Why is BJP afraid of Kashmiris?

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Why is BJP afraid of Kashmiris?
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Why is BJP afraid of Kashmiris?

Indian Lok Sabha has six seats from occupied Jammu and Kashmir. One from Ladakh, two from Jammu and three from Valley. However, a week before the election date was announced, Narendra Modi visited Srinagar for the first time in five years and said that They are constantly trying to win the hearts of the people here.

But despite the claim of opening the way for development as a result of the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution to change the status of Kashmir, the BJP did not dare to field its candidate on the three seats of the valley.

The fear was that this election would prove to be a referendum on changing the constitutional status of Kashmir and in the case of a certain defeat, all that propaganda would have gone to BJP’s mouth that we divided the state into two parts on August 5, 2019. In fact, it opened the way for the development of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

Khasyan’s explanation for not contesting the election from the valley this time was given by the Indian Home Minister and Modi’s right-hand man Amit Shah, who said that the BJP actually wants to win the hearts of the people here. There is currently no rush to feed him the lotus flower (BJP’s election symbol) in the valley.

The real contest in the valley is between Farooq Abdullah’s National Conference and Mehbooba Mufti’s People’s Democratic Party. Both parties are against the abrogation of Article 370. Both are part of the anti-BJP coalition India, but in Kashmir they are each other’s candidates. They are against each other.

Currently, the unemployment rate in Kashmir is 18.5%, while it is 7.5% in the rest of India. The main reason for the increase in unemployment is that after the constitutional amendments, non-Kashmiris can now get jobs that were previously only available to locals. Despite being the home of hydropower, load shedding for many hours every day is a necessity of daily life in the valley.

Thousands of people have been arrested since 2019 and local journalism is heavily monitored. The state is governed under emergency laws. Under these laws, the army and police have wide latitude in the name of security operations.

Although according to the constitution, elections must be held within six months of the dissolution of the state assembly, but Jammu and Kashmir has been under continuous governor’s rule for the past five years. The Supreme Court has ordered that the state assembly elections must be held by September this year.

Recently, the Modi government passed a law under which the hill people of Jammu were also declared backward castes and included in the local jobs and education quotas. The Gujjar and Bakarwal communities are protesting against this law as they feel that their The educational and employment future of children seems to be in danger.

Hindus and Sikhs who migrated from Pakistani areas after partition and settled in Jammu have been included in the hill community and their proportion in the state’s population is eight percent. Despite the economic status of these communities being better than that of the Gujjar and Bakarwal Muslim communities, they were included in the quota of backward classes.

Kashmiri farmers are more angry and helpless than ever. Apple production is the backbone of the Kashmir economy. Twenty-seven percent of the population’s livelihood depends on apple orchards. Apple sales account for eight percent of the state’s total national income. About three million farmers own or work in small gardens.

The average annual income of an apple farmer is five lakh rupees, which fulfills the basic needs of these farmers.

The only connection between India and Kashmir is the road passing through the valley, but it is often closed in winter due to snowfall. So now Kashmir is being connected to the rest of India by rail to keep it open throughout the year. One hundred and ninety kilometers long railway line is being laid in India. Seventy kilometers of this line will pass through Anantnag, Bijbahara and Pahalgam sections. This area is also the center of Seb.

But the government is grabbing land from these farmers at arbitrary prices. At present, the government needs about seven hundred acres of land for the first phase of the railway project. By the time the project is completed, most of the apple trees will be cut down. The railway line will drive away commuters from the rest of India looking for investment and employment, and will increase unemployment among local farmers.

Many garden owners are forbidden to work on their own land and government-owned stones are placed there. It is not a headache for the government to think where they earn their bread.

Now you might have understood why BJP was not interested in fielding its candidates on all three seats in the Valley.

This time, a new electoral element is being seen in the valley. Two and a half percent votes were cast in the Srinagar seat in the election of 2019. On May 13th, an average of 38 percent votes were cast here, which is not seen in any election since 1989. This time, the traditional appeal of boycott was not made by the freedom fighters. So does this mean that the Kashmiri struggle is tired? no way.

Voters say that after the armed struggle, now we are fighting the battle of the ballot boxes. This vote is a vote to reject the decision to change the constitutional status of Kashmir. BJP is well aware of the “anger through ballot boxes”, so it did not dare to field its candidates in the valley. Polling will be held in the seat on 20th and in Anantnag seat on 25th May.

(Click on bbcurdu.com and Tweeter @WusatUllahKhan to read other columns and articles of Wasatullah Khan)

Why is BJP afraid of Kashmiris?