In today’s world, the power of social media remains unparalleled. Anything that goes through social media becomes a viral sensation within no time. Be it Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, without even the proper knowledge, perceptions surpass the reality and become a movement. A person totally heedless about the actual cause gets involved because of the influence social media has in today’s date. The ‘red display picture’ in the name of ‘Save Kashmir’ is the recent trend on Instagram. With little or no intellectual, social, academic or personal justification, the ‘social media protesters’ did not give a second thought and users began changing their display pictures. Instagram, Facebook and other accounts suddenly turned into war zone where the soldiers however were clueless of their enemy or the cause.
Unfortunate as it may sound, it is extremely important to ensure that those voicing opposition are aware of the facts and what they are opposing to. Let me give a brief outlook –
To start with, Article 370 originated in 1947 by Sheikh Abdullah, who had by then been appointed the Prime Minister of Jammu & Kashmir by Maharaja Hari Singh and Jawahar Lal Nehruand had put forward the draft for the same. And thus, on October 17, 1949 it was included in the Indian Constitution. Article 370 of the Constitution is a ‘temporary provision’ which promises to grant autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir and thereafter limits Parliament’s powers to make laws for the state. Henceforth it says that the Parliament will need the state government’s accreditation for applying any law, except those that fall in the domains of defence, foreign affairs, finance and communications.
Furthermore, issues like ownership of property, fundamental rights and citizenship are covered under a separate law for Jammu and Kashmir which is Article 35(a). Article 35A of the Indian Constitution was an article that empowered the Jammu and Kashmir state’s legislature to define “permanent residents” of the state and provide special rights and privileges to those permanent residents.It was added to the Constitution through a Presidential Order, issued by the President of India on 14 May 1954. While it states the provision of special rights, it bars the implementation of basic fundamental rights, citizenship and the ownership of property.
Jammu and Kashmir is considered Heaven on Earth because of its natural beauty and picturesque locations which also makes it a favoured destination for tourists across the world. But due to the sensitive security condition, not only did it see a downfall in its industrial development but has impeded growth ever since. While analysis by ‘The Hindu’ of Central and State finances states, how Jammu and Kashmir received 10 per cent of all Central grants given to states over the 2000-2016 period, despite having only one per cent of the country’s population.With this vision, on August 5th, the Home Minister revoked Articles 370 and 35(A) making Jammu &Kashmir a union territory with legislature and Ladakh without a legislature.
The attempt to abrogate the same was first raised by Shyama Prasad Mukherjee in his Lok Sabha speech on 26 June 1952 terming the arrangements under the article as the Balkanization of India. Even then, people protested with food strikes since the inclusion of the article imposed Pakistani refugees to stay in a state without citizenship on the other hand the refugees from Pakistan till date do not have the basic right of being called a citizen. Ironical and highly unfortunate!
While all said and done, the scrapping of the Article saw enormous negative speculations of its outcome. Being a part of the world’s largest democracy, having an opinion and voicing it counts as our right, but to sensationalize something without copious information or making it a social media ‘movement’ in the name of ‘Saving Kashmir’ with a faceted perspective sounds as stupid as being on a warfront without weapons. Having said that, I request my fellow millennials to act responsible and wield social media influence with restraint. Social media may have revolutionized the way we live and reflect, it has nevertheless added a dangerous dimension of misinformation and uninformed opinion building. Here the uninformed and emotionally charged youth become unintentional pawns in a game which is much larger and sinister for them to be active players. Lets prioritize nation over likes and shares.