‘Dream of one nation, one law, one symbol fulfilled’: Home ministry report on J-K after Art-370

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The ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has said that the ‘dream of one nation, one law and one symbol’ has been fulfilled with the removal of provisions of Article 370, diluted by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led Central government on 5 August 2019 amid months-long government imposed lockdown and communication blackout in Jammu and Kashmir.

A 38-page report, shared by the Ministry of Home Affairs on its official website, has been highlighting the development works that have been “taken up by the government post dilution of Article 370” and claim that the abrogation of special status of the region was fulfillment of dream of “founder of BJP”.

The MHA claims that the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir did not see development at par with rest of the country due to the presence of Article 370 and 35A and said that Shyama Prasad Mukherjee’s dream of  one nation, one law, one symbol was fulfilled after 70 years by abrogation of special guarantees to J-K, which allowed the erstwhile state to have its own constitution, flag, protection on land and government jobs.  

Mukherjee resigned from the Jawahar Lal Nehru’s cabinet over differences on Liaquat-Nehru Pact of 1950 and founded Bharatiya Jana Sangh, now Bharatiya Janata Party with the support of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in 1951, three years after the India’s independence. Nehru was the first Prime Minister of India who played a vital role in the accession of Jammu and Kashmir with the country.

As BJP has been selling the abrogation of special status of Jammu and Kashmir as fulfillment of dream of Mukherjee, and lack of development in the region, political opponents have been contesting the claim, saying that Mukherjee was in the cabinet then [when Article 370 was inducted]  and did not oppose it ever.They also claim that the development in the region was better than other parts of the country.

“The economy of J-K has virtually collapsed as tourism, trade, agriculture, horticulture and handicraft sectors were badly hit. Employment opportunities are shrinking. Is corruption any less and governance any better? The fact remains that not a single claim stands the test of scrutiny,” said the Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) – an amalgam of several regional parties seeking restoration of Article 370 and 35A, last month.

But the MHA argues, in its report, that the “Narendra Modi government erased the pain of the people by removing the provisions of Article 370 from Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh, which had been lagging behind in the race of development for decades. Now it has been brought at par with other states by bringing it into the mainstream.”

Several regional political parties and former Chief Ministers including Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah have been contesting the claim of the central government regarding the “no development” in the region and have been saying that the claims made by the government are misleading. The abrogation of the special status has also been challenged in the Supreme Court of India.

However, the MHA has said that after dilution of Article 370 the region has been witnessing development, waning of militancy, benefit of many schemes by the government has been reaching beneficiaries directly, bringing the valley to the mainstream through employment and skill development.

Soon after the issuance of the notification in August 2019, Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh were reorganised into two separate UTs from 31st October 2019.

“With this, 170 laws of the Central Government, which were not applied earlier, have been applied in this region. Now the local residents and the residents of other states, enjoy the same rights. Out of the 334 State laws, 164 laws have been repealed and 167 laws have been adapted, according to the Indian Constitution,” the report said.

The report said that the incidents of “terror” have significantly declined and there is a new found atmosphere of peace and security in the valley, while, as per official data, 524 people have died in violence in J&K— nearly 70 civilians, 80 government force personnel and 375 militants since August 5, 2019, when Parliament revoked limited autonomy of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. 

It further said that the region will witness Industrial development to make the region self-reliant and Tourism will shine again. Several “inspirational and success stories” have been shared in the 38 page report mentioning the people who have either set up their business units or have got their house constructed with “support from the government.”

As per the report, post 5 August 2019 on the initiative of central government, Ukkhu village of Pulwama is  being given the tag of “Pencil wala Gaon” as 90% of pencils in the country originate from there. “The hands wielding the pencil anywhere in the country, may have not guessed where the pencil was manufactured and reached them. It is a pleasant fact that 90% of pencils in India originate from the same Pulwama,” it said.

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