Ground Report | New Delhi: Abrogation of Article 370; Nearly two years ago, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government abrogated controversial Articles 370, and 35A, while imposing a lockdown.
Abrogation of Article 370
Zulfikar Ali, Hotel Manager & Tour Operator told The Quint “till 2019, we had a thriving influx of tourists. There were so many people employed in the tourism industry which included hotels, boat houses, shikaras, tour operators, guides, transport services etc. Many other industries were indirectly dependent on tourists, such as dry fruits, handicrafts etc. All the connected people have become unemployed with these sectors. I had to reduce my hotel staff by 95%. What answer should we give to their families?
For months after the repeal, tourism was grounded. As soon as tourists started flocking to the valley, the pandemic struck, bringing everything to a standstill.
Transport business collapsed
Nazir Ahmed, Bus Driver said that the transport business has completely collapsed. We hardly earn Rs 250 per day. How do I run my family with so little money? I am in debt and now I am forced to put my kids to work. Diesel prices are touching the sky. Many drivers have become laborers.
Business owners are mired in uncertainty about the future. A businessman said, “We are very confused whether we should buy raw material or not. We don’t know what will happen tomorrow.”
Media Policy 2020
In June 2020, the Jammu and Kashmir administration passed a new framework ‘Media Policy 2020’ aimed at creating a “sustained narrative on the functioning of the government in media.” The policy gives the administration power to define news as per their convenience along with full control to decide what is “anti-social and anti-national.” It also proposes a “background check” of newspaper owners and journalists alike
Under this policy, created by the Department of Information and Public Affairs and security agencies, the authorities will examine the content for “fake news, plagiarism and unethical or anti-national activities.”
Umar Shah, 32, a journalist in South Asian Inter Press Service, echoes similar views. He says that through this policy “the government has legalized the mugging of the free press in Kashmir.” Adding to this, Shah says, “there is not the only threat to journalists, it is at times extended to their peers and locals as well. Since the turmoil has been going on for decades, trust is a rarity now.