Article 370 abrogation impact: Decline in stone-pelting incidents, strikes in Kashmir

After the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, people of the valley have reported a significant drop in the incidents of stone pelting and militancy, saying the youth is now more focused on their studies.
“The youth here has become prudent. The game that few people played with the youth of Kashmir has stopped. They know it very well that they will get nothing from militancy. Today’s youth is focused on their studies. All the protests and stone-pelting incidents that we used to see every day no longer takes place,” says Mohammed Yousuf.
Stone pelting, as the name suggests, refers to assault by throwing stones, by a section of Kashmiri youth on security forces, deployed for crowd control. There were 2,653 incidents of stone-throwing in 2016. A probe by the National Investigating Agency in 2017 revealed that Pakistan routed money into the Kashmir Valley to be paid to stone-pelters.
Young men were paid Rs 500 each for throwing stones on Army and other defense forces.
“As Pakistan has failed four times in direct wars, so they are investing in such means, whether its hawala money or fake money through these leaders who claim to be the representatives of Kashmiris. But in actual they are traitors using Kashmiri people. The young boys are given Rs 500 to pelt stones,” said Nirmal Singh, the then deputy chief minister of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir in 2017.
However, now that seems to be a thing of the past.
“After August 5 last year, Kashmir has starting treading towards a new path. Kashmir which was affected by terrorism, will now emerge as a model in the near future. In the past, protest calendars were distributed among the locals for organizing strikes. Now, they know that there is transparency in the system and accountability. It is among the big positive changes in the region,” explains Altaf Thakur, a Sarpanch from Pulwama.
In October 2018, an army soldier was killed after sustaining head injuries during stone-pelting in Anantnag. Hundreds of army men and civilians were injured as stone-throwing went violent over the years. However, priorities are changing now- its tools over stones.
“Since I was born, I have been witnessing protests and strikes. There was no strike call after the abrogation of Article 370. We have witnessed no incidents of stone-pelting. The change is in front of us. Now everybody is living in peace. Now people are placing other demands for development and industries. Now the people of Jammu and Kashmir want the investment in the region,” says Tariq Bhat, a local journalist.
From August 2019 when Article 370 was abrogated, till January 2020, stone-pelting incidents in Kashmir came down by 40 to 45 per cent, the Central government had stated.