It will be an anniversary that, in all probability, will leave us as divided as ever. Kashmir, for that matter, has always been a contested issue and has remained so in the past year, ushered in by what could possibly be described as a ‘surgical strike’ by the Union government. Executed with stealth that took everyone by surprise, Jammu and Kashmir was stripped on August 5 last year of its special privileges. Article 370 (and Article 35A), which granted certain special privileges to the region, was revoked and the state too was somewhat downgraded, split into the two Union territories of J&K and Ladakh.
Like everything else that involved Kashmir, these measures left the country divided. Many celebrated as they were convinced by the government’s narrative of a ‘historical blunder’ being corrected some seven decades after independence. The steps, we were told, would result in better integration of the region with the rest of the country and would also hasten its development. Those who didn’t buy the government’s argument cried foul—ranging from murder of democratic opinion of Kashmiris to a sinister plot to change Muslim-majority Kashmir’s demography.