By Zaffar Iqbal
Srinagar, Oct 8 (IANS) For the second month running newspapers published from Kashmir are flooded with government advertisements listing the benefits of abrogation of Article 370 and 35A.
The full front-page advertisements are appearing in prominent English and Urdu newspapers of Kashmir like Greater Kashmir and Aftab.
“A single constitution for the entire country – How will Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh benefit?” is the headline of the advertisement that goes on to explain how “Article 370 and 35A were responsible for backwardness of J&K” and “How will this change now?”
The advertisement says Article 370 and 35A were used to promote terror and block the state’s development journey.
“For many years in the past, the state of J&K has been the victim of anti-national propaganda and terrorist actions against innocent citizens. The Article 370 and 35A became handy tools for mischievous elements to fan separatism and promote terror. These two articles kept the state away from the development processes in the country for a long time. The special status benefitted only a select few like Hurriyat leaders and people working for them.”
It says that the revocation of Article 370 and 35A will bring in investment to the state and create employment opportunities while giving a boost to the education and health sectors.
“Investors will pump in capital and resources, industries and services will be set up, employment opportunities will multiply, big educational institutes will proliferate, heath sector will grow.”
The advertisement also touches upon the contentious issue of land and tries to assuage the fears of people that they won’t be compelled to sell their lands while at the same time mentions land prices will escalate in the state and match land prices in the rest of the country.
“Land rates all over the country have increased many fold while rates in J&K have not changed much. This will change in the days to come. However fears of the people about loss of land and properties are not well founded. In fact there is no compulsion on anybody to part with his land. Anyone who does not want to sell his lands will have the full liberty not to do so. There will be no change in ownership due to removal of Article 370.”
The advertisement claims that the abrogation of Article 370 will prevent the students from leaving the state and going to other parts of the country for higher studies.
“20,000 students from J&K have to go to other parts of India to study. Now even this sector will boom due to the PPP model in vogue – no compulsion for students to go outside for education.”