March 31, 2024

Article 370 Revocation: Separating Rhetoric from Reality in Jammu and Kashmir Situation

M Y Tarigami

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THE ongoing situation in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh demands a thorough examination due to the prolonged absence of democratically elected governments for over five years. This has led to a severe crisis across various fronts, including skyrocketing unemployment rates, rampant poverty, crippling debt burdens, and escalating security concerns that have profoundly affected the residents of the Kashmir Valley, with the situation deteriorating day by day.

The claims made by the BJP-led government regarding job creation, poverty alleviation, and establishing peace in the region are unfounded and disconnected from reality. The touted schemes like MGNREGA and IAY are not novel initiatives introduced by the current administration; they existed well before 2014. Moreover, essential subsidies on basic necessities such as cooking gas, kerosene oil, and rice have been drastically reduced or eliminated altogether, directly impacting the already struggling population.

The surge in electricity bills further exacerbates the plight of the marginalised people. Many hydroelectric power projects crucial for the region's energy supply are under central government control, leading to exorbitant fees and inadequate access to electricity for ordinary Kashmiris. This situation starkly contradicts the government's claims of prioritising welfare- oriented policies and governance, highlighting the stark disconnect between rhetoric and ground realities.


The unilateral revocation of Article 370 by the BJP government stands as a glaring example of undemocratic actions taken by this right-wing administration. However, serious questions arise regarding the claims made by the BJP and other right-wing factions that Article 370 was a barrier to development in Jammu and Kashmir. They assert that it hindered the implementation of government-sponsored schemes, but this narrative is blatantly false and a betrayal of trust.

The BJP regime's assertions are misleading and aimed at deceiving the public. Numerous governmental schemes such as MGNREGA, IAY, PMGSY, and others were already operational and effective in Jammu and Kashmir before the abrogation of Article 370. Therefore, there is no substance to the BJP's argument that Article 370 posed a hindrance to development efforts.

Moreover, the BJP-led government's claims regarding new investments or developments post- August 2019, after the Article 370 revocation, are dubious at best. For instance, the Birla Mill in Kathua and the Grand Lalit Hotel in Srinagar have been owned by outsiders for decades, undermining the narrative that these are fresh developments spurred by the removal of Article

370. This highlights the disingenuous nature of the BJP regime's justifications for its actions in Jammu and Kashmir.

The situation regarding terrorism and human rights abuses continues to worsen for ordinary citizens, who face constant threats and intimidation. The level of digital surveillance has reached alarming levels, with authorities collecting mobile numbers and IMEI numbers from the general people. Despite this, the Modi government insists on portraying Jammu and Kashmir as enjoying unprecedented freedoms under their rule, which is a gross misrepresentation of reality. 

Under this regime, dissenting voices are systematically silenced, turning the government into a de facto dictatorship rather than a democratic entity. Bureaucratic control is wielded without any democratic checks or accountability, further exacerbating the hardships faced by ordinary people. This unchecked power only serves to consolidate the government's authoritarian grip, leaving little room for genuine democratic principles or respect for human rights.

The rampant inflation coupled with the removal of subsidies on essential daily necessities has dealt a severe blow to the livelihoods of the people. Additionally, the government's aggressive land acquisition policies have further exacerbated the already dire conditions in the region. Modi's administration presents this land grabbing as a reform, conveniently ignoring the fact that comprehensive land reforms were implemented in Jammu and Kashmir as early as the 1950s, with substantial backing from Leftist factions.

This revisionist narrative serves to obfuscate the government's true intentions, which seem to prioritise the interests of powerful entities over the well-being of the common people. The current regime's actions regarding land ownership not only disregard historical progress but also contribute to increased economic hardships and social instability for the people of the region. The circulars, time and again, issued by the LG administration, barring the government employees from using social media and expressing their opinion over various issues is tantamount to reducing the citizens to ‘subjects’. Similarly, the government has been consistently making attempts to brow beat journalists into submission. Many scribes over the years have been booked under the draconian laws like PSA and UAPA merely for speaking truth to power.

The other day, a surprising development came when the Army organised a seminar, which was later cancelled, on Uniform Civil Code (UCC) at Kashmir University. The move indicates the unnecessary meddling of armed forces in political affairs. It also is symptomatic of Army’s attempt to undermine the political representatives character in democratic set-up.



Modi's recent visit to Jammu and Kashmir was nothing more than a political gimmick, devoid of any real benefits for the people. It served as a theatrical display to showcase BJP's supposed dominance in Kashmir and project an image of authority. Despite Modi's attempts to portray otherwise, there were no substantial packages or initiatives announced during the visit to uplift the region.

Modi's touted highlight of Kashmiri Saag as a novelty is a laughable attempt to fabricate significance where none exists. Kashmiri Saag has been a traditional produce of the region for generations, making such claims of novelty seem disingenuous at best.

The routine recruitment drives by JKSSP and JKPSC hardly qualify as special employment packages tailored for the youth of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. The lack of tangible efforts to address the employment crisis further exposes the hollowness of the Modi regime's promises.

The issue of Kashmiri Pandit migration, undoubtedly a painful chapter in the region's history, has been exploited by the Modi government for cinematic grandstanding rather than offering substantial relief or a framework for their return. The government's focus on superficial gestures and symbolism over addressing the actual grievances and livelihood challenges faced by Kashmiri Pandits is a testament to its misplaced priorities and lack of genuine concern for the welfare of the people.

The government's insistence on linking Article 370 with terrorism is desperate attempt by government to create misunderstanding about the root causes of discontent in the region. It was not the existence of Article 370 but rather its continuous erosion and denial of democracy and rights of the people that fueled resentment among the masses. The Modi regime's attempt to take credit for the smooth conduct of the Amarnath Yatra is misleading, as this pilgrimage has been ongoing for decades without their intervention.

The absence of a democratic government in Jammu and Kashmir for the past five years raises serious questions about the government's commitment to democracy. Despite their tall claims of building bridges of normalcy, assembly elections are consistently being delayed. The promise of restoring statehood remains unfulfilled, highlighting the regime's propensity for making empty promises.

This government's modus operandi relies heavily on propaganda and utilising State machinery to propagate lies. The recent disclosure of electoral bonds exposes their stance on corruption – rather than combating it, they sought to legitimise it through legal means. Data reveals that the BJP is major beneficiary of this fraudulent scheme.

Overall, the Modi regime's actions and rhetoric underscore a disregard for democratic norms, a penchant for false claims, and a troubling willingness to condone corruption for its own interests.


The revocation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir marked a significant change in the region's political and economic dynamics. Despite promises of economic revitalisation and development, the BJP government's ambitious plans to transform the region's economy and improve livelihoods have fallen short, as evidenced by numerous reports and data analyses. The decision to abolish Article 370 was justified on the grounds that it impeded development in the region and that its removal would usher in economic growth, increased employment opportunities, and substantial investments in infrastructure. However, progress has been sluggish, and the outcomes have been limited.

While the BJP government boasted about significant economic growth in Jammu and Kashmir post-Article 370 abrogation, a closer examination reveals that while there have been some improvements, the overall economic trajectory remains lacklustre. Despite claims of Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) growth, the benefits have not trickled down to the majority of the population.

The BJP government's tall claims of creating high-wage employment opportunities have not materialised as expected. Despite claims of job creation and investment, Jammu and Kashmir continues to struggle with soaring unemployment rates, particularly among the youth. The unemployment situation, especially among educated youth, has worsened significantly post- Article 370 revocation. The lack of immediate job opportunities and delays in project approvals has worsened the unemployment crisis, undermining the government's narrative of inclusive development. 

Infrastructural development was touted as a key pillar of the post-Article 370 agenda, yet visible improvements are lacking, and overall infrastructure remains inadequate. While investment proposals have increased, the actual implementation has been slow, with only a fraction of proposed units registered and actual investment received on the ground. The focus on large-scale projects has sidelined smaller initiatives crucial for local development.

Despite assurances of improving well-being, socio-economic disparities persist in Jammu and Kashmir, exacerbated by political instability and security concerns. The absence of inclusive policymaking and consultation processes has alienated segments of the population, deepening social tensions and impeding progress towards peace.

Prior to 2019, Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) exhibited robust human development parameters, indicating both economic growth and social development. Unlike many other states, 96.11 per cent of households in J&K were living in liveable and good housing conditions according to the Census 2011. Access to electricity in villages was at 94 per cent, and by 2019, 99 per cent of the population had access to electricity. Out of a population of 1.25 crore, 1.16 crore had access to improved drinking water supply according to the Public Health Engineering (PHE) department until 2019, which is 93 per cent coverage.

The recent National Family Health Survey (NFHS) report underscores J&K's superior human development compared to many well-developed Indian states. For instance, the sex ratio in J&K stands at 971, and the population with access to electricity is at 99.3 per cent. According to the NFHS report, access to improved drinking water supply for households in J&K is at 91.9 per cent, with improved sanitation at 85.6 per cent in urban areas and 75.7 per cent in rural areas as of 2019. The usage of clean energy for cooking is at 96 per cent in urban areas and 59 per cent in rural areas.

Regarding literacy rates, women's literacy is at 84 per cent in urban areas and 75 per cent in rural areas, while men's literacy is at 92 per cent in urban areas and 91.4 per cent in rural areas. The Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) is 16.3, Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) is 9.8, and the under-5 mortality rate is 18.5 per 1000 deaths. Institutional deliveries stand at 92 per cent in J&K, and women empowerment parameters range between 80 per cent to 88 per cent. These parameters demonstrate that J&K's development indicators are significantly higher compared to several developed states in India until 2019.

In conclusion, the claims of economic growth, employment generation, and overall well-being post-Article 370 revocation in Jammu and Kashmir must be critically analysed in light of available evidence. The government's misleading rhetoric contrasts starkly with the harsh realities on the ground. Persistent challenges like high unemployment, inadequate infrastructure, and socio-economic disparities highlight the urgent need for a more inclusive and sustainable approach to address the region's economic woes.

To address these challenges, the way forward is bold and united resistance against the anti-people policies of authoritarian-Hindutva regime of BJP.



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