• Tuesday, Dec 10, 2019
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How India is restoring 'normalcy' in Kashmir

  • Published at 10:31 pm November 22nd, 2019
Kashmir
Kashmiri journalists display laptops and placards during a protest demanding restoration of internet service, in Srinagar, November 12, 2019 Reuters

Amit Shah's comment of "total normalcy" prevailing in Kashmir invited discussion inside and outside India

After passing 100 days of revoking the India-administered Kashmir's special status, Indian Home Minister Amit Shah told the Rajya Sabha in New Delhi that "total normalcy" prevails in the state.

Although many raised questions over his claim in comparison with the fact, the reality is that the extent of violence was much less than the amount that was expected as a backlash.

However, in their observation, two Indian analysts said that the impact of deploying additional 200,000 forces might have played a role to restore normalcy, but they do not believe that it is the only reason behind the existing condition.

The analysts said that majority residents of Kashmir have no clear idea about the impact of the abrogation of Article 370 of India's constitution.

Meanwhile, BJP government, in their publicity, have been able to make the locals believe that they would be benefited with the investment from outside even after the revoking the state's special status.

Also, the government has increased fund allocation in different projects in the state. They also have the support of two key Muslim organizations there. 

Besides, residents could not put their trust on local politicians – and all these worked to bring the situation to “normalcy” in the state. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government stripped Jammu and Kashmir of its semi-autonomy and statehood, creating two federal territories on August 5, sending in tens of thousands of extra troops, imposing a curfew, snapping internet and telecommunications services, and arresting several hundred people.

The order revoked Article 370 of India's constitution, which had given the state of Jammu and Kashmir its own constitution and decision-making rights for all matters except for defence, communications and foreign affairs.

However, the revoke order ensued violence in the Kashmir Valley, which gradually started to calm. Amit Shah said on Wednesday that it was up to the authorities to decide when to restore internet connections.

Amit Shah's comment of "total normalcy" prevailing in Kashmir invited discussion inside and outside India.

Many have raised the question that how India is restoring normalcy so quickly whereas international media had many notions over the impact of abrogation of Article 370.

Two Indian strategic analysts – former Maj Gen Gagandeep Bakshi and Bashir Assad, also the writer of "K File" – analyzed the reasons behind the apparent peaceful situation in the valley.

(A) No one had the clear notion about what impact of the abrogation of Article 370 will create in Kashmir. After the abrogation, locals, however, find no major change in the state's activities. Besides, the government has been able to promote that heavy investment from outside will also benefit the locals.

(B) Islamic organization Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind and spiritual leader Syed Salman Chishty of Ajmer Sharif backed the decision of the Indian government over the matter, which helped create good impact on the India's lone Muslim-majority state.

(C) The Indian government has increased the amount of fund allocation to the valley after the abrogation. Officials said: "The government is pumping money like current" into Kashmir in its various projects. Besides, the government officials and employees here are getting increased salary and wages. 

(D) On October 24, Jammu and Kashmir saw 98% polling in the block development council elections, which is rare in any local government election there, even after Article 370 abrogation. Besides, a new rule stipulates 30% reserved seats for women in the local administration, encouraging women in the state.

(E) Gagandeep Bakshi and Bashir Assad said Jammu and Kashmir leaders Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah, or Mehbooba Mufti have been detained, but still no one took to the streets demanding their release. The analysts said the situation proves that the individuals who had been claiming themselves as the representatives of people have lack of public support. Many observers have the notion that new leadership will flourish in the "new Kashmir."