(This video has been republished from The Quint's archives ahead of the Supreme Court verdict on pleas challenging scrapping of Article 370 of the Constitution on 11 December 2023. It was originally published on 5 August 2020.)
Producer: Tridip K Mandal
Cameraperson: Syed Shahriyar
Video Editor: Puneet Bhatia
Production Assistant: Pratyusha Roychowdhury
5 August 2019 – the day of the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution that granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir. The Quint gives you a glimpse into the lives of Kashmiris who have lived through almost a year-long lockdown. Just as things were slowly opening up after the lockdown post the abrogation, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, forcing the people of Kashmir to, once again, be confined to their homes.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been going on due to which the economy and the whole world has been trailing. But it was about the whole world. However, here in Kashmir, we fell behind the entire world for four-five months. The world didn’t wait for us then. We were already too far behind and now we are farther from where we were.”Nargis Khatoon, Singer-songwriter
The Forum of Human Rights in Jammu and Kashmir report says, the Union territory lost nearly Rs 40,000 crore in the lockdown since the abrogation of Article 370.
“I will remember it throughout my life. I won’t forget this till I die. As you know the government decided that there was an Amarnath threat. So, they took the tourism out of the houseboats. Tourists were still coming here. And we thought it must be a threat. But they had to do the abrogation of Article 370. We haven’t seen a client in the last one year. We are losing the employees who used to work with us. Their families were dependent on this. This has affected lots of lives in the Valley.”Arif, Houseboat Owner
“Since 5 August 2019 if you confirm my stats we are not able to provide 15 working days to our students. Strikes, curfews, media gags, e-curfews, it directly falls on our education. When you are deprived of peace you’re not allowed to move there is that barbed wire outside your door how will your child develop a good mental psyche?”Muneer Alam, Teacher
“First, these nine months and on top of that COVID-19 caused one or two more months of lockdown. I could not study anything. I couldn’t complete the syllabus. My online classes are going on via Zoom but I can’t attend them either. There are 30-minute-long exams online but the first 10-15 minutes are spent in opening the link. I want to say that if you want to educate us you need to restore 4G services.”Mursaleen Abbas Mir, Student
On 2 June 2020, the Jammu and Kashmir administration unveiled the new media policy. The aim is to examine the content of print, electronic and other media for anti-national content, fake news or unethical reporting.
“One or two months after abrogation, a local freelance journalist and political commentator Gowhar Geelani was not allowed to travel outside the country. And that was the first signal that the journalists may be facing some kind of response from the government for the work that they are doing. In the spring of 2020, Masrat Zahra a local photo journalist was also booked under the UAPA. Gowhar Geelani himself was booked under the UAPA.”Fahad Shah, Editor-in-chief, The Kashmir Walla
According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, 6,605 people, including 144 minors, were taken into preventive detention.
“Before 370 was removed there was a lot of scope for entertainment. After that, the mood of the city changed. Now we are a little mellow. The songs are a little mellow. The celebration is a little mellow. I feared a backlash if I sounded too happy because the mood out there was not very happy.”Vijdan, Radio Jockey