‘Life will be tougher’: 95% youth in Kashmir against removal of Article 370, study shows

Around 90% feel there will be no development after Article 370 abrogation

Over 54% reported that conflict resulted in killing of their family member or relative

40% reported that they or any of their family members were tortured or humiliated

Srinagar: A study conducted by the Sher-i-Kashmir University of Agricultural Science and Technology (SKUAST) reveals that around 95% of youth in Kashmir are against the removal of Article 370, which granted semi-autonomous status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Titled as ‘A Study on Jammu and Kashmir Present, Past and Views of Students on Article 370 abrogation’, the study has been published in International Journal of Latest Research on Humanitarian and Social Science.

Conducted by Dr Bilal Ahmad Bhat, faculty at SKUAST, the research has studied many aspects of the impact of conflict and abrogation of Article 370 on Kashmiri youth.

It says 97% of males and 94% of females in Kashmir are against the abrogation of Article 370.

The data in the research reveals, “as per students’ understudy, the main threats due to abrogation of Article 370 is religious identity (39.5%), demographic change (27.5%), cultural identity (25%), and life security (8%). The students, as per the study, feel that life in Kashmir will be tougher in the future than earlier.”

The research also found that 90.5% of male and 77.5% of female respondents feel that abrogation of Article 370 will increase the armed conflict in Kashmir.

“The (decades of) conflict in Kashmir affects the academic performance of students and it will be difficult for students of Kashmir to compete with students of other states of India for jobs. In Kashmir we observe frequent strikes, curfews, and e-curfew which affected the whole education system,” as per the study.

The research depicts that 94.5% male and 93.5% female respondents reported that revocation of Article 370 cannot change the status of Kashmir issue. Around 92% male and 90% female respondents reported that there will be no development in Jammu and Kashmir after Article 370 abrogation.

At least 89.5% male and 91% female respondents say that they feel poor leadership is responsible for the present crisis in Jammu and Kashmir.

The research also reveals that the majority of the respondents (54.75%) reported that Kashmir conflict resulted in the killing of their family member or relative.

“40.75% respondents reported that they or any of their family members were tortured or humiliated and 80.25% of respondents reported that they have witnessed the encounter (armed military operation). 86.5% respondents say that life and honour of people are unsafe due to ongoing conflict in Kashmir,” the result shows.

Moreover, 96.75% of respondents reported that they feel the armed conflict in Kashmir has affected the health of people.

Kashmir political parties also agree with the results of this study and say that no one across Kashmir is in favour of abrogation of Article 370.

Hussnain Masoodi, MLA National Conference and Member Parliament said, “everyone in Kashmir is against it because it will have far reaching consequences. Development goes hand in hand with peace, if there is no peace there is no development.”

He agreed that to some extent the leadership of Kashmir that has governed Jammu and Kashmir from decades is collectively responsible for the situation Kashmir is witnessing today. “One such example is that imposition of GST by the previous government which deprived the state of its fiscal autonomy,” he added.

The feeling is the same across party lines.

Another politician, Rafi Mir, leader of Apni Party, said, “not only 95% youth, I will say whole Jammu and Kashmir are not happy with the article 370 abrogation. But as far as development is concerned, it is too early to comment on it. It is high time to think about what best can be done now without violence.”

“I agree that mistakes were committed by the leaders. This was expected from the BJP government as it was in their agenda. The political parties who were in power for decades could have taken care of it if they had given it a proper thought,” Mir added.

JK Congress president, G A Mir told Free Press Kashmir that the previous leadership despite alert calls and reg flags by the local leaders have played a major role in providing BJP a space in Kashmir which resulted in the abrogation of article 370.

“We alerted PDP that don’t encourage BJP in this state, they had many other options like NC, Congress, and independent candidates to form the government but they did not listen to anyone and chose to tie up with the BJP. PDP is responsible for everything the Kashmir has witnessed,” Mir added.

Waheed Ur Rehman Parra, PDP youth president also said that no one in Kashmir is in favour of the removal of Article 370 abrogation.

“This was done without the consent of the Kashmiri people. The political parties are also against it because it was not discussed with any party here,” Parra said.

He agreed that political parties that have been ruling Kashmir are responsible for the current status of Jammu and Kashmir.

“We are willing to take responsibility for what has happened in Kashmir. We should have been more cautious and serious about the constitutional arrangement. People have the right to blame us but the point is we were not in power the when it happened,” he noted.

As everyone seems to agree with the results of the study, the author, Dr Bilal Ahmad Bhat says that he has collected the 400 samples post article 370 abrogation by using Random Sampling, and there is fair reason to belive that a larger sample size will show, more or less, similar results.

“I distributed questionnaires randomly among 400 students of Kashmir. Later after collecting the questionnaire I shifted to Jammu and published the paper from there,” he noted, adding that the response of the majority of youth was against the abrogation of article 370 abrogation.

The Parliament of India had in August last year adopted a resolution to abrogate Article 370, and passed a Bill to bifurcate the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories – Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh, controlled directly by the Government of India.

Article 370 granted Jammu and Kashmir autonomy, and its scrapping was done as all Kashmiri political representatives were kept under detention, communication in Kashmir was blacked out, and thousands were imprisoned, while the region was kept under curfew.

The removal of Article 370 has made concrete the fears of demographic change in the Muslim majority region of Kashmir, as laws regarding land ownership and citizenship have been changed by the Government of India controlled administration.

Internet stays throttled in both Jammu and Kashmir, more than a year since the move.


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