Kash­mir: Noth­ing has changed for bet­ter. It’s bad to worse

Pakistan Observer - - KASHMIR -

ABINOO JOSHI LL com­bined – 10 months from March to De­cem­ber 2015 and April to June 2016 – the PDP-BJP gov­ern­ment has com­pleted one year in of­fice. The gov­ern­ments are run in con­ti­nu­ity, but the In­dian sys­tem and with a par­tic­u­lar ref­er­ence to Jammu and Kash­mir, the breaks have be­come quite com­mon. This state has the du­bi­ous dis­tinc­tion of hav­ing been un­der the Cen­tral rule for nearly seven years. Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi had promised to make Jammu and Kash­mir as the model state of the coun­try. Where is that good news? There is noth­ing to make the com­mon man feel in any of the three ma­jor re­gions, Ladakh, the Val­ley and Jammu that his life has changed for any bet­ter. The re­verse of this may be true in many cases, the kind of high prices of es­sen­tial com­modi­ties un­der which the lower-mid­dle class is reel­ing. It is of­ten called com­mon man’s cyn­i­cism when he rebels and gives a vent to his frus­tra­tion by point­ing out the way the elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives live. Their life­style ir­ri­tates them. A Jam­muite trou­bled by swel­ter­ing heat with fre­quent power out­ages de­mands to know, where are his elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives, only to be told to watch so­cial me­dia where the ex­tended fam­i­lies of min­is­ters and oth­ers are seen en­joy­ing in the salu­bri­ous en­vi­rons of Gul­marg, Pa­hal­gam. No one should grudge the life­style of th­ese VIPs, but what good news have they de­liv­ered to com­mon man ?

Kash­mir Val­ley has its own grouse. The ra­tion is miss­ing from the ra­tion de­pots. The cor­rup­tion in the Con­sumer and Pub­lic Dis­tri­bu­tion depart­ment has as­sumed as­tro­nom­i­cal pro­por­tions. Those who preach hon­esty and in­tegrity in the depart­ment have also many things to hide. Their con­duct ever since this gov­ern­ment came into be­ing is not above board. The hun­gry stom­achs are not con­cerned whether there is a Na­tional Food Se­cu­rity Act or any other law, they want food. The gov­ern­ments in wel­fare state are sup­posed to feed them and not reel out the sta­tis­tics and prom­ises, which the min­is­ter con­cerned, in par­tic­u­lar, and the gov­ern­ment in gen­eral, know can­not be hon­oured. This is worst kind of hu­mil­i­a­tion in­flicted on the poor. This prob­lem has plagued the whole of the state and there seems to be no end in sight.

Well, the com­mon man is sup­posed to know that the state doesn’t grow as much food as it needs to feed it­self. It is a grim re­al­ity. Over the decades, we have blamed the In­dus Wa­ter Treaty for the loss of wa­ters of our rivers, but within the clauses of the IWT, did we try to use our wa­ter re­sources to in­crease agri­cul­ture pro­duc­tion. Trag­i­cally, the an­swer is neg­a­tive. When it came to bring­ing a law to halt con­ver­sion of the agri­cul­tural land for non-agri­cul­tural pur­poses, land mafia stalled the move. Our pri­or­i­ties are wrong. We are sus­cep­ti­ble to pres­sures. Money changes hand quite reg­u­larly. We make loud noises about our iden­tity, but we are the ones who have al­lowed threats to this iden­tity by be­ing a pres­sure-vul­ner­a­ble state.

Post 2014 elec­tion re­sults had up­set all the cal­cu­la­tions. The par­ties were looking at one an­other to work out per­mu­ta­tion and com­bi­na­tion. To say that only one or two par­ties and their lead­ers had the am­bi­tions to get into power. Wrong. All the lead­ers of all the par­ties, big or small, na­tional or re­gional were try­ing to ful­fill their am­bi­tions. The PDP-BJP com­bi­na­tion was con­sid­ered best, given the man­date that the two par­ties had got from two ma­jor re­gions- Kash­mir and Jammu. For BJP, it was a dream come true. Get­ting into power was a his­toric mile­stone for the BJP, which had never be­fore tasted power in this state. The peo­ple wel­comed it, some whole-heart­edly be­cause they had voted for it – Jammu is re­spon­si­ble for it, oth­ers ex­pected a mir­a­cle, de­spite hav­ing se­ri­ous reser­va­tions over the North-Pole, South Pole com­ing to­gether. All hopes are dashed, to say the least.

For the peo­ple of this state no hope is vis­it­ing them – the peo­ple are for­lorn. Those who had promised to re­gain par­adise for the peo­ple are not to be seen around. —Cour­tesy: GK

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