No one can see the future, neither can we change the past. I don’t know whether the abrogation of Article 370 will bring prosperity to Kashmir or conditions will worsen. As I don’t know the answer, I am not against it and neither do I support the move. But I want to express one of my personal experiences that I had in Itanagar (Arunachal Pradesh) which I can relate to the complete shutdown of Kashmir.
It was February 2019, and I was in Itanagar for some official work. It was the time when the people of Arunachal Pradesh were protesting against a decision taken by the Prema Khandu-led BJP government to issue PRC (Permanent Residential Certificate) to 6 communities who originally don’t belong to Arunachal Pradesh.
The protest was violent; the deputy Chief Minister’s residence was burnt down by protestors, one protestor was shot dead and at least four people died.
Arunachal Pradesh suffered a complete shutdown for 3-4 days with a complete communication blockade, and unfortunately, I was there in Itanagar during that time and it was a totally horrendous experience. We were in our organisation’s guest house for 2 complete days with no connection from anyone, no calls and no messages because of the communication blockade and also no one was allowed outside.
I remember we had only rice to eat and in those 2 days, and my family in Assam spent sleepless nights because they came to know about the violence in Itanagar from the regional news channels and no one was able to contact me.
I have shared this experience just to relate it to Kashmir; mine was just 2 days of a complete shutdown but Kashmir has been locked down for more than 26 days, with no connection with the world. I can imagine and feel the conditions of the people of Kashmir.
I can feel the fear and anger among the people in Kashmir, because, in those 2 days in Arunachal Pradesh, we were also in fear and at the same time angry at the Government’s decision. Because sometimes, people in power make a decision against the interests of the people.
At present, the scenario in Kashmir is more like an open jail. I don’t know about the future but what the Government is doing will definitely develop anger among the local people of Kashmir as they are suffering because of the shutdown.
I am not questioning the abrogation of Article 370, as I don’t know what its results will be. I hope it will bring prosperity and peace to the ‘heaven on earth’. But my question is, when will the shutdown end? According to Government sources, everything is normal in the valley; so if everything is normal then why is the Government not giving us clarity on the shutdown? Why is there a conflict in the reports of national media and international news sources?
I hope I will get an answer very soon!