NEW DELHI: Kashmiris residing in the national capital voiced fears that the Centre’s decision to withdraw certain provisions of Article 370, guaranteeing special privileges to Jammu & Kashmir, will have “grave repercussions”.
However, the Kashmiri Pandits, standing on the opposite end of the spectrum, broke into wild cheers and celebrations, calling it a “remarkable decision”.
“We fear more violence on the streets of Kashmir going forward. Our families back home are living scared. We’ve been trying to get in touch with them since last night, but couldn’t,” Abul Rashid, A Kashmiri businessman in Old Delhi, told this newspaper.
He wondered why the Centre didn’t consider taking common Kashmiris to safer shores like the Amarnath pilgrims, who were evacuated in the wake of a government advisory citing an imminent terror threat.
“Yeh Kashmiri bechare toh nehatte aur mazloom hain. Woh kya karenge? (Our people are unarmed and under grave stress. What can they do?). Our state has seen proper elections, in due deference to the country’s democratic tradition, and has also had a functional Assembly for the last 70 years. I have no clue why they decided to take it away,” Rashid said.
The Kashmiris are fearing a backlash at home and say more blood could be spilt if the security lockdown and communication blackout persists in the Valley.
Hajra Bano, who has been living in the national capital for the last 25 years, said she is anxious on a word from her brother and family members in Srinagar. “I am shocked how such a decision could be taken overnight. I fear our people might take this decision lying down. There may even be a bloodbath. This is a clear demonstration of aggression against our state,” she said.
However, the Kashmir Samiti of Delhi, an organisation of Kashmiri Pandits, celebrated the decision.
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Sameer Shrungroo, president of the Samiti, called it a brave and remarkable decision. “We are celebrating this historic decision. We are a minority in the Kashmir Valley and I feel, this move will help us find our feet again in our homeland,” Shrungoo said.
“It feels like azadi (freedom). Kashmir is our janambhoomi (soil of our birth). This decision would surely help us in our quest to return to the Valley,” Manoj Bindroo, a member of the Samiti, said.