Another important milestone taking place on 5 August will be the first anniversary of turning J&K state into two Union Territories after ending its ‘special’ status under Article 370. The people of India, as a whole, have experienced lockdown conditions since the onset of the corona virus, and will fully appreciate what the people of J&K have experienced in the yearlong security clampdown. This anniversary will be commemorated in different ways by those concerned and also not so concerned. Already, this initiative has been declared a colossal flop by one media outlet, ignoring the fact that the desired political goal was achieved on day one. The false sense of identity that ‘special status’ gave to certain sections in Kashmir has been legally erased. A number of direct benefits, such as those to the scheduled castes and women, etc., have also been provided. The path ahead is clear for the people of J&K; it is only their willingness that now matters. This will become known when the political process is revived.
Ladakh, in the meanwhile, has been freed from the constraints the disturbed conditions in J&K had caused. It can move forward on its own USP rather than be looking always towards the valley. The recent Chinese belligerence on the border will inadvertently lead to greater focus on the state’s development, particularly the infrastructure.
The terrorists and Pakistan, of course, will observe the occasion as a black day. The depth of their sorrow will indicate the extent of the Indian Government’s success. The security agencies will be alert against possible attacks that might take place, but unlike the past, the consequences are already well known. Already, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has used the media to warn against Indian retaliation should such an event occur. It is good that he sees the sub-continent’s well-being in peace, rather than waxing hawkish as the Pakistan deep-state did in the past.
On its part, the Union Government has already begun publicising the benefits it feels have accrued to the people of J&K. It has some grand designs in place to boost the economy and infrastructure, enhance employment opportunities in the traditional sectors and increase employability of youth in new areas. The security situation has definitely improved with the elimination of almost all local terrorists. Pakistanis infiltrating into the state have a zero survival rate. The attacks by terrorists on family members of service personnel or on off duty government employees, as well as ‘inconvenient’ politicians, are a sign of their desperation. As a result, they are losing whatever support they had among the common people. Had it not been for the Corona crisis, the mood would have been more buoyant by now and political activity back on track. There can be no doubt, however, that the tough line will continue into the future and there is no going back.