Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation on Thursday night, bringing up the revoking of Article 370, and assuring citizens of a peaceful and prosperous Kashmir in the future. (Note: 6 Things was unable to access reactions from ordinary Kashmiri citizens as the state has been under total military lockdown for four days and counting. According to sporadic news trickling out from the region, residents say that it looks like 1947 all over again. “It is our land that matters to them, not our lives,” said some.)
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India’s unprecedented actions regarding Kashmir in the past few days have naturally drawn praise and ire in equal measures. In his speech to the nation yesterday, Modi seemed to want to reassure friend and foe alike. He promised Kashmiris free and fair elections and a peaceful Eid.
“I am giving assurance that you will get the opportunity to elect your representatives in a transparent way. Your representative will be elected by you and from among you,” Modi said in an address to the nation two days after the Parliament diluted Article 370 and bifurcated the state into two Union Territories.”
“Underlining that over 1.5 crore people of J&K were denied benefits of legislations meant for the entire country, Modi said state government employees, including police, would soon get benefits on par with employees of other Union Territories.
In different states of the country, sanitation workers come under the sanitation worker act, but workers from J&K were deprived of it. In many states, strong laws are there to stop atrocities against Dalits, but this was not the case in J&K,” the PM said.”
Since Article 370 exists no more, all Indian laws will now be applicable to the two newly minted Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.
However, there have also been criticisms of this unilateral decision by the Government. Many have pointed out that Kashmir wasn’t lagging behind on developmental indexes, even though that was one of the reasons behind the BJP Government’s decision to bifurcate the state.
Ironically enough, Britain has shown concern about the situation. “We’ve expressed some of our concerns around the situation and called for calm, but also had a clear readout of the situation from the perspective of the Indian government,” … said UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Imran Khan, was also not happy. On Thursday, he asked the Indian Government whether military power was enough to stop a freedom movement.
“The whole world is waiting to see what happens to oppressed Kashmiris in IOK when curfew is lifted. Does the BJP govt think by using greater military force against Kashmiris in IOK, it will stop the freedom movement? Chances are it will gain momentum,” Khan wrote on Twitter.”
So, what next?
The landmark decision has led to unexpected fallouts already. Repeal of Article 370 in Kashmir also triggered panic in the Northeastern states of Nagaland and Mizoram. Like Kashmir, these states are also bound by Articles 371-A and 371-G of the constitution, that regulates property ownership and citizenship rights in these areas of the nation.
“President of Naga Hoho Chuba Ozukum condemned the decision to repeal Article 370 and called it ‘undemocratic’. He also raised concern on the ongoing talks between Government of India and various Naga groups.
“We are worried as by withdrawing Article 370 from J&K, the government is undermining the minorities in India. I think it is very undemocratic. We have the same apprehension in Nagaland. Political negotiations are underway, but if the Government of India does the same thing in Nagaland, it is going to be detrimental.”
Eventful days are on the horizon.