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Distressed, Jobless: Kashmir's Woes Two Years After Abrogation of Article 370

Kashmir Marred by Economic Distress, Unemployment: Two Years After Abrogation of Article 370, 35A

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Video Producer: Naman Shah

Video Editor: Sandeep Suman

"It disheartened the people. It has no benefits, rather the situation has gone from bad to worse," said a Kashmiri businesswoman as the former state completes two years since the abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35A.

On 5 August 2019, the Indian Parliament revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and the state was bifurcated into two union territories- Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

Distressed Economy, Rising Unemployment

Following the historic move, Jammu and Kashmir was virtually cut down from the rest of the world as the internet services were suspended. Many opposition leaders were put under house arrest. But the biggest jolt came to the state's economy.

Till 2019, we had a thriving flow of tourists. So many people were employed in the tourism industry that included hotels, boat houses, shikaras, tour operators, guides, transport services, etc. Many other industries were indirectly dependent on tourists, like- dry fruits, handicrafts, etc. All the people associated with these sectors are rendered jobless. I had to downsize my hotel's employees by 95%. What do we answer to their families?
Zulfikar Ali, Hotel Manager & Tour Operator

Brunt Of COVID

For months after the abrogation, tourism had hit the ground. Just when the tourists had started to flock in the valley, the pandemic had hit, bringing everything to a halt, once again.

Transport business have completely shattered down. We hardly earn Rs 250 a day. How do I run my family with so little? I am trapped in debt and now I am forced to put my children into work. Diesel prices are already touching the sky. Many of the drivers have become labourers.
Nazir Ahmad, Bus Driver
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Business owners are caught with uncertainty about future. "We are in great confusion whether we should purchase raw materials or not. We don't know what will be the situation tomorrow," said a businesswoman.

Curtailment Of Free Speech

Amid the trembling economy, Kashmiris are also fearful of being jailed upon raising their concerns. "We don't have people's rule here. Still, we are under governor-rule. Nobody listens to our viewpoints and problems.

After the introduction of the new media policy in 2020, entire media industry has taken a hit. Journalists can't write truth because the government has the authority to pick anyone, anytime and put them into jail. Many news organisations are shut down since the abrogation.
Sajad Gul, Journalist

Youth Suffering Mental Trauma

Students have been locked up in the houses for two years now which is causing mental health problems. "A US bases journal recently reported that about 45% of youth in Kashmir are going through mental distress and this is not happening anywhere else. It is because of the boredom and curtailments put on students," said Basit Jamal, a PG student.

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