People for safeguarding interests

JAMMU: On November 12, the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A by the BJP-led Central Government completes 100 days, but the scrapping of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir has evoked mixed reactions among people in the Jammu region.

Sumit Hakhoo & Amit Khajuria

Tribune News Service

Jammu, November 11

On November 12, the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A by the BJP-led Central Government completes 100 days, but the scrapping of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir has evoked mixed reactions among people in the Jammu region.

It was a decisive step of the Narendra Modi-led BJP government, but now people want the government to safeguard their interests and give ear to their voices.

Growing insecurity about economic, cultural and demographic impact among business circles, social activists and general public remains, as the J&K UT is taking its shape. For the past three months, the region has witnessed protests by thousands of PDD employees, opposition to the installation of the toll plaza at Sarore in Samba district and agitation by lawyers against the establishment of the new Registration Department in UT.

Since the fall of the Dogra dynasty in 1947 and till the abrogation of Article 370, 10 districts of the Jammu division had felt besieged by dominant Kashmiri political class and have felt a sense of neglect and discrimination. With the special status gone, there is a growing of insecurity on identity in three main Hindu-dominated districts of Jammu, Kathua and Samba.

“We are already witnessing demographic change during the last three decades which has changed the ethnic profile of the region,” said Mahinder Singh Jamwal, a retired government employee, who lives in Chinore. The demand for domicile provision for economic safeguards and clarity on land rights is a major subject of discussion in the Dogra-inhabited belt.

For stakeholders in trade, industry and tourism, three months have been economically ruining as intra-state trade has been badly hit.

West Pakistani refugees & Dalit Valmikis freed of shackles 

The passage of the J&K Reorganisation Act 2019 freed thousands of families from the shackles of discriminatory citizenship laws allowing erstwhile state to define citizenship for decades and denying property rights to children of women who married non-state subjects. It led to celebrations in the homes of West Pakistan refugees, Dalit Valmikis and Gorkhas who felt liberated after decades of suffering discrimination and living in poverty 

Wait-and-watch policy in Rajouri, Poonch & erstwhile Doda districts 

The Muslim pockets in Poonch and Rajouri districts where a majority of the population is of ethnic Gujjars and Paharis have adopted a wait-and-watch policy. These two border districts share the LoC with the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and have been the worst sufferers of the India-Pakistan rivalry. In communally sensitive Ramban, Doda and Kishtwar districts, people have not openly expressed their opinion on the issue. 

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