New Delhi: The abrogation of special status of Jammu and Kashmir has spawned a flurry of jokes and memes linked to Article 370 on the social media, with some bordering on being insensitive.
From Facebook and WhatsApp to Twitter and Instagram, many netizens have in the past few days shared posters or memes themed on revoking of the provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution that among other restrictions, disallowed non-Kashmiris from having land rights in the Valley.
Many social media users have said that their feeds on Facebook and Twitter are showing jokes on Article 370 and "making light of an otherwise sensitive and serious issue".
A poster of a fictional developer in Kashmir, doing rounds on Facebook, reads: 'Plots and plots -- build your house with cheap installments, pay Rs 11,000 and get possession of your land, in Anantnag, Pulwama and Baramullah'.
Another user on Facebook, shared a post in Hindi, "Someone please find the rate of land near Kashmir, rates in Kashmir must be high." On WhatsApp, memes were being widely circulated, about how "Chhath will now be celebrated in Dal Lake" with big fonts placed on the image of the lake.
But, many other social media jokes and memes have not been taken in good taste by netizes, like the one telling people that "now, way had been cleared for non-Kashmirs to marry fair Kashmiri girls".
Many people, both from Jammu and Kashmir and other parts of the country, have expressed strong objection to use of such "insensitive jokes" given the severity of the issue.
"People are cracking jokes and sharing memes on social media, and circulating it on WhatsApp, as if it is a laughing matter. For us Kashmiris, who have not even been involved in the decision-making, we are being made the butt of these jokes. Some of the posts and memes, especially on Kashmiri women, are in poor taste and highly insensitive," said a Delhi-based Kashmiri journalist, who did not wish to be identified.
From students to professionals, belonging to both Jammu and Kashmir regions, many have expressed apprehension that taking away the special status will render the "ecologically sensitive" province "vulnerable" to exploitation due to infrastructure-related activities.
"Those 'own a plot now in Kashmir' joke is like playing with our sentiments... Yes, some Kashmiri residents are doing illegal construction too in ecologically sensitive zones, but that should be checked, instead of making it an open season for everyone," said a Kashimri student, studying at a university here.
A BJP lawmaker had reportedly urged the youths of Uttar Pradesh to "marry the fair girls of Kashmir" and expressed a desire to settle down in Kashmir where "everything is so beautiful". The alleged comments had drawn sharp criticism from people on the social media.
A Facebook user, in response to a make-believe real estate poster, said, "Please get it booked for me to. Route cleared for getting a bride. A wave of excitement among unmarried youths." On Twitter, many jokes and memes were shared, at times, using religious overtone.
"After Art 370 & 35A abolished- What do you think would be rate of a 200 square yard plot in decent colony of Kashmir, which ANY INDIAN CAN BUY?" user @Ish_Bhandari tweeted.
Another user, @Shree4Bharath, replied, "But you get Rs.786/- as special discount, if you are a Hindu." Twitter user @sweep_deep, however, did not appreciate such content being spread on the social media,
"Hate content, rescinding of art 370, 35 proliferating in WhatsApp messages. What are these loonies aiming for - Only polarisation of Hindu votes or the more sinister plot -land grab of Kashmir minus its people?"
Ajaz Ahmed, a Delhi-based physiotherapist who is in his 30s, alleged, "They only want the land of Kashmir, they do not want to win the hearts of Kashmiris."