Editorial: Jackpot or jackboot?

More than 100 people have been arrested in Kashmir after the Centre announced abrogation of the provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution. Security forces arrested over 100 people, including political leaders and activists, as they were considered a threat to peace and tranquility in the Kashmir valley, officials were quoted as saying. The arrests came hours after Article 370, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir, was scrapped and the Centre bifurcated the State into two Union territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

On Wednesday, a day after the Parliament session concluded, following two days of deliberation over the passage of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Bill that bifurcates the State and scraps the special status accorded under Article 370, President Ram Nath Kovind signed off on the official gazette that enforced the changes from 6 August. ‘In exercise of the powers conferred by clause (3) of Article 370 read with clause (1) of Article 370 of the Constitution of India, the President, on the recommendation of Parliament, is pleased to declare that, as from the 6th August 2019, all clauses of the said Article 370 shall cease to be operative…’ as per the gazette notification.

In the meantime, amid fear that scrapping of Article 370 will devalue land rights in Jammu and Kashmir, BJP leader Nirmal Singh assured a domicile-like option will soon be suggested to the Union government. The Centre is already exploring limitations to ensure local rights will not be usurped. According to Nirmal Singh, ‘Soon, we are going to propose a domicile-like option for Jammu and Kashmir. Their interests shall be protected. Like in Himachal Pradesh and Punjab, agricultural land cannot be bought. This option is also in the mind of the Union government.’ Nirmal Singh also said now the private sector will be encouraged in Jammu and Kashmir. He was confident misuse will not be possible and instead will benefit landowners. As assured by Home Minister Amit Shah in Parliament, everyone is hoping that peace will return soon in the valley and positive growth happen following the Centre’s move. J&K should not be allowed to once again fall under the control of militants and forces.

NT Bureau