The abrogation of Article 370 has effectuated some big changes in the valley. Despite this, there are many aspects left that need to be touched upon. The targeted killings of Kashmiri Pandits are still going on and their return to the valley is still an issue that needs to be resolved. Moreover, the recent development has led us to ask an important question – Is abrogating Article 370 enough for the valley’s development?
Mass resignations by Kashmiri Pandits
What can be seen as an unfortunate and disheartening development in the valley is that more than 350 government employees, all of whom are Kashmiri Pandits, have submitted their resignation letters to J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha. The resignations in masse came a day after their colleague, Rahul Bhat, was murdered by terrorists.
Rahul Bhat, a Kashmiri Pandit government employee died while being rushed to the hospital after terrorists fired at him inside the Tehsil office in Chadoora town. The terrorist group named ‘Kashmir Tigers’, has taken responsibility for the attack. Rahul was appointed as a clerk under the special employment package for migrants in 2010-11.
His wife, however, says that “some people within his office conspired with the terrorists”.
“He used to say everyone behaved nicely with him and nobody could harm him. Yet nobody protected him, they (terrorists) must’ve asked someone about him, otherwise, how would they’ve known,” she said.
Protest over the killing of Rahul Bhat
In the aftermath of a Kashmiri Pandit’s targeted killing, government employees and families of Kashmiri Pandits staged a protest against the administration. However, a video shot at the protest site, displays the police firing tear gas shells at them with a motive to silence their voice and prevent them from moving towards the Airport Road.
“The L-G administration should provide security for us. Otherwise, we will resort to mass resignation from our respective posts,” Amit, a Kashmiri Pandit, was quoted as saying.
“If the administration can lathicharge and throw tear gas at the public, could they not have caught the terrorists yesterday?” another protester said.
Meanwhile, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, stepped in and said that she wanted to ‘express her solidarity’ with the Kashmiri Pandits.
“Have been put under house arrest as the fact that Kashmiri Muslims and Pandits empathise with each other’s pain doesn’t fit into their vicious communal narrative,” Mehbooba Mufti said in a tweet.
Kashmir won’t change by just changing the rules
Earlier in October 2021, Kashmir saw seven execution-style killings. It is evident that ethnic cleansing, genocide and targeted killings are making a comeback in Kashmir. The reality is, terrorists have adapted to the new normal in Kashmir. They are operating despite the revocation of Article 370.
The terrorists are sending an open message to the Indian state that you might have abrogated Article 370, but those who have fled Kashmir, or those who have been driven out since the 90s should not even dare come back to the valley. The Islamists are marking their territory.
To bring long-term, lasting and permanent change in Kashmir, and to rid it of Islamic terrorists and their sympathisers, a mere constitutional amendment will serve no purpose. It needs to be accompanied by a sweeping crackdown across all layers of Kashmir’s Islamist society.
That crackdown, which should have come right after the abrogation of Article 370 in 2019, has sadly still not been effectuated. It is still not very late. The Modi government needs to get its act straight in Kashmir and needs to stop trying to woo a society that is inherently tilted against India.