Millennium Post

People's faith

Peoples faith

The great debate on Reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir besides the scrapping of Article 370 in Lok Sabha yesterday emulated proceedings in Rajya Sabha a day before it. Turn by turn, members offered their insight on the move and brought up reasons for supporting/rejecting the government's proposal. The reasoning offered by the supporters of the proposal outnumbered the rejectors as the bill was passed with an astounding majority in favour of the proposal. While the heated debate lasted the length of the day in the Lower House, Jammu and Kashmir reserved apprehensions around a fresh round of protests and violence that could erupt soon. Government's proposal to change the fate of Jammu and Kashmir overnight did not draw much appreciation owing to the element of secrecy it carried. But while the government was at it, the emergency-like situation that had dawned over the Valley threw not only the residents of the Valley but their families across India in turmoil. As communications were shut down with Section 144 imposed, the government in its pursuit of a certain agenda for the welfare of the state did not do well enough when it came to the means. People felt helpless as they had to wait till communications could be resumed, eager to talk to their families, as they lived the unexpected moment that the government had impinged upon them. There is no apt justification as to why the government had to resort to this sort of methodology; which was the centre of criticism in the larger view. They did succeed in achieving their objective but at the cost of trust of people in the Valley, if not elsewhere. Now, as the fate of the state is unveiled to the residents, urging them to look on the bright side would be the expected notion. Stripping Jammu and Kashmir off its special status and further bifurcating it into two separate Union territories is a matter which may not have been possible without isolating the state considering the kind of protests and resulting violence that it would have brought along. But now that the deed has been done, all eyes will be fixed on the vision that the government has for J&K and Ladakh. It has to be understood that the bold step that the current dispensation took in the interest of the state was to realise the development that has always eluded it. It was important to take cognisance of the fact that Kashmir for long has been left at the mercy of its own decisions. Incessant episodes of terrorism and militancy had blemished the social fabric of society there while India stood and watched helplessly due to tied hands owing to Article 370. But now that India has made the grand move to truly integrate the state as per the government's opinion, a similar understanding needs to be shared with the inhabitants as well as others who may see the government's proposal as carrying an essence of authoritarianism. Unless people realise the status quo that J&K has been in due to Article 370, and understand the government's intention to repeal it, the government will be at the receiving end of abject criticism. After all, it is the people that make up a place. The government definitely has the onus for the development of the two UTs but more than that, it has the responsibility of winning back the hearts of lakhs of people who they pushed into darkness while debating to bring in the light that the state needs. Unless genuine development takes place benefitting the Valley, the decision to bifurcate J&K besides stripping off the special status would always be held against this government by the disapproving people of the Valley. People of Ladakh will embrace the UT status for it has been forever ignored by J&K, causing even less development. While there is no doubt that the Union government through its bold steps has scripted history here, fruits of such steps would only be realised once the country witnesses the two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh on a development trajectory along the lines of what was envisaged by the Union Home Minister. It must be kept in mind that people's faith is riding on his vision.

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