HYDERABAD: As the Rajya Sabha passed the Bill repealing Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, which accorded special status to Jammu and Kashmir, Kashmiri pandits in Hyderabad burst into celebration at a gathering in Durgam Cheruvu, even as students from Kashmir survived anxious moments over the safety of their relatives at home.
All through the day, an uneasy calm prevailed in the Old City, heavily fortified to prevent rioting. Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar stayed put there, supervising measures to maintain peace. As there were no untoward incidents, the police did not impose Section 144 of the IPC but kept a strict vigil.
The Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), which has six members in the Upper House, is understood to have supported the Bill, though it chose not to take part in the discussion on it. Former MP K Kavitha was circumspect in her reaction when she said that her prayers were with the people of Jammu and Kashmir and hoped that they would be safe and peace would soon prevail in Kashmir.
Advocates applaud Centre’s ‘monumental’ decision
Those who supported the BJP’s ideology celebrated the occasion by exchanging sweets. Several advocates, holding national flags and chanting ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ went around the city, while some danced to the beats of the drums. “It is a monumental decision, which was long-pending. There is nothing unconstitutional in revoking it as it was always temporary and never got permanent status,” said Advocate Sumalini Reddy. While this is so, the announcement also sparked an uproar among a section of the lawyers’ fraternity, who expressed their anguish and described the decision as one taken by misusing power.
Kashmir students are worried about the safety of their parents back in their homes State. Said Hadif Nasir from Anantanag: “Last time I spoke to my parents was on Sunday. Since then, there has been no internet or mobile connectivity. I am worried about their safety.” Nasir is pursuing a postgraduate degree in mass communications at the University of Hyderabad.
Chance to return home
For most Kashmiri pandits, the decision to repeal Article 370 was seen as an opportunity to return home. Rahul Razdan, general secretary, Youth for Panun Kashmir, said the govt has met their long-pending demand
This day will be etched in history as the day that gave life and meaning to the ideals of our Constitution. With the abrogation of Article 370 by the Narendra Modi government, the ties between the people will deepen and ensure there’s inclusive growth and development of the State — G Kishan Reddy, Union Minister of State for Home