Overseas Kashmiri group hails abrogation of Article 370

New Delhi: A leading overseas Kashmiri organisation has welcomed the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A while warning against misinformation and fear being spread by some quarters on the issue.

“Articles 370 and 35A were highly discriminatory against all indigenous Kashmiri minorities – Sufi Muslims, Shia Muslims, Ahmadi Muslims, Dalits, Gujjars, Kashmiri Pandits, Kashmiri Sikhs, and Buddhists,” the Kashmiri Overseas Association (KOA) said in a release.

The KOA said these articles stripped minorities from attaining educational and scholarship opportunities and deprived them of equal opportunities in business and employment and were also extremely regressive for Kashmiri women.

“Article 370 and 35A allowed a breeding ground for armed violence in Kashmir,” it said adding that “the campaign of intimidation and harassment had been ongoing in the valley for decades with the growing influence of the strait-laced interpretation of Islam, propagated through ‘Wahhabism’ and Pakistan was able to capitalise on this by financing, arming and training militant groups across the border.”

Over 500,000 Hindus and Sikhs were ethnically cleansed out of their homes with a purpose to create a minority-free Kashmir valley, it said. Yet, because of Article 370, the government remained a silent spectator in the 1980s.

“Removal of these articles will help curtail terrorism in the valley. We believe that to curtail the foreseen unrest and retaliation by militant groups, temporary proactive measures of added security, restrictions, and internet regulation, placed by the government of India, are crucial to curb terrorism and prevent the loss of civilian lives,” it said.