Last few days have sent the speculative markets on an overdrive in Jammu and Kashmir. The suspense over the prevailing situation in the state has left everyone apprehensive. No one seems to have a clue about the government’s next move. The rumour mongering is at its peak and people believe the present scenario clearly hints at some concrete steps and bold decisions coming their way.

In the last few days, the state has witnessed tensions across various quarters. First, the deployment of 10,000 para troops and then additional 25,000 troopers within a week were seen as a red flag by the leaders. Then the suspension of the ongoing Amarnath Yatra, and subsequently Machail Yatra (in Kishwar district of Jammu province) provided enough fodder for the fear mongers. Government of India’s (GoI) decision to halt the yatra was seen as a measure to set the precedence of a new dawn in the history of J&K.

While this move was questioned, we believe the GoI was never this serious about the safety of its citizens. Evacuation of the yatris proved GoI’s seriousness about dealing with the security issues. It also send the signals loud and clear that the government would not succumb to political gimmicks. Instead, it would do everything in its capacity to hold on to its commitment made to the people of India.

Coming back to the point, last night the whole country waited with bated breath as it kept a close eye on the events that unfolded one after the other. First leaders including former CMs Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah were put under house arrest. Then Sajjad Lone met the same fate. Second, the internet was clamped down in Kashmir region. While some argue against it, we believe it was done to prevent these leaders from fuelling the locals against the state by spreading volatile messages.

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I was compelled to speak to my father late night to take stock of the situation in Jammu. While he was concerned he sounded happy about the latest developments.

Just as while I was on a call with him, the news about Governor SP Malik’s late night meeting with the DGP and IG triggered further assumptions. Early morning, received a call from him wherein he informed me that section 144 has been placed in Jammu, there is a complete shut down and barbed wires have been installed across sensitive pockets in the city.

After the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) and the Cabinet meeting, all eyes are on Home Minister Amit Shah who is set to make a startling announcement in Rajya Sabha at 11 am and in Lok Sabha at 12 noon.

Interestingly, no one has a whiff about what’s going one, yet the feelers are that a decisive announcement to reshape the destiny of J&K for good awaits.

Could it be Article 35A, Article 370, delimitation or trifurcation of the state (making Kashmir and Ladakh as UT)?

People who have given massive electoral mandate to Prime Minister Narendra Modi expect an announcement that will bridge the gap between the strife torn Kashmir and will pave its full integration with the county.

The draconian article 35A is a curse on women, depriving them of their rights in the state. While Article 370 (a temporary provision) granting special status to J&K discriminates with the rights of the Indians to lead a free life and bars them from buying properties in the state.

If Kashmir is made a UT, then there will be a massive shift in the power centres that will demolish the authority of the local politicians over the fears of the unsuspecting people. For too long the separatists and local politicians have played with the sentiments of the people and a paradigm shift in the same surely is a threat to their existence and survival.

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The countdown to the most awaited event of India with respect to J&K’s destiny awaits us. Let us keep our fingers crossed and wait for the curtain to fall on the suspense!

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Saksshi Mattoo