Post 370: Families of Slain Political Workers Disappointed

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IANS file photo shows people vacating border areas due to cross border firing.

Zaffar Iqbal

PULWAMA/SHOPIAN — Nighat Patel, the 23-year-old daughter of a slain political worker in Kashmir, is disappointed after the abrogation of Article 370. The final-year MBA student of Kashmir University feels that the move could shrink her job prospects drastically. Her father, Ghulam Nabi Patel, was killed by militants in May 2018 in Pulwama.

The veteran mainstream politician from south Kashmir led a political career of 30 years and was associated with the National Conference and the Congress as well. He was also the district president of the Peoples Democratic Party. At their home in Pulwama, inside a guarded colony of political workers, the family shows the photographs of Ghulam Nabi Patel with top leadership of the state. Nighat is worried that outsiders will take away the employment opportunities of Kashmiris.

“It is such a big loss, we have gone many steps backward due to this, our education and degrees are meaningless now. Outsiders will come to take away our jobs, the abrogation of Article 370 only makes sense if this could create employment in Kashmir otherwise it is meaningless.”

Twenty-five kms away from Patel’s house in Shopian lives the family of Gowhar Bhat, a 29-year-old who was killed by militants in 2017. The family breaks down every time they Gowhar’s name is taken. Gowhar was a BJP worker. His father, Mohamamd Ayub Bhat said that the abrogation of Article 370 just does not make any sense at a juncture when Kashmir was witnessing a phase of relative peace and calm. Unlike Nuzhat Patel, Mohammad Ayub Bhat fears that the move could trigger violence and lead demographic changes in Kashmir.

“I think militancy will increase after this, this can once again escalate the situation. The motivation behind the abrogation of Article 370 is plain politics, the people of Kashmir are poor and the Article acted was a defence for them. If rich outsiders come to Kashmir and start buying land, a time will come when nothing will be left for Kashmiris”, said Mohammed Ayub Bhat.

As the people across Kashmir and the rest of India are trying to make a sense of the removal of Article 370, the families of the political workers who raised the Indian flag and fell to militant bullets are trying to understand what the new scenario means for them, and whether this would help in making the situation easier for them or further complicate them. — IANS

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