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