In the world of tourism, Kashmir has its own identity. Apart from Mauritius, Kashmir is also known as paradise on earth. One statement that is used to celebrate the beauty of both places is: “First Kashmir/Mauritius was made then paradise was copied from it.” So today, the destiny of one paradise has changed and its consequences on other parts of world including Mauritius or Indians residing in Mauritius and OCI card holders of Mauritius cannot be denied.
The Opposition Indian Home Minister, Amit Shah, amidst massive uproar, announced that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has decided to scrap Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, which grants ‘special status’ to the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Government also decided to split the State into two Union Territories - the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir which will have a legislature and second, the Union Territory of Ladakh, which will be without a legislature.
This move came amid massive security build-up and aborting the yearly famous Amarnath Pligrimage where thousands of Hindus from around the world gathered in Kashmir to participate. Phone and internet services were suspended on Monday and state leaders and former Chief Ministers like Mehbooba Mufti, Omar Abdullah and Sajjad Lone were placed under house arrest.
I talked to some Indians residing in Mauritius and asked how they feel on the whole issue and how it is going to affect them. As for the Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card holders, they are allowed to buy land in India and invest. This move of the Indian government will definitely open some new doors for them.
Venika Saini Arora, Housewife
I belong to Jammu and Kashmir and I am very happy with this decision. Scrapping Article 370 and 35 A would in no way harm my culture or my identity. It is a great step towards equality among all State and Union Territories of India. Somewhere down the line, there will be multinational companies here and we won’t have to go out looking for jobs. Parting from your soil where you have so many memories and migrating to a new place do take a lot of courage. Though, we have been forced by the circumstances to do so. Those who feel otherwise are mistaken and do not see the bigger picture here. Now, we can think about going to our place and see a bright future for our kids.
Rahul Chawla, businessman
Indians living abroad will, of course, be affected as Non-Resident Indians would now be able to invest directly in Kashmir valley. It’s a beautiful place with a lot of scope for investment in the Tourism sector. Moreover, NRIs who want to visit Kashmir as a tourist will go there, as it will be more safe eventually.
This is not an issue of Hindu-Muslim divide, as so many people believe it to be. However, it is more of India’s sovereign rights over the State of Jammu and Kashmir. It was a historic mistake by the then government of India, may be under pressure or otherwise. India is one and should be one without a different class of state. Because of Article 370, Indians cannot exercise the right of being Indians in Kashmir but at the same time, Kashmiris can exercise and enjoy all rights and benefits of being Indian.
However, it will have no major impact on Indians living abroad. It will take far longer for tourism and business from other parts of India to grow. Initially, there will be a huge negative impact which is understandable. Although technically, the whole of India is rejoicing in this historic decision, however, what matters is the people of Kashmir (in and out of Kashmir). They need to either take it holistically in their best interest or keep shedding blood in the name of anti-India tirade.
However, like any change in people’s lives, there will be resistance and denial, entailing a lot of tough decisions and situations to deal with. But I am sure the Indian government is gearing up to deal with it.
Rahul Madhukar Ranade, singer
In my opinion, it’s too much of a positive change. The coming impact on Indians in other countries need to be discussed.
Dr. Kumar Swetang, Dentist,Vacoas
The scrapping of Article 370 was a must; it was implemented as a temporary arrangement for a short period but the Congress used it as a vote bank. I think it should have been removed since long. Now it’s one nation, one flag. That’s how it is going to affect Indians both abroad and inland.
Renu Ojha, journalist
People are celebrating this historic move and are happy to finally have the dream of ‘One Nation’ come true. Tourism will definitely get a boost but that will be at a later stage. The fear of visiting Kashmir will eventually be eradicated once the final action comes in play.
For the majority of Mauritians who were eager to visit the valley but due to terror threats didn’t dare, it will become a reality. Plus, for those whose movements in India are just limited to Mumbai, they can now have a chance to explore the true beauty of the other side of India, which many have seen only in movies. As far as business and trade are concerned, those aspiring to explore will definitely see a much more positive, welcoming and immense opportunity. Traders and businessmen are advised to stay tuned to the latest developments and strike when the doors open completely and safely once and for all. So it’s celebration time for all Indians. Kashmiri pundits applaud this move and are hoping that one day, they can go back to their homes.
Dolly Sirohi, Teacher
My opinion about scrapping Article 370 is not about politics. For any nation to develop, it should have equal rights. Without Article 370, there could be lots of changes in terms of Right To Information Act (RTI), which was not applicable before. Moreover, more industrial development, education and tourism sectors can flourish and this will help in catering for lots of job opportunities for locals, too. When people will have education and jobs, they will not get diverted to other things, such as terrorist activities in the valley, because the power of education makes a difference in one’s life. Indians living abroad can also invest there and give jobs to locals.
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