A voice from Kashmir on life after statehood & Article 370 are taken away

By Attaullah Niazi

I last spoke to my family in Poonch at 2 pm on Sunday. The telephone lines have been down since. My folks told me the Indian Army and the paramilitary forces are swarming everywhere and they are all sitting at home, since curfew has been imposed. 

How do I feel today after hearing Union Home minister Amit Shah speak in Parliament today? 

I feel angry because you have ensured the Jammu and Kashmiri identity will now get lost. What’s worse is that you have done this by ensuring we cannot be heard by shutting off the internet. You have sidelined the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly which was meant to be the custodian of the rights of the people of the state. You did this by putting prominent public representatives under house arrest.

You used 144 to remove 370.

It is ironic that the BJP has done this. Because it was Kashmiri pundits who first spoke about Kashmir for Kashmiris. The rights of the permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir flowed from that slogan. 

Our forefathers joined the Indian Union by choice and believed in Article 370. What the government of India has done today is to backstab the Kashmiris and make us wonder if our forefathers made a mistake by trusting. 

We fear outsiders will now infiltrate Jammu and Kashmir, take away our jobs. What will the locals do? As it is, our education sector is in bad shape. How will we compete? 

The rule that only permanent residents exists in several other states. Why did they target only Jammu & Kashmir?

Amit Shah says in Parliament that Article 370 was misused by three political families, to loot Jammu & Kashmir for 70 years. I want to ask can you remove corruption by removing 370. If you have proof against them, book cases, proceed legally. The Anti-Corruption Bureau of Jammu & Kashmir sends notices to Mehboobs Mufti, former CM, talking about appointments made in Jammu & Kashmir Bank on recommendations of ministers. But weren’t BJP ministers also part of the Mehbooba Mufti government? 

This decision is bound to backfire on the BJP. It has weakened the relationship between Jammu & Kashmir and India. You have tried to win the land, not the hearts of the people. Even local policemen of Jammu & Kashmir are unhappy with what’s happening. Does Delhi plan to keep Kashmir all the time under Army and paramilitary control because the locals cops will not be happy with the turn of events. 

People will protest on the road. I know it is not easy to protest but what else can we do when we have lost our identity. 

(As told to Filter Kaapi)

(Attaullah Niazi is a Ph.D scholar at Maulana Azad Urdu University in Hyderabad and Former President of the University Students Union) 

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