A displaced Kashmiri Pandit, now settled in Maharashtra after fleeing the valley decades ago, on Monday said he was overjoyed with the Modi government's decision to revoke Article 370.
This development is akin to light at the end of the tunnel and it took 70 long years to scrap Article 370, which gave a special status to the northern state, he said here.
The government on Monday revoked Article 370 and proposed the state be bifurcated into two union territories, Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
"This day has come after 70 long years. Years of torture, denial of services and facilities, unsafe life, limb and habitation and denial of access to education, jobs and businesses in Kashmir to those like us," he said.
He was among the Kashmiri Pandits displaced from Kashmir in 1990s after the rise of militancy there.
"There was total negation of freedom and civil rights. All these years, governments of various shades turned their blind eye to persecution of minorities. As a result, local thugs got encouraged and perpetrated atrocities," he said.
"The same thugs are today shouting out loud and asking for their rights. They denied others the same when they had the power. If the government now uses a kid gloves approach, we will certainly lose this momentum," he said.
The Pandits were at the receiving end when Pakistan won a hockey match or India lost a cricket match, he said.
"When Pakistan won a hockey against India, our houses in the central part of Srinagar would be shelled with stones. It was the same treatment for cricket matches. When India lost to New Zealand recently, there were celebrations there," he said.
"Our fear is that having taken the first firm step, the government should not backtrack or become soft. There will be international repercussions but we will together overcome those, like in the 1971 war, when we were resolute," he said.
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