On August 5, 2019, the Centre announced nullification of Article 370 of the Constitution that accorded a special status to Jammu and Kashmir and divided the state into Union territories — Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
Since then, the Valley has gone through a period of unprecedented calmness, with militancy at an all-time low. The Line of Control (LoC) is relatively quiet with few high-profile terrorism occurrences. There is some simmering discontent and alienation, and reports of homegrown militancy on the rise in south Kashmir has surfaced.
To be sure, however, there are few signs of the security situation overwhelming the Valley as happened in the 1990s. No one could have imagined that Article 370 could have been abrogated with such ease or with such little uproar.
The civil office in Srinagar hoisted the Indian Tricolour when Article 370 was abrogated, although the state’s flag was missing. For more than six decades, the rectangular flag – red background with three white vertical stripes and a white plough in the centre with the handle facing the stripes – flew beside the Indian national flag on the secretariat.
The Centre also cleared the way for people from outside Jammu and Kashmir to buy land in the union territory in October of last year. The central government removed the phrase “permanent resident of the state” from Section 17 of the Jammu and Kashmir Development Act, which deals with land disposal in the union territory.
The track record in terms of economic development and governance is poor. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been no change in public service delivery or better governance, nor has there been any significant economic investment in the state.
There are no clear signs of improvement in any of the socioeconomic measures. The social divide between communities and state areas has not been overcome. The repatriation and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits with respect and honour remains as distant as it was two years ago.
In addition to that, on this occasion, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram has alleged that every aspect of democracy was “desecrated” on that day. And India’s democratic credentials were diminished in the eyes of the world.
He said, “Every aspect of democracy was desecrated on that day and India’s democratic credentials were diminished in the eyes of the world. We must stand resolutely with the people of J&K.”