If it’s ‘New India’ under visionary Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it is also ‘Naya Jammu and Kashmir’ in the northern province now under the Union Territory administration.
Independence Day and Republic Day used to be tense in Jammu & Kashmir, marred by Bandhs and Violence, but this time around, the story was sweet — No shutdown and no threats.
In other words, analysts say the people of J&K have won, and Pakistan and their alleged collaborators have lost the proxy war.
Hence, amid no shutdown and intimidation, the massive participation of locals marked the Republic Day celebrations in Jammu and Kashmir. Thus the mood of the nationalists is upbeat.
Officials and several citizens took to social media and rejoiced that the prophets of doom had failed. Leaders like former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti of PDP had claimed that no one would be left in Kashmir to hold the Tricolour.
The ultimate story is different. The anti-India elements were either on the run, or others had to ‘eat a humble pie’. The Modi Government’s August 5, 2019, decision to scrap Article 370 and bifurcate the erstwhile state has proven to be a game changer.
“It has created the ground for the ordinary people of Jammu and Kashmir to join and participate in the journey of peace and development. During the past three years, people have hoisted the Tricolour in every nook and corner of Jammu and Kashmir, and the celebration mood looked genuine, “a source remarked.
On Republic Day eve, former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti reminded the people of Kashmir that they used to observe a shutdown on January 26 till 2019. She alleged that the Government was ordering shopkeepers to keep their shops open or face consequences.
“One of many abnormal and coercive steps to project normalcy,” she had tweeted, but the people ignored the negative gestures.
Locals appreciate that youths are positively utilising their energies, and stone-pelting incidents have become history. Separatists have closed their ‘Azadi’ shops.
Tableau of J&K on Kartavya Path on the Republic Day was based on the theme of “Naya Jammu and Kashmir”.
For the first time in history since 1947, J&K has received 1.62 crore tourists boosting the economy.
These also prove that the separatists had forced them into submission, and the nationalist people in Jammu and Kashmir were not allowed to express their feelings and experienced something new in the last two-three years.
The Union Territory has witnessed unprecedented development.
Media reports say a purported telephonic conversation between a Kashmiri man and
Pakistani took an ugly turn when the man from Jammu and Kashmir, believed to be in the Middle East, questioned the Pakistani man.
In fact, since the abrogation of Article 370, the newly carved-out Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is fast emerging as an industrial hub.
Officials say one basic point appreciated primarily is that Jammu and Kashmir have an adequate skilled workforce.
It has as many as 136 ITIs and Polytechnic colleges imparting technical skills. Jammu as a township holds the unique distinction of being the only Indian city where one has AIIMS, IIM and an IIT.
There are 12 universities and 208 colleges catering to the education/training/learning needs of as many as 13 lakh students.
In terms of connectivity, despite decades of terrorism-related issues, J&K has some unprecedented advantages.
International Air Cargo facility is available at Srinagar, Two Commercial airports operating 100 flights daily, nine new airports are now being proposed under the UDAN scheme, and night flights have started from Jammu.
Sources say declining statistics of terror activities and related matters could be one major issue, but the more significant achievement is a perceptible change in the overall perception.
“Earlier parents used to feel proud if their ward/children joined terrorism/militancy. Now they say their ward is not a terrorist. They also appeal to the children to come out if they joined any terror outfit,” says a source.