SRINAGAR, Aug 4: Majority of the people in Kashmir term the last year’s decision of Centre Government on abrogation of Article 370 and dividing the State into two Union Territories as arbitrary and against the people of entire region which has instead of bringing prosperity led to miseries.
Mohammad Asif, 24, from Srinagar said that move was undemocratic as entire population was against it as it was against their interests. “If people were against it, it is an undemocratic move. It was thrust upon us and that is why Government has been forced to impose curfew despite a year of lockdown which has taken a heavy toll on every aspect of life”, he said.
He said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi claimed that move is aimed at developing Jammu and Kashmir. “Where is the development? We have gone a decade back at economic and developmental front”, he said. The President Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Sheikh Aashiq, told Excelsior that Kashmir has suffered losses at least to the tune of Rs 40, 000 crore since August last year.
“Losses are in front of everyone, there is no development at all. All the businesses are in bad shape. We have suffered a loss of around Rs 40,000 crores and these are the rough estimates. We are caught in a bad situation and the business fraternity is suffering. The condition of small-time borrowers is pathetic. Every sector is suffering”, he said.
“People have to understand what has happened in rest of the country due to the lockdown imposed amid COVID, they will then understand our situation. We are in lockdown since August”, he added. Muhammad Yaqoob, a houseboat owner said that for last one year the
industry has not earned a single penny. “From the day the Government issued an advisory asking tourists to leave for their respective places till today we have not had an opportunity of taking care of any tourist. We did not see anyone coming our way”, he said.
“We were told that development will happen, tourism will get a boost, but nothing happened. Houseboat industry has collapsed and that day was the blackest day for us. I cannot even tell you in words anything about loses that we have suffered since then”, he said.
Razia Mir, 42, a housewife from Anantnag, said that children have been worst suffers as they have not suffered at educational front but it has taken heavy toll on their mental health. “Our children are locked inside their homes for last one year. First there was lockdown imposed in August last year and when there was time to go to schools in March,
it was followed by COVID-19 lockdown. Centre wants to push Jammu and Kashmir into dark ages”, she said.
Zubair Ahmad from Baramulla working in a private company said that last year’s promises made to justify abrogation Article 370 proved to be hoax. “None of their claims pass the test of reality on ground. If violence has really come down and the security scenario has improved, then why was curfew imposed? The Government said that there were apprehensions of violent protests in Kashmir and it necessitated curfew, what is then the achievement of Aug 5 decision”?, he asked.
Naveed Ahmad, an unemployed Post Graduate, asked if Article 370 was impediment in development, investment and job creation where are jobs? Not only educated have lost jobs in last one year but labourers who were working in mining sector in Kashmir have lost jobs as contracts were given to outside firms”, he said.
However, Abdul Hamid, a businessman said that there is one positivity of Aug 5 decision that mainstream political parties like National Conference and People’s Democratic Party have been punished for their misdeeds. “All these years they had befooled the people and filled their coffers. It is NC which is responsible for eroding Article 370. What was left in it? It was hollow. Why are they crying now? They are just crying as they lost power, nothing else”, he said.
Mohammad Ilyas said common people have been suffering in NC and PDP rule as well. “Their leaders deserved to be sent to jail. In fact they should have not been released at all. Government should cease their assets which are beyond their known sources of income”, he added.