Jammu Welcomes Centre’s Move On Article 370, But Concerns Remain

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    The Kashmir region remains under lockdown following the centre’s decision.

    Jammu: 

    It has been four days since the government imposed restrictions on public gatherings in Jammu and Kashmir, curtailing vehicular movements and shutting off mobile Internet services to prevent a backlash against its move to revoke the state’s special status and carve it into two union territories.

    Although residents of Jammu welcome the move, they feel that the centre should tread more cautiously on the issue.

    Parag Abrol, a businessman, said that the scrapping of Article 370 will result in investors coming into the region and eventually improving the economy. He is not particularly bothered about people from other parts of the country coming into the state either. “Canada and the United States flourished due to the contribution of migrants. More investors will enter the region, bringing in prosperity and opportunities for us,” said Mr Abrol.

    Sanjeev Anand, national vice president of the Confederation of All India Traders, wants the government to take steps that will bring the two regions – Jammu and Kashmir – closer and improve people-to-people connect. “Trade runs on trust. We need to ensure that the trust of Kashmiris is not broken,” he said.

    However, others like Daisy Bhatt isn’t particularly optimistic about the centre’s decision. Ms Bhatt, a Kashmiri Pandit who left the Valley in the 90s to settle in a government-allotted accommodation in Jammu, feels that things will not change on the ground. “How will it change our status? Will we be ever able to make a ghar vapsi?” she asks.

    Daisy Bhatt lives in a two-room apartment that houses three families, and her son – Sahil – is angry at the way things stand. “The government has failed to provide us jobs, which is the biggest worry now. I have been sitting here unemployed for years,” he said.

    Many across the Valley also asked the government to ensure that their rights are protected, now that national laws are applicable in the region. Others, including students, voiced the fear that they will face greater competition for jobs if people from other states start flooding in.

    The centre had scrapped the special status accorded to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 through a presidential order earlier this week. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that the move will usher in a “new era of peace and prosperity” for people of the state.

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