On August 5 the Central Government revoked the special status given to the state of Jammu and Kashmir by revoking Article 370, and with it, Article 35A. Since then, the state administration led by Governor Satya Pal Malik has been consistently claiming that the situation is peaceful, things are returning to normal and everything is under control.
Now, in a full, front-page ad in the Greater Kashmir newspaper the government has unknowingly revealed the state of affairs in the Valley. The top of the advert pushes the reader to think that, if the shops are closed and there is no public transport, who benefits? It then goes on to ask the question, Are we going to succumb to the militants? Just by reading the top section, one gets a feeling that when the government speaks to the locals through the newspaper it is keeping in mind the reality on the ground.
Further, the ad says that for 70 years the people of J&K have been misled and they have been victims of ‘vicious campaign’ and ‘motivated propaganda’ that had trapped them in an endless cycle of terrorism, violence, destruction and poverty.
Blaming separatists, the advertisement mentions that they have sent their children to exotic lands to study, work and earn while pushing the common people’s children into the realm of violence, stone pelting and hartals. It proclaims that separatists have used threats and coercion to have their way all this time, and now, militants are using the same tricks once again. Following this, the ad asks the question – are we going to tolerate this?
It must be noted here that most of the separatist leaders have either been jailed or put under house arrest following the abrogation of special status to the state.
Then comes a line which again forces the reader to think stating that ‘we are at a crossroads today’ and then tells the reader to ponder upon which decision is best for them. It then moves ahead to reveal the problems plaguing the valley as it mentions that a few posters and threats should not stop us from resuming our businesses, earning legitimate livelihoods, securing rightful education and impeding development.
The ad ends with the line that ‘This is our home. It is for us to think of its well-being and prosperity. Why fear?’
According to Scroll.in, these ads were circulated in ten newspapers across Jammu and Kashmir on October 11. The portal quotes an official from the government’s Department of Information and Public Relations, who says that these ads cost the government Rs 50,000. It is not the first time the state government has resorted to such a measure. Last month too, the government had published ads informing the readers about the benefit of scrapping special provisions to the state.