New Delhi: Times Square in New York remembered the controversial abrogation of Article 370 that took away the special status of an erstwhile state on August 5 last year. But here in India, the saffron was taken from Kashmir to Ayodhya to mark the celebrations of the Bhoomi Pujan, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of the historic Ram Mandir. Also Read - Indian Army Says Its Troops 'Exceeded' Powers Under AFSPA in Shopian Encounter, Initiates Disciplinary Proceedings

“A long wait ends today,” the Prime Minister said addressing a fervourous gathering in Ayodhya that raised decibels of ‘Jai Shree Ram’. Also Read - Pulwama-like Attack Averted After Army Recovers 52 kg Worth Explosives in Jammu and Kashmir

The temple trust distributed laddoos as prasad to all the invitees, along with kesar from Pulwama in Kashmir, ghee from Bengaluru, gram flour from Australia and dry fruits from Kerala, and a silver coin each with Ram Darbaar embossed on it. Also Read - Kashmir: 3 Terrorists killed in Encounter With Security Forces in Batamaloo

As the “new era” of Hinduism begins with the mighty structure, a proposed 161 feet tall temple at the birthplace of Lord Ram, streets of Jammu and Kashmir wore a deserted look amid the coronavirus lockdown in addition to the pre-existent curfew that began at midnight on August 5, 2019.

One year after one of the strictest lockdown and longest internet ban seen in Indian history, Pakistan laid claims on Jammu and Kashmir calling it India’s ‘Illegally Occupied’ region. This infuriated many across the country but not enough to shift the attention from the glamourous Ayodhya ceremony to the ground situation of the newly-formed union territory.

Section 144 was imposed in Srinagar on August 4 and 5 by the Jammu and Kashmir administration, who feared that separatists were planning to observe today as “Black Day”. The curfew was lifted but security troops thronged the streets, as Kashmiris wondered what a normal day looked like.

Local politicians stayed indoors as government authorities maintained a tight lid on any chances of a rebellious move.

One year after Article 370 and Article 35A of the Indian Constitution was scrapped, social media platforms stood in solidarity with Kashmir, but more in euphoria over the grand Ram Mandir.

One year after the constitutional order bifurcated the erstwhile state into union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, a former chief minister remained in detention, while others in hope of “normalcy”.

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