Wa­ter short­age sparks Mend­har protest

Pakistan Observer - - KASHMIR -

MEHNDER, IHK—In­hab­i­tants of Harni vil­lage in Mend­har to­day staged a protest demon­stra­tion against drink­ing wa­ter cri­sis in the area.

A num­ber of vil­lagers as­sem­bled on the main road and blocked it for ve­hic­u­lar traf­fic amid slo­gans against the PHE de­part­ment. The pro­tes­tors claimed that for last three days wa­ter sup­ply has been off in the area “which has left us in a lurch”.

“The tem­per­a­ture is soar­ing with each pass­ing day and peo­ple are left to the mercy of God in ab­sence of wa­ter for drink­ing and other pur­poses”, a pro­tes­tor said.

After an hour-and-a-half long protest, SHO Gur­sain reached the spot and paci­fied the lo­cals. He as­sured them that wa­ter sup­ply will be re­stored by to­day evening, after which the protest was called off.—GK added that every­thing would be known in the next few days Dr. Singh did as­sure though that ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion would be taken with re­gard to the Sainik Colonies and the re­set­tle­ment of Kash­miri Pan­dits. Does it re­ally mat­ter if in­for­mally it was de­cided that the civil­ian lands cur­rently with the Army, say, in places like Bara­mulla, for in­stance, are made over for Sainik colonies or used for re­set­tling Kash­miri Pan­dits.

What are bits of land worth? Noth­ing at all, be­tween friends like the Cen­tre and the State! Only snag is that the State Govern­ment and its PDP com­po­nent headed by Me­hbooba Mufti may not be as en­thu­si­as­tic about such pro­pos­als as the BJP. After all, only two days after that, Mr. Ram Mad­hav, the BJP’s in­ter­locu­tor in Jammu and Kash­mir, was wax­ing elo­quent on the TV chan­nels about how the party had won the elec­tions from Kash­mir to As­sam, care­fully adding that his party did not ac­cept the State’s spe­cial sta­tus and Ar­ti­cle 370 but had opted to put it on the back­burner for the present. Did he say that with a smile or was it a snig­ger? I couldn’t read. What he did say that was when the BJP forms its own govern­ment in the State the re­ten­tion of the Ar­ti­cle will be re­con­sid­ered.

So, as the val­ley braces up to counter or con­tain its cur­rent anger one thing seems cer­tain: the State govern­ment will need tons of pa­tience to ne­go­ti­ate the path ahead. I have heard of the ex­is­tence of a spe­cial bond be­tween the State Chief Min­is­ter and Mr Modi but am con­vinced that such bonds be­tween politi­cians sub­scrib­ing to two dif­fer­ent po­lit­i­cal ori­en­ta­tions are no guar­an­tee of a sta­ble re­la­tion­ship. That the BJP’s and the PDP’s is es­sen­tially an al­liance of con­ve­nience is clear as day light.

And in its present all-con­quer­ing mood it is more likely that its men in the State, Jammu in par­tic­u­lar, will be tempted to keep test­ing the wa­ters ever so fre­quently, send­ing out teaser trail­ers and float­ing trial bal­loons, if only in the hope of tir­ing out the PDP and the val­ley. Ms Me­hbooba will need tons of pa­tience and a lot more deftness in meet­ing the chal­lenge not only of her lo­cal po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents but ,im­por­tantly, the chal­lenges thrown to her covertly by her own part­ner in Govern­ment, the BJP, to wit. —Cour­tesy: GK

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