Looking back on Article 370 abrogation

Due to the suspension of internet services in J&K after abrogation of Article 370, only a few newspapers were published from Kashmir Valley.

Looking back on Article 370 abrogation
One of the big achievements of the present government in the Union Territory of J&K is its ‘zero-tolerance’ for corruption. (PTI)

By Farooq Wani

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 favouritism 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, fulfilment 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.

Due to the suspension of internet services in J&K after abrogation of Article 370, only a few newspapers were published from Kashmir Valley. Brighter Kashmir, which was one such newspaper ensured a true and holistic coverage of the prevailing situation and sentiments. While problems faced by the people due to suspension of internet services were highlighted, those vested interests spreading the false narratives were also exposed.

It’s a matter of great pride and professional satisfaction that the balanced and impartial coverage by Brighter Kashmir was cited by the Government of India to counter Imran Khan’s speech in the UN in which he propagated a completely false Kashmir narrative to gain sympathy of the international community. Door Darshan regularly referred to Brighter Kashmir in its prime-time evening show “Kashmir Ka Sach” (Truth about Kashmir).

Today, the scenario in J&K has changed. A huge chunk of 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 is working wonders.

One of the big achievements of the present government in the Union Territory of J&K is its ‘zero-tolerance’ for  corruption which is  amply proved by J&K Lt Governor Manoj Sinha’s recent decision on the recruitment of sub-inspectors in J&K Police. After some aspirants alleged that the process was not carried out in a fair manner, he took immediate action on this complaint and ordered an enquiry. Once the investigating committee found something amiss in the selection process, LG Sinha, promptly cancelled the merit list.

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.

Several important measures have been taken to exploit untapped opportunities in the horticulture sector and to ensure an end-to-end approach from plantation to post-harvest management, processing to marketing in order to increase the quality production and exports.

Another important community in J&K comprises tribal people. For 70 years, they were just used as a vote bank and treated as second grade citizens. However, in ‘Naya J&K’, the government has been working continuously to protect their interests, including their land and education.

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 were 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!

(The author is Editor of Brighter Kashmir, Author, TV commentator, political analyst and columnist. Email:farooqwani61@yahoo.co.in Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of Financial Express Online. Reproducing this content without permission is prohibited.)

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