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Article 370 abrogation ushered in peace in J-K, highlights govt; Oppn parties demand restoration of statehood

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SRINAGAR/JAMMU/BHUBANESWAR, Aug 5 (PTI): On the fourth anniversary of Article 370’s abrogation, the government on Saturday highlighted that the “historic” decision has ushered in peace and development in Jammu and Kashmir, while opposition parties, including the PDP and the Congress, held protests demanding restoration of statehood.

The BJP marked the day with a public meeting in Srinagar and its leaders there said that following the 2019 decision, there has been no shutdowns in the Kashmir Valley, and with the situation getting better, the Union Territory has hosted international events and witnessed record tourist footfall.

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The biggest change after the abrogation of the article is that the common people of Jammu and Kashmir are living life according to their own wishes, Lieutenant Governor (LG) Manoj Sinha said in Srinagar.

The Centre on this day in 2019 had revoked Article 370, which gave special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, and bifurcated it into union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

During an event in Odisha capital Bhubaneswar, Shah said, “On August 5, 2019, (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi had taken the historic decision to scrap Article 370. On this occasion, I thank the prime minister on behalf of the people of the country.”

“The historic decision to scrap Article 370 taken on this day in 2019 ushered in a new dawn of peace and development in Jammu and Kashmir,” the home minister tweeted.

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Highlighting changes in Jammu and Kashmir post-2019, LG Sinha said, “Pakistan-sponsored shutdowns by terrorists and separatists, due to which schools, colleges and business establishments used to remain closed for about 150 days a year, have ended.”

“The biggest change that is visible on the ground is that the common people of Jammu and Kashmir are living life according to their own wishes. Street violence has ended,” he said while talking to reporters after an event in Srinagar.

“The dreams of the youth of Kashmir have got wings now and in the days to come, their contribution to nation building will not be less than anyone,” Sinha said and added that Jammu and Kashmir will soon regain its lost glory for which it was known across the world.

During the day, while Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti claimed she and some senior leaders of her party were placed under house arrest, and several others detained, the National Conference (NC) said its headquarters Nawa-i-Subah was “sealed” and no one was allowed to go inside.

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“I’ve been put under house arrest along with other senior PDP leaders today. This comes after a midnight crackdown where scores of my party men are illegally detained in police stations. GOI’s (Government of India) false claims about normalcy to the SC (Supreme Court) stands exposed by their actions driven by paranoia,” Mehbooba tweeted.

She said on one hand, giant hoardings calling upon Kashmiris to “celebrate” the abrogation of Article 370 have been put up across Srinagar, whereas “brute force is being used to choke the actual sentiment of the people”.

In a Twitter post, the NC said, “True to form and in keeping with the clampdown on mainstream democratic activities organised by parties opposed to 5th Aug 2019, the JKNC office has been sealed by the police. No one is being allowed in or out of the office.”

“These steps betray the nervousness of the administration and render hollow their claims regarding great improvements in the last four years,” it added.

In Jammu, the Congress, the Shiv Sena (UBT), the People’s Conference and the PDP staged separate protests to mark the day.

Congress members led by the party’s J-K chief, Vikar Rasool Wani, held a demonstration outside the party’s headquarters at Shaheedi Chowk, demanding restoration of statehood of Jammu and Kashmir, protection of land rights and 100 per cent reservation for locals in jobs.

“We are observing August 5 as ‘black day’ since the abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of our state into UTs (union territories) in 2019…we demand immediate restoration of statehood along with state subject laws,” Wani told reporters.

Slamming the BJP government at the Centre, he alleged that all its promises have fallen flat.

“There is no change in Jammu and Kashmir, contrary to the claims of the BJP which had talked about industrial investment, prosperity, and model state. The reality is that the people are suffering due to economic distress and high inflation while our health and education sectors are in shambles,” the J-K Congress president said.

People’s Conference leader Sajad Lone said it is a “sad day”. It is a sad reminder of the “disempowerment of the people of J-K. The process of disempowerment continues”, he said and added that also, “the belittling of institutions, individuals and the people of J-K continues”.

Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Manish Sahni led a protest outside the party’s office at Channi Himmat in Jammu.

He alleged that after four years, “the situation in the region has deteriorated to the extent that youngsters are desperate for jobs, Pakistan-sponsored narco-terrorism is ruining lives, and Kashmiri migrant pandits are still waiting for their return and rehabilitation”.

Sahni also demanded restoration of statehood of Jammu and Kashmir.

Talking to reporters after the BJP public meeting in Srinagar, party spokesperson Thakur Abhijeet Jasrotia said this programme was held to open the eyes of those leaders who are trying to “provoke” the people in the name of Article 370.

“These leaders are propagating lies, but the common people and the poor want development…Today, people have risen above dynastic politics, and they do not want any Abdullah or Mufti to befool them,” he said in an apparent reference to National Conference (NC) chief Farooq Abdullah and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) supremo Mehbooba Mufti.

During the meeting, BJP leaders highlighted the changes in Jammu and Kashmir after the Centre’s 2019 decision, with Jasrotia saying there used to be shutdowns for the most part of the year in the Kashmir Valley, but now, there are no strikes.

BJP leader Ashok Koul said post-2019, “Kashmir has changed, stone pelting has ended, separatism has ended.” “International events have taken place here. There has been a record number of tourist arrivals,” he said.

West Pakistani refugees, Gurkhas and Valmiki Samaj members took to streets in Jammu and Samba districts and celebrated the fourth anniversary of the article’s abrogation, saying it facilitated them to get citizenship of Jammu and Kashmir after a long wait of several decades.

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The Hills Times
The Hills Timeshttps://thehillstimes.in/
The Hills Times, a largely circulated English daily published from Diphu and printed in Guwahati, having vast readership in hills districts of Assam, and neighbouring Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur
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