Barring celebrations by the Valmiki community and a few right-wing parties, such as Bajrang Dal and Shiv Sena, there were no mega celebrations across the region
The heterogeneous society of Jammu, comprising displaced Kashmiri Pandits, Dogras, Valmiki community, Gujjars and refugees from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and West Pakistan largely expressed relief after the Supreme Court’s verdict on Article 370.
Barring celebrations by the Valmiki community and a few right-wing parties, such as Bajrang Dal and Shiv Sena, there were no mega celebrations across the region.
Though the common people carried on with their normal lives, they did appreciate the apex court for upholding the Centre’s decision to abrogate Article 370 and 35A.
Gharu Bhatti, a member of the Valmiki community said, “The community is happy. We were scared that the SC might reverse the decision. There is no court above SC and it has put this ghost into a bottle and thrown into an ocean, once and for all.” Members of the community hoisted Tri-colours and distributed sweets to mark their happiness.
Anita Jamwal, 40, who has formed an all woman self-help group of 2,000 in Reasi, said, “Article 370 was grossly discriminatory against women. The girls from J&K, who married outside the state, used to lose their rights to parental property and citizienship. Now we have equal rights.”
Sreshat Bhanotra, a bank manager, and his staff celebrated the verdict at their office at Gangyal.
“The abrogation should not have been challenged as it was done by the Parliament. To me, challenging it before the apex court amounted to treason,” he said.
Sumit Hakhu, a migrant Kashmiri Pandit, said, “Article 370 was provisional and Kashmir-centric parties used it as a tool to blackmail the Centre. Previous governments didn’t dare to touch it because of the blackmail politics.”
However, he said that the Bharatiya Janata Party government in the Centre has not initiated earnest efforts for the rehabilitation of the Pandit community in Kashmir.
A Gujjar from a “silent” village of Dhadkai in Doda, lodged his dissent
Dhadkai’s sarpanch Mohammad Hanief, said, “We want Article 370 and 35-A back with restoration of our statehood and early assembly elections.”
Hanief disagreed with BJP government’s “unilateral” actions of August 5, 2019.
President of the Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry Arun Gupta hailed the SC verdict, but said the people should get their due share of the locals in jobs, industrial sector and every sphere.