A Member of European Parliament (MEP), who visited Kashmir last year, said that revocation of Article 370, under which Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) enjoyed a special status, has empowered Kashmiris in multiple ways and has initiated a process of “healing and homecoming”.
Maxette Pirbakas, sharing her experience about closely witnessing and monitoring Kashmir since after August 5, 2019, said, “It (revocation of Article 370) has lifted the artificial barrier that has dwelled in the minds of two generations of Kashmiris on the absence of their links to India and initiated a process of healing and homecoming.”
Maxette was among a group of Members of European Parliament who visited Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 and interacted with the local people.
“The precious hours which I spent in Kashmir observing the people and its surroundings were a revelation. A revelation of the natural beauty of the place; a revelation of how welcoming and king Kashmiris were; a revelation of how bruised and disoriented Kashmiris were due to years of conflict and uncertainty about their future; and finally, a revelation of Kashmir was in the throes of experiencing a historic process of emotionally, and not just constitutionally, re-connecting and re-unifying with its roots,” she said.
“In all the din of decades of violence, Kashmiris have been dismembered from their deep civilizational roots that connected them to India,” she added.
Maxette, who has her roots in India, said she could sense a transformation in Kashmir since the abrogation of Article 370.
“It is heartening to know that before the world went into COVID-19 related lockdowns in March this year, life had returned to normal in the Valley,” she said.
“I represent the overseas French territories in the Caribbean in the European Parliament. Like Kashmir, this region’s economy largely depends on tourism, agro-industry, animal husbandry/fisheries etc. Therefore, I noticed the massive potential that Kashmir holds not only as a tourist destination but also as an exporter of agro products, pashmina, carpets and handicrafts to the European Union,” said the MEP.
“I am certain that now with the complete amalgamation of Kashmir’s economy with that of India, traditional Kashmiri industrial will benefit due to larger market access for their products and greater opportunities to attract private investments,” she added.
The Member of the European Parliament said, “As Kashmir re-integrates politically, socially and economically with India, I am confident that Kashmiris will triumph and emerge stronger. The gates have opened for Kashmir to reclaim its roots and its place in the vibrant milieu of India.”