where they get the opportunity to reach their maximum potential.
Apart from this, I apprised them that this was in the favour of gender equality as now women of J & K can retain their immovable property even after marrying a non-Kashmiri and various acts like Right to Education, Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens, Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, etc. would be applicable which will ensure adequate protection of rights of women, children and senior citizens. Article 360 of the financial emergency will also be applicable to them. Moreover, there will be no separate flag other than the Indian national flag and general elections will take place once every five years.
Furthermore, I explained that laws like Right to Information (RTI) and anti-corruption laws will be applicable and the people can hold the government and authorities accountable for the funds allocated for development. Similarly, removal of restrictions will encourage industry and private investment which in turn will spur growth and will lay the foundation for creating multiple job opportunities which will enable them to live a safe and dignified life.
After knowing about the positives of the abrogation, they were able to understand how the previous political dispensation of J & K has been letting them down over the years. Now with stability in the region, peace will prevail and development and growth will take place. Also, I made them understand how the steps taken by the government will contain and eradicate terrorism and unite Kashmiris with the rest of the country.
I made them realise that our endeavor is to make Jammu and Kashmir safe and prosperous for its citizens. The fact that democracy and a strong judiciary would ensure economic growth is something that they are now beginning to see. The valley which is described as ‘Heaven on Earth’ had no investment and industrial base because of terrorism and fear amongst investors. The removal of Article 370 shall bring peace, stability, and development to the region and will imbibe a feeling of nationalism and brotherhood amongst the locals. We shall work together with the locals to help them realize their dreams and the bright future they long for themselves and their families. The locals thanked me for enlightening them about the abrogation and were eager to share the same with others in the village. They also desired to visit a few places outside J & K to see how things were so that they could replicate the same in their region. Now, they have a future to look forward to and their words keep ringing in my ears, “Ab Badlaav Aaega”