Plain Talk By Shabeer Ahmed
There are several blessings of revocation of Article 370 and on the top are uninterrupted business and functioning of schools normally. The schools and business establishments are functioning without any hindrance. There is no forced shutdown from Pakistan sponsored separatists. Earlier it used to be hartal calls by separatists, the children and parents used to pray schools should reopen.
Besides, now a common man can move around freely without any concern that he might get caught up in Pakistan sponsored stone pelting. Srinagar’s Jamia Masjid and other spots used to hub of stone pelting and now they quite.
The population, which was deprived of progress and prosperity for decades, is now getting equal opportunities and enjoying equal rights. In the past three years, the government has framed a viable strategy to ensure that every citizen lives a decent life. Many hurdles have been overcome and the comprehensive programmes to improve the standard of living of people of J&K are working wonders.
Abrogation of Article 370 has to be seen from the prism of New Delhi as it was a national issue. The special status had deprived J&K of development. People of the erstwhile state were unable to get benefits of various centrally sponsored schemes which were announced during the past 70 years. Women who married anyone from outside J&K lost their citizenship and property rights. There were many loopholes in this article and it had serious ramifications.
During the past three years, people of Kashmir have understood it and have moved on with their lives. The leaders who used to sell dreams stand exposed and cornered. The conflict managers have understood that they have no role to play and they are nobody.
In the last three years the government has been working relentlessly to ensure higher incomes to farmers. To sustain the growth rate of agriculture and allied sectors, bottlenecks are being cleared. The administration is extending hand-holding of small and marginal farmers as they have remained deprived of progress and prosperity for decades. Thus, small farmers are now getting equal opportunities and equal rights.
The last three years have changed the very idea of governance in Jammu and Kashmir as the common (wo) man has now become the topmost priority and is being provided with equal opportunities irrespective of caste, colour, creed and sex. The 70-yearlong era of favoritism and nepotism has finally ended and the common man no longer has to run after anyone to get his work done and while seeking employment, fulfillment of criteria and not connections matter.
Abrogation of Article 370, has changed the destinies of the people in J&K. After August 5, 2019, when the Centre made this decision, one thing has been proven beyond doubt- that special status to the people of J&K accorded by Article 2370 didn’t allow the common Kashmiri to prosper by becoming a part of the country’s development process. Conversely, it deprived the people of J&K of getting equal opportunities.
Politicians, who ruled J&K, accommodated only their close ones, and benefits of government schemes mostly reached the people who were connected with them. Government jobs were given to only those candidates who were influential and enjoyed some sort of backing. In a nutshell, J&K was all about ‘shifarish’ (recommendations). Merit had little value as opportunities were provided to only the ones who enjoyed some patronage.
During the past three years, the government has established an accountable and transparent system for recruitment to various posts and departments. Record number of vacancies was advertised by Jammu and Kashmir Service Selection Board, Jammu and Kashmir Public Service Commission and other recruiting agencies.
The written tests and interviews were conducted impartially and selection is being done on only pure merit.
With the government ensuring equal opportunities for all, J&K is undergoing a sea-change. The common man has realized that the government genuinely cares for him and is ready to help him in every possible way and as such all the fake narratives on Article 370 abrogation stand punctured. No one is even talking about autonomy, self-rule and so-called ‘azadi’. The only things which people are discussing are peace, prosperity and development.
People of J&K have understood that a plethora of opportunities are knocking on their doors and they just have to grab these. From job seekers to farmers, everyone is being looked after. Concerns of a common man are being addressed and every effort is being made to ensure that every Kashmiri lives his life in a dignified manner. With institution of a policy that provides “equal opportunities,” the era of “discrimination and recommendations” has ended. With the abrogation of Article 370, it is the people of the Union Territory of J&K who are the real winners!.