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The Wait for Kashmir's Statehood: How Long Before Memories Fade?

The Supreme Court's decision has closed the chapter of Article 370. However, it outlined a timeline for the reinstatement of democracy and the restoration of statehood in Jammu and Kashmir.

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Kashmiri Hindu migrants shout slogans against Jammu and Kashmir government during a protest in 1990.
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On December 11, the Supreme Court delivered its verdict on Article 370, upholding its abrogation. Following the ruling, Kashmir appeared outwardly calm, with regular traffic and open shops, yet an atmosphere of silence prevailed. Most petitioners, primarily mainstream political parties, reacted with shock, leading to a noticeable decline in political activities since then. Leaders like Omar Abdullah have taken brief respites. While the BJP celebrated the verdict, other political parties are reliant on the central government to reinstate Jammu and Kashmir's statehood and conduct elections in the region, following the directions of the Supreme Court. In the cold desert of Ladakh, political parties welcomed the Apex Court verdict but insisted on the region's elevation to a separate state rather than remaining a union territory.

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In a separate judgment, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul talked about the human aspect of Kashmir and the migration of Kashmiri Pandits. He referred to the troubled situation at the ground level, which resulted in the migration of pandits in the 1990s.

“During my travels home over the years, I have observed the social fabric waning and the consequences of intergenerational trauma on an already fractured society.” To progress, he argued, “the wounds need healing” before memory fades. While advocating for the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Justice Kaul also argued that the first step is to achieve a collective understanding of the human rights violations perpetrated by State and non-state actors against the people of the region.

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The Supreme Court's decision has closed the chapter of Article 370. However, it outlined a timeline for the reinstatement of democracy and the restoration of statehood in Jammu and Kashmir. The question is how long this will take and whether the process to address the people's wounds before memories fade will commence in 2024 remains uncertain. In this issue, we have explored the political and legal facets of the abrogation of Article 370 and its long-term implications. In this issue, we have talked about memory and the silence that has engulfed Kashmir following the abrogation of Article 370.
 

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