Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir government admitted Friday that the stalemate over the abrogation of Article 370 and splitting the state into two Union territories had continued to disrupt normal life in the Valley, with shops and other businesses shut, public transport off the roads and no class work taking place in schools and colleges.
However, it blamed the bleak situation on separatist militants and said it were the diktats and threats by them that were stopping traders and transporters from resuming normal work and students returning to their classes.
Contradicting its own claims on normality returning to Kashmir, the government, in a paid advertisement that appeared in local newspapers on Friday, said: “Closed shops, no public transport? Who benefits? Are we going to succumb to militants? Think!!!”
It alleged for the past over seven decades, the people of J&K had been misled, made victim of a “vicious campaign and motivated propaganda that kept them trapped in an endless cycle of terrorism, violence, destruction and poverty”.
The government also said while separatists sent their children to exotic lands to study, work and earn, they instigated ordinary Kashmiris to push their children into violence, stone pelting and hartals (shutdowns). “They used threats of terrorists, coercion and misinformation to beguile people,” it alleged, adding: “Today militants are using the same tactic of threats and coercion”. It then asked: “Are we going to tolerate this?”
Acknowledging that “we’re at the crossroads today”, the government asked will the people permit the “age-old tactic of threats and coercion” to influence them. It also asked: “Will threats and misinformation prevail or will we take informed decisions on what is best for us?”
The ad further reads: “Will we let a few posters and threats push us into not resuming our business, not earning our legitimate livelihood, not securing a rightful education and secure future of our children and not letting development bloom for our Kashmir?”
It ends by saying: “This is our home... it is for us to think of its well-being and prosperity. Why fear?”
The ad is part of a sustained campaign spearheaded by the J&K government via paid advertisements, flyers and other media representations to convince people they will only benefit from the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A and to remove the fears in their minds.
Through one such ad which appeared in Srinagar dailies a few days ago, the government had again sought to assure people that there will be no threat to the unique culture and language of Kashmir and Kashmiris or to any community or religion, land or property after the abrogation of these articles.
It also promised that, after the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A, development and progress will trickle down to the grassroots in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. “Investors will pump in capital and resources, industries and services will be set up, employment opportunities will multiply, big educational institutes will proliferate, the health sector will grow, the agricultural sector will be transformed, agro-processing will take a leap forward, ecological and environmental provisions will be enforced and natural beauty will be preserved,” it said. It added: “All fundamental rights enjoyed by citizens in the rest of the country will be now available to the residents of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.”