Epilogue because there is more to know
Editor in Chief Zafar Choudhary Consulting Editor D. Suba Chandran Associate Editor Irm Amin Baig Designs & Layout Keshav Sharma
Mailing Address PO Box 50, HO Gandhi Nagar, Jammu
WHAT HAPPENED TO
COMMON MINIMUM PROGRAMME
Edited, Printed & Published by Zafar Choudhary for CMRD Publications and Communications Published from ‘Ibadat’, Madrasa Lane, Bhatindi Top, Jammu, J&K
Hear & Hear Who Said What
News Wrap J&K In July
Power Corridor Government & Administration 8
10 36 55
Common Minimum Programme Point-wise Analysis
Business & Economy Debt Trap
’Kashmir Problem Too Enormous To Be Linked With Elections’
Bibliophiles Legends Of Our Times
Stop Press Review of Media
Reports & Region Rajouri-Poonch
Columns Keen Eye Vision From Valley Jest Ponder
Volume 2, Issue 8, August 2008
IN FOCUS Phones & email Office : +91 191 2493136 Editorial: +91 94191 80762 Administration: +91 94190 00123 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Prologue Letters to the editor
Fall Of Coalition Good Riddance, Indeed!
Printed at Dee Dee Reprographix, Jammu Disputes, if any, subject to jurisdiction of courts and competitive tribunals in Jammu only. Price : Rs 15
For more News, Views & Analysis Log on to www.epilogue.in Epilogue Ø 1× August 2008
Epilogue because there is more to know
Jammu & Kashmir
Center For Contemporary Studies The J&K CCS, a non-profit institute, is engaged in research on issues of contemporary importance involving Jammu and kashmir
ANNOUNCEMENT ? For an upcoming project on people of Jammu and Kashmir,
the J&K CCS invites proposals from researchers, scholars, teachers, journalists and other dispassionate observers of life to write brief biographical account of the personalities listed below. It may be noted that the list is not complete and will be continuously updated during life of the project. Interested writers may also suggest names of people who, they believe, have contributed to change in Jammu and Kashmir. The biographical account involving a critical analysis of personality, successes, failures and contributions to various aspects of general life, shaping up thoughts and present positioning in the public space should be in around 2500 to 3000 words. A modest honorarium of Rs. 1000 is being offered for each submission. Any particular author can not write on more than two personalities. Interested authors are requested to list their choice of personality with J&K CCS before starting the assignment so as to avoid many authors writing on same person.
THE PEOPLE Aagha Ashraf Ali • Muhammed Yusuf Taing • Prof Rehman Rahi • Syed Ali Shah Geelani • Syeda Aasiya Andrabi • ZG Muhammad • Khwaja Sonaullah Bhatt • Omar Abdullah • Farooq Abdullah • Mehbooba Mufti • Mufti Mohammad Sayeed • GM Shah • Mirwaiz Omar Farooq • Shabir Ahmed Shah • Mohammad Yasin Malik • Pervez Imroz • Mian Abdul Quyoom • Nighat Shafi Pandit • Prof Hamidi Kashmiri
Contact : J&K CCS ‘Ibadat’ Madrasa Lane, Bathindi Top, Jammu Ph : (O) 0191 2493136 , 94191 80762 email : email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
P R O L O G E FROM THE EDITOR
What Is Happening ?
harpening voices, deepening hatred, widening divides, intriguing politics, aggressive protests and flaring violence –Jammu and Kashmir is today at worst intersection of recent history. Political level dialogue between India and Pakistan is stalled. New Delhi and Srinagar are at a lowest level of communication. Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh are talking to each other in most uncomfortable tones of our times. Forgetting secular ethos, religious groups are out to hurt sentiments of each other. Political leadership is playing a worst game for electoral gains. Reports from rural areas say that the presence of militants is rising like never before. Line of Control is once again brimming with infiltration. Incidents of violence are on phenomenal rise. What is happening to Jammu and Kashmir? Have we lost what all we tried to build up over past eight years? Will it take another eight years to reach a situation which we have seen just eroding? Is there anyone to take charge of situation and ready to answer all these questions? Unfortunately, all this is happening at a time when Jammu and Kashmir is about to face yet another round of assembly elections and an electoral battle at the national level is also being seen at horizons. Looking at the current scenario with some sanity sends shivers down the spine. Jammu and Kashmir is in a state of unrest at a time when parties are gearing up for
elections. Therefore, it is in the interest of political parties to keep this fire raging. For example, the Peoples Democratic Party is consolidating in Kashmir the sentiment against India. And in Jammu, the BJP has no hesitations in first stirring and then cashing in on anti-Muslim and antiKashmir sentiment. What is being sown is a deep divide between regions and communities. One thing is for sure. The peace process –whether between India and Pakistan or between New Delhi and Islamabad – is up for a freeze for at least a year. Now it is over to the next government –at New Delhi and at Srinagar –to resume or not to resume the peace process. We can at least appeal for one thing. That when you are readying up for the elections, please…please don't sell Kashmir solution to the people this time. Just tell them that you want votes for coming to power and that is it. When the Peoples Democratic Party – Congress coalition fell down on July 7, it was not the story of a government's collapse but betrayal of a commitment. These parties in 2002 had given people to understand that they are campaigning for a 'peace election'. There was nothing of the sorts in their acts next five and half years. Our present issue discusses what the coalition had promised and what it delivered. Feedback : Zafarchoudhary@epilogue.in
Epilogue Ø 3× August 2008
Epilogue because there is more to know
EPILOGUE aims at providing a platform where a meaningful exchange of ideas, opinion and thoughts can take place among the people and about the people of Jammu & Kashmir. The attempt is to research, investigate, communicate and disseminate information, ideas and alternatives for the resolution of common problems facing the state and society of Jammu & Kashmir and in the context of their significance to South Asia as a whole. We welcome contributions from academics, journalists, researchers, economists and strategic thinkers. We would also like to encourage first-time writers with the only requirements being a concern for and the desire to understand the prevailing issues and themes of life in Jammu & Kashmir Contributions may be investigative, descriptive, analytical or theoretical. They may be in the form of original articles or in the form of a comment on current events. All contributions have to be neatly typed in double space and may be sent to the address given alongside or e-mailed to the editor. While the editor accepts responsibility for the selection of the material published, individual authors are responsible for the facts, figures and views in their articles.
M A I L
B O X
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Letters Mail your letters to email@example.com
Why Epilogue is balanced While surfing newspapers of Jammu and Kashmir on internet we find the press regionally polarized. Jammu based newspapers project a situation suiting the local regional and dominant religious sentiments while Srinagar bases papers have taken a rather parochial view which talks about nothing but Kashmir and Islam. It is pleasantly surprising that Epilogue has taken a largely balanced view on the shrine land controversy. Is it due to the fact that the magazine is published from Jammu and is edited by a Muslim? (Letter edited, names of newspapers withheld) DR SANJANA RAO Media Professional Bangalore
Thanks from Leh If media is about making sales, Ladakh is certainly not a happening place due to its geographical disadvantages. This region remains cut off from rest of world for six to eight months a year and connection by air is twice a week subject to fair weather. Perhaps this is neither that the press does not care about Ladakh in terms of coverage. This region's name appears in the print only when somebody speaks in Kashmir, Jammu or Delhi. I am happy to note that Epilogue has a special section on Ladakh
and have people stationed here for coverage. The issues touched upon like Education and development are a contribution to our society. We hope that coverage of Ladakh spill over to more pages and reportage goes deep to touch the public pulse. Meanwhile, thanks from Leh. D NAMGYAL Leh
I had the pleasure of going through Epilogue magazine after I got a copy from the Secretary General of the Press Club of India. The construction of stories and page layout has impressed me. The range of issues discussed by the magazine is quite relevant and need wider dissemination. It is, however, sad to not that the magazine is not available in areas of Cooch Behar. Please make arrangements of distribution in North Bengal. RANADHIR GHOSH Cooch Behar West Bengal
Did Sinha know Kashmiriyat? Instead of just carrying an interview with former Governor Sinha (Epilogue, July 2008) you should have done a story on what he did to Jammu and Kashmir before demitting office. He talks loud about Kashmiriyat. What does he know
Epilogue Ă˜ 4Ă— August 2008
about Kashmiriyat except for organizing a Sufi festival every year and visiting Charar-e-Sharief. He made the Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad to dance to his tunes and lead to not only fall of his government but also got him isolated in the Congress party. Azad will have to pay a price for being a party to the Hindutva campaign unleashed by Sinha. In his interviews, after leaving J&K, he has been criticizing Congress and praising Azad. You carried just Sinha's interview when his views were well known. Why your comment was missing? TARIQ GILKAR Nowhatta, Srinagar
Books on J&K Your regular column on book reviews and movie reviews is a wonderful feast. I have a small suggestion. Please consider on priority books on Jammu and Kashmir or from Jammu and Kashmir. Since this magazine has a mission statement of 'Telling J&K Stories', therefore an exclusive reportage on the state will help further build up the claimed character of magazine. There are books in Kashmiri, Hindi, Dogri and Gojri etc. After getting in touch with local publishers you can also have a column on new arrivals. KAVITA SHARMA University of Jammu Jammu
H E A R
A N D
H E A R
WHO SAID WHAT
'Let's do our job well to facilitate smooth process to elections’ N.N Vohra, Governor, Jammu and Kashmir
'Amarnath Land will be Poll issue for BJP'
'Kashmiris will never accept the constitution of India, we have never been citizen of India'
Lal Krishan Advani, Senior leader, BJP Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Leader, Hurriyat Conference
'I am a Muslim, and I am an Indian. I see no distinction between the two'
Omar Abdullah, President, National Conference.
'A Lasting solution of Kashmir issue is possible only when India gives up its intransigence and respects the wishes of Kashmiris'
'The beginning has been made. Mahabharata would go on till the people of Jammu region get justice in all respects' Bhim Singh, Chairman, National Panthers Party
'Islam has never been in danger and neither would it be endangered by any force'
Sardar Attique Ahmad, Prime Minister PAK.
Ghulam Nabi Azad, Former J&K CM
'People might be tired but it is wrong to think that they have accepted or would accept the status quo in Kashmir' Muzzafar Hussain Baig, Senior Leader PDP
'PDP has performed a very anti-national role in Kashmir and the pity is that the party is even enjoying Patronage of Delhi' S.K Sinha, Former Governor J&K
Epilogue Ø 5× August 2008
N E W S
W R A P
J&K IN JULY
Survey: 51% in India, Pak for ‘Independent Kashmir’
ammu and Kashmir is these days debating, with some joy and grouses, results of a survey conducted by a US bases organization run by University of Maryland. 'World Public Opinion', a project managed by University's Programme on International Policy Attitudes claims that 51 per cent of Indians and Pakistanis don't mind if Kashmir is declared independent. This has triggered a debate in J&K. Of course, in Kashmir the survey result has come as a soother for the pro-independence constituency, in Jammu region the rightistnationalists have dismissed the findings as farce. The state government too has rubbished the survey. “We can just laugh at it”, says J&K Information Secretary KB Jandayal.
• Kashmir remains under Indian Control in its present status
• Kashmir gains greater self-rule, but is still inside India
• Kashmir is divided so that some joins Pakistan and some joins India
• Kashmir is jointly managed by India and Pakistan
• Kashmir becomes an independent country
the survey. “Given the deep roots of the conflict over Kashmir, it is surprising that the conflict does not muster clearly polarized majorities in Pakistan and India, falling in line behind their governments' positions,” comments Clay Ramsay, research director of WorldPublicOpinion.org. “Instead, many show openness to considering different possibilities for resolving the conflict.” In the survey, Indians and Pakistanis were asked to consider a range of possible outcomes for Indian-controlled Kashmir (known as Jammu and Kashmir) and to say whether they found them desirable, acceptable, tolerable, or unacceptable.
Pakistani attitudes about such groups are complex. 15 6 8 50 India Less than half (39%) believe that such groups According to College Park operating in Kashmir help • Kashmir becomes part of Pakistan of the either the security of 60 24 7 4 Pakistan WorldPublicOpinion.org, Kashmiris, though few the poll of the Indian and (9%) say it hurts security. 3 4 7 61 India Pakistani publics reveals In the context of the that half or more are conflict in Kashmir, large Source : WorldPublicOpinion.org open to a range of majorities of Pakistanis say possible outcomes for More significant, Indians and Pakistanis that attacks on Indian Kashmir other than it being part of show a readiness to have the Kashmiri government officials are rarely or never their respective countries. On neither people decide their fate. If a majority justified. Attacks on security-related side is there strong majority of all Kashmiris were to choose personnel in India—policemen, opposition to Kashmir becoming an independence, a majority of Indians intelligence agents, military and independent country or dividing and Pakistanis would find such paramilitary troops—are rejected by a Kashmir between Pakistan and India. independence at least tolerable, says plurality.
Epilogue Ø 6× August 2008
N E W S
W R A P
J&K IN JULY
Biharis on Radar in Kashmir
ho exactly and by what amount is anyone against non-state subject petty workers working in Kashmir but on this account situation here is not much different than the one triggered by Raj Thakrey's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena. A grenade came from nowhere and exploded on a Bihari family on July 24 when they were just boarding a bus for Jammu at Srinagar's Batamalloo bus terminal. Three children aged between 8 and 13 were among the five killed and 25 others injured. There has been a definite upsurge in violence in recent months but this one can not be seen as just another incident of militancy. On July 20 and earlier on June 30 one Kashmiri separatist leader Hilal Ahmed War, Chairman of the Peoples Political Party set August 10 deadline for all Behari and other non-state subject labourers to leave Kashmir Valley or face action. Earlier in June 2007, the Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani had issued a call for throwing all Beharis out of Jammu and Kashmir. Thousands of Beharis had to board their buses back home after two of them were found involved in rape and murder of a minor girl Tabinda Ghani in Kupwara district. In June 2006, nine Nepali labourers were shot dead by unidentified gunmen in the south Kashmir district of Kulgam. Accused of unleashing a “cultural aggression” in Kashmir, the Biharis and other labourers (also beggars) have always been on a warning note in the Valley. Those who are against the presence of outsider workers in the Valley have with them a long list of their sins. One oldest incident dates back to 1985 when an ice cream factor owner lost his daughter to a Bihari employee. Six months later, she was traced from Bihar. In 1991, a mason from Assam took away on gun point from one Sameena, popularly known as Brook Shield of Kashmir for her beauty. Of the most recent incidents, a teenager Tabinda Ghani was raped and then brutally murdered in 2007 by two Bihari labourers in Handwara area of Kupwara district.
Wanted, New Boss For JU
rof Amitabh Mattoo’s term as vice chancellor of the University of Jammu is ending later this year-precisely in November. Formerly a Professor of International Studies at Jawahar Lal Nehru University. Mattoo took over at JU in 2002 and got a three year extension in term in 2005. While many believe that Mattoo may manage yet another term but sources at Raj Bhawan have confirmed that the Governor has constituted a ‘Search Committee’ to find out a new boss for JU. Jawahar Lal Nehru University’s former VC GK Chadha (also a member of Pm’s Economic Advisory Board) former J&K Chief Secretary Dr Sudhir Singh Bloeria and the Vice Chancellor of the Arunachal University are reported to be the members of the search committee. Though the three are staunch supporters of present VC but it is learnt that instead of seeking another term Mattoo is more interested in having one of his favourities as his successor. Therefore the names of Prof BPS Sehgal (Dean Academic Affairs), Prof G S Sambyal (Registrar) and Prof Kulwant Kaur (Dean Social Sciences) are taking the rounds as one of them may be chosen as Mattoo’s successor. The search committee, however, is yet to have its first meeting.
6228 to fly to Mecca this year
228 aspirants have been selected from Jammu and Kashmir for this year's Hajj pilgrimage. But more than 10,000 have been left disappointed. The PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti and former CM Ghulam Nabi Azad are now competing against each other in their lobbying with the Ministry of External Affairs to get the Hajj quota hiked for J&K.
In a selection process telecast live in July 10, 6228 aspirants were selected for the Hajj-2008 against 16,000 applications received from the three regions of the state. In response to 1417 applications received from 10 districts of Jammu province, 1246 pilgrims were selected for Hajj-2008 pilgrimage. These include 127 from Doda, 79 from Jammu, 36 from Kathua, 139 from Kishtwar, 287 from Poonch, 312 from Rajouri, 144 from Ramban, 80 from Reasi, 17 from Samba and 55 from Udhampur districts. Similarly, 4879 pilgrims were selected from Kashmir division out of 14429 applications received from 10 district of Kashmir province. Of these, 703 pilgrims were selected from Anantnag district, 283 from Bandipora, 760 from Baramulla, 527 from Budgam, 185 from Ganderbal, 396 from Kulgam, 581 from Kupwara, 391 from Pulwama, 193 from Pulwama, 193 from Shopian and 900 from Srinagar districts for Hajj pilgrimage-2008. Like wise, out of 123 applications received from Ladakh province 103 pilgrims were selected. These include 35 from Kargil and 68 from Leh districts. Present on the occasion were Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Mehboob Iqbal, Revenue Secretary, Member Central Hajj Committee and other concerned officers.
Epilogue Ø 7× August 2008
P O WN EE RW SC OWRRRA I PD O R GOVERNMENT J&K &INADMINISTRATION JULY
Freedom at Midnight
New Work Culture in Vohra's Secretariat
f Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins were in Jammu and Kashmir this July, there was an apt plot for part of 'Freedom at Midnight'. Putting an end to the political chaos and uncertainty of a month, the Governor NN Vohra on the intervening night of July 10 and 11 assumed all powers and responsibilities of the state government. The midnight proclamation also dissolved the legislative assembly some four months ahead of its term. The proclamation said that in exercise of powers conferred by Section 92 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir, the Governor assumed, with immediate effect all the functions of the Government of the State and all powers vested in or exercisable by anybody or authority in the State, other than the powers vested in or exercisable by the High Court. After the acceptance of resignations of the Chief Minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad, and his Council of Ministers on July 7, no party or group showed any inclination for forming the next government. This was the fifth time when J&K is under Governor's rule. First time it was in 1977 when the then state Congress chief Mufti Sayeed pulled out support to the Sheikh Abdullah government thus plunging the state to Governor's rule for a brief while till general elections were held. LK Jha was the Governor at that time. The Governor rule was again imposed in Jammu and Kashmir in 1986, when again Mufti as PCC chief pulled rug from GM Shah's government. Then Jagmohan held the reigns as Governor. In 1990 the Farooq government resigned in protest against appointment of Jagmohan as Governor and subsequently the Governor's rule was imposed which continued, with intervals of President's rule, for next six years.
ith the fall of Ghulam Nabi Azad led Congress-PDP coalition government and subsequent imposition of Governors rule in the state, the seat of governance i.e. the Civil Secretariat, in the summer capital, Srinagar, seems to have undergone a visible metamorphosis towards a better working. The Executive, Legislature and Judiciary are the three pillars of democracy and the press too is called the fourth estate. With the legislature dissolved under the prevalent political crises the judiciary too has taken a back seat owing to the fact that the judicial review and the judicial activism targeting the alleged politically motivated policy decisions are no more in limelight as political bosses rest in hibernation, at least for the time being. Under such circumstances the Governorled civil secretariat appears to have positively adapted to the frame shift in governance and that too towards a new trend of work culture. Firstly taking the point of visitors to the civil secretariat, both in qualitative and quantitative terms, it becomes evident that the shift has taken to peopleoriented executive which was hitherto an executive responsible to the political bosses. Poor people and the aggrieved ones can be randomly seen directly putting their case to the officials even up to the level of administrative secretaries. With the political mediation off the scene the working has gone by and large in the favor of people. Earlier the officers many time used to feel compelled to do work owing to political pressure or the directions but these days the cases or petitions are , in most cases, decided on merit and at the same time the officers in this seat of bureaucracy feel satisfied for having directly contributed to the cause of public and at the same time it gives them a moral incentive for a better performance. Now, coming to the executive business in the civil secretariat, the speed of files moving in the hierarchy of offices, vertically as well as laterally, could be anybody's guess. The heap of files on the tables in offices of Governors aides reflects the personal touch being extended to the cases on merit basis and a close examination of various issues. With record 140 transfers and postings in a day the N N Vohra â€“led administration is still going ahead with an unrelenting administrative overhaul in the administration of this state which is scheduled to go for assembly elections later this year. While the political executive is back to pavilion, the no-nonsense and some 'revered politicians' can still be found in the civil secretariat, making way for some of their unfinished or unaccomplished jobs and targets. At least two to three former ministers, known to have their widespread goodwill among the bureaucracy, visited the civil secretariat last week and are reportedly extended due treatment. But at the same time the so-called arrogant and tough ministers are still hesitating to make their maiden visit to the civil secretariat after the fall of government in first week of July. At the same time the former legislatures are going on the same spree as it used to happen in the time of Government but now it
Epilogue Ă˜ 8Ă— August 2008
P O WN EE RW SC OWRRRA I PD O R GOVERNMENT J&K &INADMINISTRATION JULY
has taken to be a one-to-one relation advantage. Coming to the other side of executive, some secretaries have shifted their offices to those vacated by the concerned ministers, few of them not opting for that have preferred to use them as retiring rooms to attend personal guests and so on. The grievance redressal mechanism has also been pressed into action. Many officers sidelined by the political bosses, for not obliging or coming true to the political aspirations of local leaders, are now putting up their case more aggressively and the results are showing a positive trend too. Many such officers could find their return to the 'mainstream administration' within a week long parlays which would have been rather impossible when the political heads were unhappy for one reason or the other. The Heads of the Departments can be seen discussing the priorities and modalities for the transfers and postings, in most cases on merit, apart form other policy decisions and development initiatives. In the absence of the political direction the things are moving more in a technical way. Inside the civil secretariat, at some corners the 'under table' is also raising its head in the garb of smooth and efficient delivery mechanism. Earlier the files used to move at low cost with the political directions from above but since the latter has gone missing the nuisance value of the lower rung of officials especially in the financial wings of the departments have led to hike in the fixed prices but that is not coming without amazingly fast speed of work. But this has to go side-by-side since the shadow can not be relieved from the object. As long as the administrative gains are overweighing these sporadic malpractices the administration will keep going efficiently, as observed from the present pace of developments. The arrival and departure of the Governor in civil secretariat is not less than a ceremonial moment. With his arrival the side doors of the ground floor corridor are closed and the jubilant officials and visitors can be seen struggling to have glimpse of the new head of the state, the life seems to coming to standstill for making way for the Governor. A look on the secretariat at the time of his arrival still reflects as if the Governor is coming on his maiden visit after the fall of coalition government, even senior officers wait to have a glimpse and for the visitors it is an occasion to catch as a moment in history. Students of political science would argue, owing to the various theories of bureaucracy, that the need of political heads for the executive is inevitable as the bureaucrats lack innovativeness and follow the rule book only but the present work culture that has emerged in the civil secretariat reflects that given a chance the bureaucracy can well run the state administration but of course there is a danger of centralization of power if the system is followed for a prolonged tenure but that is not the issue here as the elections are round the corner and bureaucracy wants to do well in this unique opportunity.
Epilogue Ă˜ 9Ă— August 2008
Movers & Shakers
ust two days after assuming his office in Civil Secretariat, the Governor NN Vohra ordered a spate of transfers and postings in Civil Administration and Police. Ranging from Principal Secretaries down to the level of Sub Divisions, at least 200 officers have been moved within one week. Sources in the government say that most of these proposals were already in pipeline and these transfers would have been affected in any case if the popular government had continued. This, however, has not gone well with the Peoples Democratic Party. Senior PDP leader and former Finance Minister Tariq Hameed Karra says that there is an unrest in bureaucracy due to large scale reshuffle. He has asked the Governor to dispel perceptions of local officers being sidelined in the administrative affairs.
Sorry for Kundal
ith no more political bosses calling shots in the power corridors, the Administrative Secretaries have been empowered by the Governor with powers once Ministers enjoyed. The Chief Secretary is perhaps now more powerful than the Chief Minister. He can transfer any senior officer or vet any policy decision for which even the Chief Minister would have to hear long and unpleasant arguments of his cabinet colleagues. The sarcasm in the Civil Secretariat now often misses the former Chief Secretary BR Kundal. Unaware of the gamble politics is known as Kundal put down his papers, ten months ahead of his retirement, to join Ghulam Nabi Azad Ministry. The Ministry has gone and so is Kundal. But for his crashed political ambitions, today he would have been the most powerful man in J&K, of course, after Governor.
C O L U M N KEEN EYE
J&K At Brink
The Simmering Volcano That Exploded Balraj Puri For nine days Kashmir Valley witnessed a popular upsurge reminiscent of early days of onset of militancy in 1989-90. Calm was restored on 30 June when the state government revoked the order of transfer of 800 kanals of land to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board. A similar nine days upsurge erupted in Jammu on 30 June when the new Governor NN Vohra offered to return the land to the government if the government took over the arrangement for pilgrims except those connected with religious ceremonies. The fire is still raging.
he Sangarsh Samiti, which included over 30 organizations besides BJP privar, demanded cancellation of the revocation order and recall of the new governor. The tempo of the agitation slackened after 7 July when the Chief Minister GN Azad submitted his resignation and when people distributed sweets over their first victory against the wishes of the leaders of the agitation. Therefore, they changed their modus operandi to peaceful methods like dharnas and relay hunger strike. Tempo again ran high when one youngman, Kuldip Raj, sitting on dharana, allegedly committed suicide for the cause. The way police snatched his deadbody form the family members and tried to cremate it aggravated the situation. To be sure, the transfer of land was not the sole cause of sharpening the divide between the two principle regions of the state. A simmering discontent, due to a number of causes got an outlet by this event. Massive Outlet to Kashmir Alienation The popular alienation in the valley found its ex-pression in militancy initially. Its decline in recent years, uncertain policy of the new civilian government of Pakistan on Kashmir and
its recognition to the major mainstream leaders of the valley Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, the president of the National Conference and PDP respectively, tended to erode the political space of the militancy. The valley-based mainstream parties were vying with each other in representing popular Kashmiri sentiments in the election year and were in the process of appropriating further the space of the separatist parties. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq who leads the largest conglomeration of separatist parties was a staunch supporter of General Musharraf and continued his admiration for the Pakistan President even after defeat of pro-Musharraf parties. Syed Ali Shah Geelani who represents the rival and extremist group of the Hurriyat Conference, was a persona non grata in the previous regime of Pakistan continued to be so after the governmental change. He found a Godsent opportunity on the issue of transfer of the government land to the Amarnath Board and set up a broad based committee called Action Committee Against Land Transfer (ACALT) and headed by the former president of the Kashmir Bar Association. Though the Mirwaiz faction is trying to mend his fences with new Pakistan government, he also feels neglected by the Government of India. He, therefore,
Epilogue Ă˜ 10 Ă— August 2008
unconditionally joined Geelanisponsored committee. The mainstream parties, not be to left behind, made more vocal noises on the issue of transfer of land to the Shrine Board. When yatra buses were stoned, Geelani was quick to condemn that attack and clarified that the agitation was not against the yatra or Hindus but only against the government. Thereafter some of the leaders of the agitation visited yatries and offered them with free langar. Govt Bungled Over Land Allotment Issue While the fears expressed by the extremists that the move of the government was motivated to settle outside Hindus on the land acquired by the Board in order to reduce Kashmiri Muslims to a minority are certainly far fetched, the government is no less responsible for its bungling on the issue. It took about three years for the government to finalise the deal on 18 May after prolonged deliberations at various levels. It did not clarify its position till the popular protest against the land deal mounted in the valley. Even then the defence of the deal was mainly left to the Governor and his secretary and CEO of the Board Arun
C O L U M N KEEN EYE
Kumar. As both of them were outsiders and the latter reportedly said that the land in question was purchased permanently by the Board on payment of Rs 2.5 crore, the explanation further infuriated the sentiment in the valley. Late in the day, the Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Baig and the PDP leader tried to exonerate his party by explaining that it was blackmailed by the Congress to support the land deal under the threat that construction of the Mughal Road which connects Muslim majority part of Jammu region viz Rajouri-Poonch with Kashmiri Muslims will be stopped if the deal was not signed. It does no credit to either of the coalition partner. It was as bad for the Congress, if it really tried to blackmail, as for the PDP to be blackmailed. Land was Neither Transferred Nor Payment Made The Chief Minister released a nine page explanation about the entire problem as late as on 15 June. He clarified that the land had not been sold and its use for providing shelter and toilet facilities etc was limited to the Yatra period and no permanent structure was to be constructed on it. The explanation followed a similar statement by the new governor. But it was too late to satisfy the enraged sentiments of the people who demanded complete revocation of the land deal, which was not done till 30 June. Apparently, turmoil in both the regions is over a trivial issue. As long as the pilgrims are assured of all facilities, it should not have mattered much how the task is shared by the Board and the government department concerned. There is a need to understand the political dynamics about the manner in which the events have unfolded in both
Jammu and Valley. The significant fact in this context is that the trouble in Kashmir started at a time when there was confusion and demoralization in the separatist camp, and the new Pakistan government was very conciliatory towards India. The obvious conclusion from this fact is that alienation in Kashmir Valley is not entirely an imported phenomenon the indigenous causes need to be studied and remedied. Jammu's Accumulated Exploded
Likewise, Jammu's discontent which is mainly political is long standing. It just needed a flash point to explode. The foremost problem in the state is to evolve a constitutional system which can reconcile diverse interests and aspirations of the three regions in the state. Otherwise tensions between regions will continue to feed extremist sentiments in all the regions. In Kashmir, they seek secessionist and anti-India outlet. In Jammu, reactions takes communal or integrationist (abrogation of Article 370) form. The divergent reactions form a vicious circle reinforcing each other . Even in the euphoria in Jammu that followed after G N Azad took over the office of the Chief Minister, first person from Jammu to do so in the last sixty years, proved to be a temporary palliative. Not only disillusionment soon started in Jammu region, complaints of discrimination were raised in Kashmir also. Occasionally, echoes of regional tensions were heard in the cabinet which was divided on regional lines on many issues.The People Democratic Party leader and Finance Minister in the state government, for instance, publicly raised the issue of
Epilogue Ă˜ 11 Ă— August 2008
discrimination against Kashmiri Muslims in the recruitment by Service Selection Board and by the State Vigilance Organizations. J&K state which is the most diverse state of India, has ironically most centralized system. Not to speak of regional autonomy that was promised by Nehru and Sheikh Abdullah in July 1952, on my plea, which was never implemented , the state does not have even institutions of democratic decentralization that is, Panchayat Raj which is present in the rest of the country. Development was the main plank of the Congress-led government. But it is no substitute for an urge for empowerment and identity. There is a need for secular institutional fora for the people at various levels for this. The unrealistic approach of the Congress has led to its gradual isolation firstly in Kashmir Valley and then in Jammu. Coming to the current turmoil in Jammu, it is regrettable that leaders of Congress took four days to visit Jammu since it started. The situation was left to be handled by bureaucrats to assuage popular sentiments who are illequipped for the task. However the agitators in the larger interests of Jammu must realize that Secular traditions and secular identity of Jammu have been its greatest strength since post-Independence era despite many provocations. By raising religious slogans and making the land deal a Hindu problem they would be damaging the cause of Jammu. Muslims of Jammu are as much politically and socially alienated in the centralized political setup as their Hindu counterparts of Jammu. Though initially some communal clashes were reported in Bhaderwah, Rajouri, Banihal and Samba areas of Jammu, fortunately, the BJP
C O L U M N KEEN EYE
soon made overtures to Muslims of Jammu who, too, reciprocated by extending support to the main demand of the agitation. Even Raj Nath Singh, the National BJP President during his visit to Jammu, met prominent Muslim leaders and appreciated their role. Jammu is also a vital geopolitical bridge between the people of Kashmir and the rest of the country. While people of Jammu have a right to express their ire against leaders of the agitation in Kashmir and the state government, as good patriots they should draw a distinction between them and common Kashmiris and not take the onus of weakening their role as a bridge between them and the rest of India. The present situation also poses a challenge to all Kashmiri parties. If that Valley witnessed in early nineties could not be maintained for long, despite
Pakistan's active support to militants as also at the diplomatic and political levels in the international for a, how can it be done without that support now? Complete silence of the Pakistan government and that of the Pak media over the recent turmoil in Kashmir against which Untied Jehad Council strongly protested, is not without significance. Kashmir-based parties need to decide whether they want a solution for a united state or only for the Valley. The latter would be, more or less, on religious lines. This will not be in the interest of even Kashmir which will lose its unique identity and civilizational heritage. In case they believe in the unity of the state, they must start a dialogue with other regions in evolving a system which can harmonize interests and aspirations of
Epilogue because there is more to know
all of them. After the present phase of yatra ends and much before next phase starts, all issues relating to the Board can be sorted out amicably after the tempers have cooled. Then experts can be consulted to protect the ecology of the area surrounding the Shrine, wide ranging consultations can be held to evolve a consensus over composition of the Boardâ€”with larger representation to the state subjects, for instance,-and its functions ie providing medical facilities, temporary shelter, labour and ponies, food stalls to be shared between the Board and the concerned department of the government. But without removing basic causes of the simmering volcano, which explodes occasionally on slightest provocation, normalcy cannot be maintained in the long run.
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F O C U S
Fall Of Coalition
Good Riddance, Indeed ! Zafar Choudhary
Good riddance indeed! This is what the man on streets said in the afternoon of July 7. Since early morning that day, lakhs across the state were glued to the television screens to see how Ghulam Nabi Azad proves his claims on floor of the Legislative Assembly. Just 20 hours ahead of the session he inaugurated state-of-the-art Legislative Assembly complex where he had to face the historical trust vote the next morning. Perhaps the most daunting challenge of his political career. With no floor equation working in his favour, the public anxiety was highly raised since the evening of July 6 when Azad said that he would be inaugurating yet another building on July 22 (of course, in his capacity as Chief Minister). Until it collapsed the next morning, such confidence has rarely been seen among politicians locked in unpredictable political scenarios.
here was a pin-drop silence. Silence, in Legislative Assembly as well as in the living rooms of all those watching proceedings (though with interruptions as there was no live telecast) on the television screens. Repeatedly looking at heaps of papers laying at his table, Azad began with his lengthy and politically dry speech. In next two hours he counted the kilometers of road constructed during his regime, meters of bridges laid, number of rooms built, number of officials arrested for corruption, the number of flowers that bloomed in the Tulip Garden and the parks developed exclusively for women…etc. And then came the stunning thing. “There are many in opposition who have their hearts beating with me but they have their whips somewhere else…I don't want to put them in awkward situation…therefore I am driving to the Raj Bhawan to tender my resignation”, said Ghulam Nabi Azad amidst sullen faced of his ministerial colleagues and thumping of desks from opposition. Thus spoke the common man –Good riddance! Azad's fall was imminent after Peoples Democratic Party culminated its two and half years of 'hide and seek' politics by pulling the rug. It happened when just four months had left for the present term of legislative assembly to end. In a bid to cash in on the stirred public sentiment in Kashmir Valley on Shri Amarnath Shrine land controversy the PDP pulled out on June 29 leaving the Azad ministry in minority.
Epilogue Ø 14 × August 2008
F O C U S
Putting up a brave face, Azad made all desperate attempts to save his government. Analysts say saving government for another four months would not have made any difference for the public left disenchanted during the last five and half years. But this would have certainly made difference for Azad and his Congress party. The fag end populist measures could have brightened poll prospects of Congress. Azad was sure of sailing through till a midnight meeting with the Governor NN Vohra on July 6. Even the naïve would have understood that except defection and poaching there was no other way for Azad to survive the trust vote. The Governor probably warned of the political backlash and next morning Azad preferred to make an honourable exit. It was a close shave for his credibility and good riddance for the public. Why good riddance? Not that Azad, or his predecessor Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, was bad administrator. No. Both have a reputation of being good rulers and are known for their sympathy for the public aspirations. In their political careers both have demonstrated their skills well. Under the three-years-each rotational power sharing agreement, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed's first term was marked by a slew of political initiatives. The subsequent term of Ghulam Nabi Azad saw a huge focus on infrastructure development. Then what went wrong? It was the internal unhealthy competition of political survival between both parties and their leaders which put the public at receiving end and betrayed a trust public reposed in the PDP-
Congress coalition during 2002 elections. “It is not an ordinary elections, it is an election for peace, an election for resolution of Kashmir issue”, this is that Mufti would say during his campaign trail of 2002. Mufti's infant party was returned with 16 seats. In Jammu
region, Azad projected himself as hero of the region. “Come forward and create a history…this time it is in your hands…vote Congress to power and have first Chief Minister from Jammu region”, this was Azad's punch line in the history's most credible elections held in this state. Jammu people returned Congress with 15 seats, which got five from Kashmir and as many independent supporters.
Epilogue Ø 15 × August 2008
A study by the New Delhi based Center for Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) puts PDP in equal parlance with the Bahujan Samaj Party of Mayawati where assuming power is the sole ideology of parties. In a House of 87, having just 16 seats in its kitty, Mufti played his Kashmir cards well to grab power. With its Kashmir policy at risk, the Congress was made to bow down allowing the PDP to form government for first three years. He made all the politically right kind of noises for first three years and ensured that there was a chaos for next three years when Ghulam Nabi Azad of Congress took the charge. Since November 2005, it was brinkmanship Jammu and Kashmir was out under. Every new day PDP would threaten survival of Government. Those close to the power corridors made best of both worlds during the years of political instability while the common man was allowed to suffer. If 2002 assembly elections were the most credible of J&K's history, the government which took over was perhaps the most insincere to the public sentiments. Immediately after handing over power to the Congress, the PDP embarked on a plan to secure its constituency for 2008 elections. The first arrow from its bow was support to the 'self rule' proposal of President Musharraf –something unsuitable to the local Congress constituency. Next was demilitarization and repeal of all those laws –like AFSPA –which continued during the PDP regime. This put the Chief Minister Azad on a defensive who instead of focusing on governance plan had to utilize all his energies to counter the PDP blitzkrieg. A protracted battle
F O C U S
between the coalition partners while on one hand dismantled the public trust in government on the other hand it made bureaucracy more powerful than the political leadership leading to irrational decisions. It was a worst kind of chaos and disarray which the warring coalition partners put the state into. It is for everyone to heave a sigh of relief after the fall of such an inconvenient arrangement. Art of Survival Congress had more numbers than the PDP but still Mufti regime was more stable than the Azad dispensation. In fact Mufti mastered the art of political survival and Azad lost to his over confidence. Though a deep dent it was to the public exchequer, Mufti made every body, more or less, a Minister whosoever supported the coalition. Besides a 38 member council of Ministers, he had a dozen other legislators adjusted as chairpersons of corporations and boards with the status and protocol of ministers. Therefore, even the Congress legislators were more comfortable with Mufti. However, they had always aspired of getting more under Azad's term. When Azad took over the power, he dropped most of the independents and the Congress legislators who were Ministers in Mufti's government. The strength of Minister was reduced from 38 to 10. Gripe started nourishing right from the day one. The Congress camp was more annoyed with Azad than anyone else. Senior party leaders like Mangat Ram Sharma (Deputy Chief Minister in Mufti Government), Taj Mohiuddin and Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed were humiliated with the
p o r t f o l i o s l i k e Yo u t h A f f a i r s , Information Technology and Animal Husbandry etc. Therefore, he created a powerful enemy camp within his own party. Among his first major policy decisions he brought legislation on downsizing the Ministry to 25 per cent of total strength of legislature. This blocked the prospects of many to become a Minister even as the cabinet was expanded a year later. By yet another legislation in December 2005, Azad made anti-defection law in Jammu
The rag-tag coalition with Congress and PDP as major partners; Panthers Party, CPI(M) and dozen and half other independents as minor partners agreed on a 30-point basic preamble called as the Common Minimum Programme and Kashmir most stringent of the country. He had probably done this to check dissidence in his own party. After fall of his government, Azad admitted that if he had not brought the antidefection law, his government could have sailed through easily in the trust vote “as many in oppositions had their hearts beating with me”. CMP, What? Some three years ahead of 2002 elections an opinion was created by many political parties and some covert agency elements that National Conference was the worst regime Jammu and Kashmir ever had.
Epilogue Ø 16 × August 2008
Therefore the next election was project as a cleansing operation put the state on a path of peace and progress. At the time of formation of coalition government in 2002, the hopes were raised to a level as if not the leaders but Prophets were going to govern. The ragtag coalition with Congress and PDP as major partners; Panthers Party, CPI(M) and dozen and half other independents as minor partners agreed on a 30-point basic preamble called as the Common Minimum Programme. The CMP drafted under the chairpersonship of Dr Manmohan Singh (now Prime Minister) had points from the election manifesto of all coalition partners. An 11-member Coalition Coordination Committee (CCC) was constituted with Ghulam Nabi Azad as its chairman. Mehbooba Mufti, Saif-ud-Din Soz and Mohammad Yusuf Tarigami were prominent among the members of the CCC. The CCC had only two meetings –first in December 2002 and next in January 2003 –before it was unceremoniously buried forever. Therefore, there was never a coordination between the coalition partners no periodic review of the C o m m o n M i n i m u m Pr o g r a m m e . Ironically, the CMP was never talked about in next five years and, obviously, the progress on the pledges made therein was never reviewed. Now since the coalition has collapsed, its leaders have not been telling people that what they did with those pledges. In the following pages EPILOGUE has made an attempt to discuss each and every point of the CMP and analyse the work done on the pledges. Points have been arranged in a manner to suit the layout. Text in the bold is exactly what was mentioned in the CMP under any particular point and it follows by our analysis of the sector.
F O C U S
Marked By Several Rounds Of Talking With Self
The Goal of the Coalition Government is to heal the physical, psychological and emotional wounds inflicted by fourteen years of militancy, to restore the rule of law in Jammu and Kashmir State, to complete the revival of the political process which was begun by the recently concluded elections, and to request the Government of India to initiate and hold, sincerely and seriously wide ranging consultations and dialogue, without conditions, with the members of the legislature and other segments of public opinion in all the three regions of the State, to evolve a broad based consensus on restoration of peace with honour in the State.
Epilogue EpilogueComments Analysis: A desired outcome is though yet to be seen but a largely mainstream level dialogue between New Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir did really make some headway during these years. The first modest step in this direction was initiated by then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vapjayee in February 2003 with appointment of New Delhi's all-timedependable retired bureaucrat NN Vohra as chief interlocutor on Kashmir dialogue. Two years later Manmohan Singh government kicked off a 'path-breaking' series of roundtable conference which was more or less like New Delhi talking to itself. Separatists did not participate. The only outcome –five working groups were constituted. Four of them submitted their recommendations but implementation remained halfway; fifth group is still in deadlock. While Vohra's progress was yet to be known that he took over the next Kashmir assignment –the Governor.
RELEASE OF DETENUES
More Bundled In Than Freed
The Government shall review all cases of detainees being held without trial for long periods. It shall release all detainees held on C M P non specific charges, those not charged with serious crimes and those who have been held on charges that are such that the period they have spent in jail exceeds their possible sentence.
Epilogue Analysis: This process ran Epilogue Comments into rough weather within first month of coalition government in office. After assuming office in first week of November 2002, Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed made a token
GEELANI was released from Ranchi Jail
gesture of releasing a dozen odd detenues. In third week of same month militants struck at the historic Raghunath Temple in the winter capital city of Jammu and the Mufti
Epilogue Ø 17 × August 2008
regime came under sharp criticism for allegedly “encouraging elements of violence”. New Delhi too put its foot down and a panel comprising officers from Union Ministry of Home Affairs and J&K Home department was constituted to screen case of each detenue on individual merit. The screening committee could not meet for a long and then was abandoned after a couple of meetings. However, the government continued to release some detenues without making fuss. Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mohammad Yaseen Malik were the two high profile names in this category. The last batch of 42 detenues, with petty cases against them, was released in January 2006.
F O C U S
PROBING RIGHTS VIOLATIONS
Militancy Declined Phenomenally
Routine Affair, No Institutional Mechanism
E n s u r i n g safety of lives and properties, restoring dignity and honour of all persons in the State will be the foremost concern of the Government. The Coalition Government will take all possible measures, within its power, to protect all the people in the State of Jammu and Kashmir from violence and militancy, whether originating from within or outside the State, and to encourage those youngmen from the State who have restored to militancy to return to their families and the mainstream, with the belief that they will receive security and justice according to law. At the same time, the State Government will fully cooperate with the Government of India in combating cross border militancy originating from Pakistan.
All cases of custodial killings and violations of Human Rights shall be investigated and persons responsible for them will be identified and punished appropriately.
Epilogue Analysis Remarkable decline in militant violence has been registered year after year since November 2002. A computation of statistics reveals that violence ebbed by around 25 per cent to 30 percent over every previous year. However, the commitment of facilitating safe return of youth who had crossed over the Line of Control for arms training could not day of light even as many of them expressed such a desire.
No such inquiry was ever instituted into such cases. However, details gathered from different forces –Army, CRPF, Police etc –suggest that 220 personnel have been punished for the Human Rights violations in past one decade. (See Table)
Epilogue Ø 18 × August 2008
No. of incident reported
F O C U S
REPEAL OF DRACONIAN LAWS
AFSPA Still In Place, Working In Style
The Government shall review the operation of all such laws that have been used in the past decade to deprive people of their basic rights to life and liberty for long periods of time, without due legal process. Where the Government dreams that some special C M P powers need to be retained, it will ensure, by instituting careful and transparent pre-screening and monitoring procedures, that such powers are used sparingly and those entrusted with them are held
accountable for any misuse. Epilogue Analysis The obvious reference here is towards the Armed Forces Special Powers Act which still remains in place and is being well used by the security forces. As long as PDP was in chair there was never a discussion on this. However, noises were made only after handing over power to the Congress. A high level committee constituted by the Prime Minister on March 30, 2007 under the chairmanship of Defence Minister refused to recommend repeal of AFSPA.
HELPING MILITANCY VICTIMS
HR Watchdog Treated As Sick PSU
Half Hearted Measure
The Government shall strengthen the State Human Rights Commission to make it an effective instrument for addressing the grievances of the people of the State.
government claims that the SHRC was strengthened and empowered with the appointment of a Police officer of the rank of Inspector General and subordinate staff wad deputed to probe the cases. Interestingly, the appointment of any Police officer to the SHRC C M P has always been given the impression of a punishment posting or adjusting an officer Epilogue Analysis Appointed by National who is not required anywhere else. Till 2006, Conference regime, Justice (retd) Ali the Commission's Police wing was headed by Mohammad Mir resigned as Chairman of the DIG who was, State Human Rights Commission in u n f o r t u n a t e l y, August 2006 saying that the government handicapped and at the was not taking recommendations of the verge of his retirement. commission seriously. This can explain An IGP was sent in July the story as how seriously the issues of 2006 when he had just human rights protections were taken by two months left for coalition government. A month later, retirement. The last Justice MY Kawoos was appointed as Police officer at the SHRC chief at the age of 64 while the SHRC, PL Gupta, an retirement age provided by the IGP took up only two legislation is 65. Therefore, the SHRC is cases for investigation headless since November 2007. as he was too sad over Photo/KT So what did the SHRC do all these years? A locked building of SHRC his appointment Sources in the Commission say that outside the regular Police force. The recommendations in some 4700 cases were government never imposed its writ on the forwarded to the government which only 1700 issue. were 'considered' for implementation. “We In Srinagar, the Commission still operates must understand here that only 1700 were from a rented hotel room. A building was considered and not implemented…the proposed in the heart of Srinagar city but the percentage of implementation is well below project was later abandoned. Now the 5%”, said an official. proposed SHRC building in Srinagar is City's Of the biggest achievements on HR front, the
most famous garbage dumping spot.
Epilogue Ø 19 × August 2008
The Govt shall formulate a comprehens ive relief and C M P rehabilitation package for those families affected by militant violence over the past decade. The exgratia relief at Rupees one lakh per deceased person in militant violence will be raised to Rs. 2 lakhs. In recruitment to Government posts, preference will be given to one member of each family where an innocent member has been killed in the militancy related violence. Epilogue Analysis Relief, of course, hiked. No such policy ever formulated to accord preference to militancy victims in Government jobs.
F O C U S
REHAB OF EX-MILITANTS
RETURN OF KASHMIRI PANDITS
They Won When Govt Lost
Kashmiriyat Incomplete, Even Two Decades Later
The Govt shall implement special schemes to rehabilitate former C M P militants who have forsworn violence and rejoined the mainstream. The Govt will reach out to the children, widows and parents of the deceased militants and make endeavours to provide free education to the militancy affected orphans. Epilogue Analysis Implementation of first part was never made public. Interestingly, a policy to rehabilitate the families of slain militants was approved by the Chief Secretary at a high level meeting five days after fall of coalition government. Sources say that the PDP had wanted implementation of this policy towards the end of the government tenure so as to sell these measures in Kashmir Valley during elections.
The Government reaffirms that the return of Kashmiri Pandits to their mother land is an essential ingredient of Kashmiriat. The Government will seek the cooperation of all elements in the society to create an atmosphere conducive to their safe return, will take all necessary steps to ensure their safety and devise effective measures for their rehabilitation and employment.
Epilogue Analysis This is something Farooq Abdullah started harping on since 1996 when the first popular government took over after long spell of direct rule. The mood of Kashmiri Pandits is same in 2008 as it was in 2002 or in 1996. Several schemes and packages announced –latest being Prime Minister's Rs 1700 Crore package –but the migrants did not agree. Perhaps more than money, the political will lacked to restore this essential ingredient of Kashmiriyat. Return & rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants and employment to migrant youth Total migrant families in Jammu :35500, Families in camps : 5000 1. 1024 two-room tenements at Jammu for Kashmiri Migrants at Muthi, Purkhoo & Nagrota (a) Constructed at a cost of Rs.51cr (b) Complete (c) Allotted in Mar'08 to most deserving migrants. 2. Work on 4224 flats in 176 buildings at Jagti Nagrota For Kashmiri Camp Migrants, Cost of Rs 254.00 Crore. Under PMRP , Foundation stone laid by Hon'ble PM on 15.07.2007, To be completed by Sept'09, Progress: Excavation work for 156 buildings completed, Foundation of 152 buildings laid, Plinth level work completed for 90 buildings , Slab of 576flats (72 buildings) laid , Brick work of 5 buildings completed, 1 Sample building ready 3. Corpus Fund of Rs.5.00 Crore created to be administered through an Empowered Committee for Kashmiri migrants. 4. Scholarship to orphans affected by militancy: Financial assistance @ Rs 750/- p.m per child upto the age of 18 years (extendable upto the age of 21 years in exceptional cases) with an additional Rs 150/- per month for children undergoing vocational/technical training to all orphans without discrimination. 5. Housing: # Assistance @ Rs 7.5 lakh per family for fully or partially damaged houses. # Rs 2.00 lakh per family for dilapidated/unused houses. # Rs 7.5 lakh per family for purchase/construction of a house in Group Housing Societies for those who have sold their properties.
REHAB OF BORDER MIGRANTS
Massive Relief Package Could Not Unfold
Persons living close to the line of control and the international border face special difficulties due to recurrent tension and cross border violence. Permanent shelters will be constructed in all vulnerable areas to prevent loss of life. C M P The Government will also devise a scheme to provide, wherever feasible, alternative land to such families in safe zones. Epilogue Analysis
rehabilitation package which is still at various stages of implementation. Sources say that the state government had drawn a massive populist program for rehabilitation of the people along borders but before it could be implemented the government collapsed. There are 13 assembly constituencies along the International Border in Jammu sector where Congress has its significant influence. The rehabilitation of these people who become target of recurring shelling was the biggest card Congress had to play in these areas. Now with fall of the government, people, of course, have lost an opportunity of The Government of India sanctioned a rehabilitation but it has to be seen what they do with Congress.
Epilogue Ø 20 × August 2008
F O C U S
Worst Examples Of Body Corruption Yet To Come
Now A Part Of 8th Schedule Of Indian Constitution
The Government shall give top priority to ridding the State administration of corruption and nepotism, especially in the award of Government jobs and contracts and places in institutions of higher learning. It will endeavour to make the selection process to all those positions and institutions fully transparent.
Epilogue Analysis Amidst loud slogans of transparency, corruption in public life saw a phenomenal institutionalization in past five years –this certainly is not an exaggeration. Contemporaries say that the present era of corruption was worst then the one under Bakhshi (Ghulam Mohammad) regime. In 2004, the Transparency International ranked Jammu and Kashmir second most corrupt state in India –obviously next only to Bihar. The Mufti government intensified its campaign to eradicate corruption. He targeted some 60 small government officials with some petty cases of corruption against them. They were sacked from service. The only high profile case during Mufti regime was that of Ajit Kumar –a top IAS officer. He was tried, arrested and jailed in a scam dating back to 1999. The government had obviously wanted to reach to the Ministers of National Conference regime but that did not happen. When Azad took over in 2006, he did not talk about anything else except his war against corruption. The Vigilance Organisation moved randomly against the officials more on the basis of complaints and less on basic investigations. Amidst a tremendous fear psychosis among the government officials, the rate of bribe to be paid for every petty work skyrocketed as officials openly admitted to the rising “risk factor”. During the loud talk of anti-corruption campaign, Azad quietly reinstated Ajit Kumar –fired by his predecessor on corruption charges –and gave him a plum posting. He, however, continued to follow the Mufti trend of terminating officials. The high profile case in Azad's list of sacking was that of Syed Asghar Hussain, then Director of Rural Development Department. Hussain, interestingly, immediately made a way into Mufti's Peoples Democratic Party and was made organizational Secretary. He is tipped to contest elections on PDP ticket from Kishtwar constituency. There were three all time moral lows in the anti-corruption campaign: First –PDP's senior leader and then Finance Minister Tariq Hameed Karra openly accused the Vigilance Organisation of targeting Muslims and particularly those from Kashmir Valley. Second –An MP and an MLA openly accused a top ranking cabinet Minister Mangat Ram Sharma of massing wealth of billions of rupees through misuse of his official position. Worse still, these allegations were made in presence of CM, dozens of opposition legislators and hundreds of senior officers of administration. Third –allegation cropped up of offering undue benefits to the Chief Minister's brothers.
Epilogue Ø 21 × August 2008
The Government shall press for the inclusion of Dogri in the 8th Schedule of the Indian Constitution.
Epilogue Analysis Dogri was included in eighth schedule of the Constitution of India.
AUTONOMY TO LADAKH
Granted With Big Heart
The Government shall grant full powers to the Autonomous Hill Council for Leh which has hitherto C M P been deprived of its legitimate powers. Efforts will be made to persuade the people of Kargil to accept a similar Autonomous Hill Council for Kargil. Epilogue Analysis Since last 50 years what people of Ladakh have been struggling for –the Union Territory status –is yet to be achieved. But if one single largest achievement the PDP-Congress coalition should always remembered for was the empowerment of Autonomous Hill Development Councils for Leh and Kargil. Perhaps a best form of local governance anywhere, the LAHDC is a classic case of a 'State within a State'. This was among the first major decisions implemented by the coalition government.
F O C U S
‘Kashmir Problem Too Enormous To Be Linked With Elections’ Talking to the political parties in current scenario simply means furthering their personal-political agenda. They have not been heard saying anything except blaming each other. EPILOGUE caught up with an independent and dispassionate observer of politics for a comment. Representing ASAIAN AGE in Kashmir Valley, one of South Asia's reputed journalists, YUSUF JAMEEL feels that premature fall of coalition government averted an unavoidable season of loot ahead of elections.
hile campaigning during 2002 assembly elections most of the participating political parties, more particularly the Peoples Democratic Party, described the exercise as a “decisive election” and slogans like “vote for peace” and “vote for Kashmir resolution” were often heard of. You have been looking at all this as a journalist. What changes do you find in the Valley after five and half years when parties are preparing for next round elections? I don't think much has changed except for the PDP which would this time find it hard to convince the people on its being sincere vis-à-vis what it promises or disseminates. You must have looked at the 30-point Common Minimum Program of the PDP-Congress coalition. Do you think they were able to deliver what they promised? No. The coalition partners except the Congress openly admit they have failed to deliver as a band. The PDP may seek to portray the first three years of the coalition rule when it was at the command as the “golden period” but the fate of many pledges that figured in the CMP betrays its claim. The party also stands exposed on certain vital issues such as women's bill and the return of Kashmiri youth stuck across the Line of Control. Mr. Ghulam Nabi Azad's crusade against corruption also met with a failure. Smaller groups such as PDF chose to make hay while the sun shines. The role of CPI(M) though
only supporting the coalition from outside has been equally disappointing. The coalition government collapsed some four months ahead of the completion of its term after a high pitched political drama. Assembly stands dissolved. How do you look at this premature collapse if seen in the perspective of the commitments PDP and Congress made to the people in 2002? How could they achieve in just a couple of months what they failed to pull off for more than five and a half years? These few months preceding the elections, I'm sure, would have seen more loot than before if not by all but most of those at the helm of affairs. The PDP pulled the rug on issue of transfer of land to SASB. Their Ministers were part of the cabinet which decided land diversion. The key departments –Forest and Law –which approved the proposal were also held by PDP Ministers. Finally, do you think PDP took a principled stand on pulling out of the coalition? It doesn't help in politics to gnash your teeth. It is a general feeling that all this controversy had deep political motivation as elections are round the corner and the dominant sentiment in the Valley was strongly against the land transfer decision. So, which mainstream political
“The boycott of the elections being asked for by the Hurriyat Conference and other pro-freedom groups will find many takers in the Valley which in turn will help nonentities in mainstream politics. The PDP and National Conference can equally benefit from it as was the case in 2002”
Epilogue Ø 22 × August 2008
F O C U S
party, do you think, stands to gain the most out of government's fall? None! But, of course, the boycott of the elections being asked for by the Hurriyat Conference and other pro-freedom groups will find many takers in the Valley which in turn will help nonentities in mainstream politics. The PDP and National Conference can equally benefit from it as was the case in 2002. Governor's rule (direct rule) in Kashmir has always been seen as New Delhi's direct control. Weeks after NN Vohra took over the charge of state government; we are yet to hear anything like that. Does this reflect disenchantment of Kashmiris with the just fallen government or Vohra has made all right moves after walking into Raj Bhawan? He seems to be dispassionate. The moves he has initiated, so far, do not point to his being interested in enjoying the power which is in contrast to what his predecessor was up-to. But I believe policies and dealings on Kashmir are premeditated in New Delhi and, right now, its worry seems to be how to reverse the effect of what the Valley and Jammu witnessed lately. Till few weeks back the buzz in the North Block and South Block of New Delhi was that Kashmir is very close to normalcy. Former J&K CM had said, around ten days before fall of his government, that the majority in Kashmir sees stakes in infrastructure development…Amidst this buzz, a small administrative decisions brought lakhs of Kashmiris on streets with loud slogans of Azadi. Many said that Valley is back to the early 1990s mode. Where does Kashmir stand today? I've always believed in Kashmiri sentiment being intact regardless of the changes- encouraging or otherwise- one may see taking place on the ground. One does remember visiting the countryside to cover the 2002 Assembly elections and while talking to the people lined up at the polling stations would be firmly told that they were casting their vote only to see right people in the Assembly so that the problems and issues they face on daily basis like irrigation water scarcity, electricity transformer repair or installation, supply of fertilizers are addressed well. The Kashmir problem before them was too enormous to be linked with the holding of elections or participation in these. The issues thrown by mainstream parties in 2002 elections seem to have lost their sheen. What, do you think, would dominate the forthcoming elections? And also, do you expect same level of participation in elections the way we saw in 2006 by-elections in three constituencies of North Kashmir? Certain people including a few in or connected with the Hurriyat Conference (Mirwaiz) were thinking on those lines. But the recent widespread unrest on the forestland issue has thrown up many lessons for the leadership to learn from not to speak about runner-ups. What are the issues which may dominate the election scene depends on when these are actually held-in October this year or, as is being suggested by some people-in March next year.
Epilogue Ø 23 × August 2008
ENDING YOUTH FRUSTRATION
Who Had Time For This
Employment and welfare of the youth will receive special attention. Measures will be C M P taken to help those youth who have fallen victim to drug abuse and narcotics due to frustration and unemployment. Epilogue Analysis No such measures taken.
Yes, Massive Boom
Special emphasis will be laid on provision of basic minimum needs such as provision of safe C M P drinking water, sanitation, rural roads, primary health care and elementary education and school buildings. Epilogue Analysis Infrastructure development, it goes without saying, witnessed a huge growth under the PDPCongress coalition era. The all weather black-topped road length increased from 1700.95 kilometers in 2002 to 2073.53 kilometers in 2008. 19 district and subdistrict hospital buildings completed at a cost of Rs 442 Crores, 14 new buildings for Degree Colleges also constructed among other major projects.
F O C U S
REPEAL OF POTA
RATIONALISING ADMN UNITS
Frozen In First Cabinet Meeting
Created More But Irrationally
The Congress PDP coalition Government considers that there are enough laws in existence to deal with militancy. Therefore, it will revoke /not implement POTA in the State.
The Government shall accord due consideration to the recommendations of the Wazir Commission.
Epilogue Analysis Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) was put under freeze but all other laws existing before 2002 giving sweeping powers to security forces are still in operation. DISBANDING SOG
Announced Not Done, Still Exists
A Commission will be set up to make recommendations for reform of the Police Administration to make it a more effective and humane instrument for investigation of crimes and C M P for the enforcement of law and order. The Government will ensure that the personnel in Special Operation Group (SOG) are assimilated /relocated within the regular police establishment.
Epilogue Analysis No such commission was ever set up on Police reforms. The commitment of disbanding or assimilation of Special Operation Group was perhaps the biggest lie of the times. After its first cabinet meeting, the government announced disbanding of SOG. Later it was clarified that instead of disbanding SOG, the force has been merged in the regular police for the duties of regular policing. However, staring on the face of coalition for next five years as a case of naked deception, the SOG continued to exist and it still exists –sometimes known by the same name and sometime by other names. Not only this, another parallel force having same roles but more power than SOG –the Special Striking Reserve –was raised these years.
Epilogue Analysis Irrationality in formation of administrative units has always remained a cause of unrest in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly at the regional level. Following widespread public agitation over lopsided creation of development and administrative units, the then state government headed by Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah had constituted a Commission with Justice Janki Nath Wazir as its chairman, in November 1981. The Commission submitted its recommendations to the government in 1983 suggested broad measures on reorganization of all administrative units and rationalization of police hierarchy down to the level of Police Station. Among other things, the Wazir Commission suggested creation of three more districts in Jammu Division and one more district in Kashmir Division. Both Divisions had six districts each and implementation of Waziz Commission would have meant nine districts in Jammu and seven districts in Kashmir. Therefore, no government could implement the recommendations for next two decades. The PDP-Congress government went many steps ahead of the Wazir Commission recommendations and created four more districts in Kashmir and Jammu divisions. Eight districts were though created but the issue remains there from where Wazir Commission had picked up. Jammu was demanding more districts in view of tough geographical terrain but the coalition government simply did a balancing act.
Epilogue Ø 24 × August 2008
F O C U S
Died Midway With Death Of Coalition
Not More Than 10MWs Added In 5 Years
Our Government will give top priority to the preparation of an employment oriented medium term development plan laying particular emphasis on the development of agriculture, horticulture, handicrafts, tourism, C M P information technology, food processing and environment friendly industrial activities. Efforts will be made to evolve a development strategy which provides at least one productive job per family.
Epilogue Analysis The employment plan was kept to hang in balance for five long years. The government had apparently wanted to open all channels employment towards the elections as to keep the public memory fresh. However, as in case of many other pledges this too went as an unrealized dream with the fall of government. Last two budgets spoke of medium and long term employment plans. Teams of state government were sent to other states to study various small and medium term employment terms. Their reports are yet to be seen. However, the sources claim that the government had identified some 90,000 odd vacancies at various levels to be filled up under a “fast-track recruitment process”, during the last two months in office. The Opposition leader Omar Abdullah says that the government had planned to keep 1000 vacancies each at disposal of some 60 legislators associated with the coalition to secure their seats. Later, after fall of government Ghulam Nabi Azad too admitted that had his government survived the floor test, some 90,000 youth would have got government jobs and the remaining were to be covered under unemployment stipend. Still, a look at the statistics of past five years reveal that not more than 20,000 youth got jobs during the coalition era. Even though the government claims to have nearly 83,000 jobs but in this figure the temporary arrangement of education volunteers or similar system in Police and agriculture department too have been accounted for. (See Table)
High priority will be given to the development of power resources of the State and to extend the benefit of electricity to all villages of the State. The State Government C M P will ask the Central Govt to ensure that the power generation in the State should be available to the maximum extent possible for meeting the needs of the State.
Epilogue Analysis The power situation in Jammu and Kashmir is today worst than what was there in 2002. In five and half years power projects of only upto 10 MW have come up in the state, that too in Ladakh region. The government was keeping an eye on 450 MW Baglihar power project, initiated in late 1990s, but it is still nowhere near completion though three operational deadlines were announced these years. Another project –Sawalakote 1200 MW –planned to be constructed in the state sector had to be halted following a litigation.
Epilogue Ø 25 × August 2008
F O C U S
DELIMITING ASSEMBLY SEGMENTS
Opportunity Lost To Parochial Views, Lack Of Courage
Democracy Denied, Muzzled And Snatched
The Government shall constitute Delimitation Commission for delimiting the legislative Assembly constituencies, as required by law.
Epilogue Analysis Yet another controversial issue hanging in balance for several decades, the coalition government fell out within on this issue. The demand of constitution of delimitation commission has been primarily emanating from Jammu region which has less number of assembly constituencies than Kashmir despite being larger in geography and population. The State cabinet (headed by Azad) in its meeting on July 6, 2006 cleared a decision on creation of more assembly constituencies. This decision lacked vision and may be also the application of mind. Instead of constituting a Commission to look into the requirements, the government decided to enhance the number of constituencies by 25% of the existing. Therefore, the number of constituencies, in any case, had to be higher in Kashmir. The government described this as a historical decision but first rejection came from Jammu region which the government had sought to please. Despite being an ill conceived largesse, the decision on hiking number of assembly constituencies could not be implemented as all parties from Kashmir including the PDP and National Conference ganged up to block any move which could have lead to creation of more assembly segments in Jammu region. ELEMENTARY EDUCATION
A new scheme will be prepared to universalize access to elementary education for all children. Services of unemployed graduates will be utilized for this purpose.
School education sector too witnessed enormous growth
Panchayati Raj institutions will be given both functional autonomy and adequate financial support for making them an effective instrument for decentrailised development. Early elections will be held wherever they are due.
Epilogue Analysis Men of wisdom say that most of problems in Jammu and Kashmir emanate from denial of democratic rights to the people at grassroots level. If we look at what happened to the Panchayati Raj intuitions in last five years, democratic rights were not only denied but snatched from people. Farooq Abdullah government had conducted Panchayat elections in 2000 after a staggering gap of 23 years but he did not delegate powers to elected Panchayats. Then came the turn of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed who too followed the Farooq's legacy. The term of Panchayats was allowed to lapse with endless wait for empowerment and fresh elections were never conducted. MEASURES FOR MINORITIES
Perhaps 5 Years Were Too Less A Time
All the three regions of the State have got religious minorities which face special problems. The Government shall give full protection to the minorities and safeguard their rights. A minority C M P Commission will be constituted to look after the interests of minority communities.
Epilogue Analysis Buddhists, Christians and Sikhs are miniscule yet visible minorities in Jammu and Kashmir. Hindus too call them as minority. Of late their have been demands of an institutional mechanism to safeguard interests of minorities and therefore the coalition government had pledged to set up a Minority Commission. Sources say that the government was all ready to set up a Minority Commission but search for a chairperson, a politically correct person to serve interest of a ruling party, could not materialize.
Epilogue Ă˜ 26 Ă— August 2008
F O C U S
URBAN PLANNING, DEMOCRACY
More Politics, Less Sincerity
Some Semblance Of Democracy Restored, Some Planning Too
Keeping in view that women have borne the brunt of violence in more ways than one over the past decade, special welfare programme will be designed for women such as widow pensions, subsistence allowance for women headed households and self employment schemes for young women.
Epilogue Analysis Except for their politicization of all forms, the women were left wanting for any special measures to improve their lot. They were herded in hundreds and thousands for political rallies, particularly organized for Prime Minister or the Congress President, but every time packed home with not even an announcement for their welfare. State's budget 2006-07 proposed an employment program for women in distress. At target were 100 women in each district to avail loans from Women Development Corporation at a rate of 5 % interest for setting up their own ventures. Since the women in Jammu and Kashmir are not seen as enterprising enough, the scheme could not see much progress for lack of awareness. Seriousness of the regime in reaching out to the women can be gauged from the fact that State Commission for Women remained headless for five years. The Mufti government made a political appointment in 2004 by nominating his would-be-successor Ghulam Nabi Azad's singer wife as Chairperson of the Commission but she declined the offer. Therefore, the Commission was kept in doldrums.
Effective measures will be taken to check unplanned and unauthorised growth of towns and cities. Jammu and Srinagar C M P municipalities will be given the status of corporations to ensure orderly development of all civil facilities. Effective measures will be taken for orderly growth of towns and cities and for provision of basic civic amenities thereof.
WELFARE OF GUJJARS, PAHARIS
Left To Fight Against Each Other
Special emphasis will be laid on promotion of welfare of backward communities including Gujjars and Bakerwals, scheduled castes and tribes. The Government will strive for the extension of scheduled tribes status to the Pahari speaking population of the State.
Epilogue Analysis Instead of addressing issues of Gujjars and other Pahari speaking people, the government rather made them to fight with each other. Ever since the Gujjars were included in the list of Scheduled Tribes in early 1990s the Pahari speaking people had been demanding same status but communities continued to live in peace with each other all along. Last five years saw sharpening of differences between Gujjars and Paharis from the political level down the micro-level of their inhabitations. As both communities were kept divided, Gujjars were given to understand that Paharis want to neutralize their reservations benefits while Paharis were convinced that Gujjars don't want their inclusion in ST list. The differences remain and the communities are at a highest level of discomfort with each other.
Epilogue Ø 27 × August 2008
“Bulldozer touch” was the popular identity that coalition government headed by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed came to be known for in its initial months. Except for some obvious grouses from those who lost their illegally constructed prime properties in urban areas, thousands of people stopped short of garlanding the bulldozers when they brought down shops and other buildings to decongest the cities. After remarkable progress, this was later abandoned due to political pressure. Urban planning was given due attention and democratically elected civic bodies were ensured in all towns and smaller townships. Civic elections held in 2004 saw massive public participation despite militant threats and even killing of many contestants.
F O C U S
Nothing Beyond Popular Destinations Of Kashmir
A comprehensive plan for the development of environment friendly tourism in all the three regions of the State will be prepared bringing the hinterland districts on the tourist map of the C M P State. Special measures will be taken to facilitate and protect pilgrim related tourism
Most of these projects are still at the stage of land acquisition. Work at three Tourist Circuits sanctioned by the Government of India is till at snail's pace.
Efforts were made to bring many areas under tourism map but all this mainly remained confined to holding tourism festivals. There is no significant basic infrastructure to support tourism sector. As was the case in 2002, the tourist concentration still remains at the popular destinations of Kashmir Valley and no new promising destination with infrastructural facilities came up during these years. Under Prime Minister's Reconstruction Plan, 22 new Tourism Development Authorities were created in 2006 but they were manned only a year later. Only eight of them, however, could get funds of Rs 20 Crore each to be spent over next five years.
The Common Minimum Program also says that special emphasis will be laid on pilgrim related tourism. It needs hardly any mention here that pilgrim tourism remained the most controversial area during this period. (See Table)
Efforts Made But Still Long Way to Go
Our Government shall make sincere efforts to ensure that all the three regions of the State –Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh receive an equitable share of resources available for C M P development. It shall set up a State Finance Commission with a statutory status for this purpose and the effort will be to ensure that the backlog of development and employment at the regional and district levels is made good within a specified time frame.
Parameters * Area * No of voters (2002) * Assembly seats * Voters per seat (Average) * Average Area per seat * Lok Sabha seats * Voters per seat * Area per seat * Cabinet Ministers (till July 07, 2008) * Districts * Average Area per Distt * Rate of unemployment * No of employees * Wage in PHE per laborer * Power gen. (State Sect) * Road length * Road density KM/Sq Km * Tourists per year * Expenditure on Tourism * Headquarters of PSUs (12)
15948 sq km 28,83,955 46 49,723 346.6 sq km 3 9,61,318 5,316 sq km 14 10 1,594 sq km 29.30 % Over 3 lakh Rs 2100 304 MW 7,129 KM 51.7 % Below 4 lakh Over 85 % 12
26293 sq km 30,59,986 37 66,521 710.6 sq km 2 15,29,993 13,146 sq km 5 10 2,629 sq km 69.70 % Below 1.2 lakh Rs 500 22 MW 4,571 KM 23.1 % Over 80 lakh Below 10 % Nil
Epilogue Analysis The State Finance Commission –to study development profiles and needs of all regions and sub-regions –when the government had little less than a year left in the office. The story of regional disparity, however, still remains the same. The only difference this time is that Kashmir, earlier accused by Jammu and Ladakh of pocketing maximum share, is also crying against alleged discrimination.
Epilogue Ø 28 × August 2008
F O C U S
High Billed Move Was Highest Embarrassment
The Government shall establish an institution or “Ehtisab” for enquiring into complaints received against Chief Minister /Ministers and legislators. The appointment to this post shall be made by the Chief Minister in C M P consultation with the Chief Justice of the State High Court and the Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly.
Epilogue Analysis The highest billed move of coalition government, a one-man anti-corruption ombudsman, the State Accountability Commission was its biggest embarrassment ever. Showing its seriousness to have a powerful anti-Corruption bureau, the Mufti government pushed legislation in first special session of assembly in November 2003. This triggered off a sharp debate in the House as the coalition members threatened the opposition to unearth their alleged scams through this law while the opposition members dared government to come forward. However, a law to provide State Accountability Commission could not be enacted due to lack of consensus in the House. The legislation was referred a House Select Committee and it could become a law only the next year. A close family friend of then Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Justice (retd) RP Sethi took over as SAC chairman in 2004. Hundreds of complaints started pouring in from far and wide places against high and mighty people. Almost every case coming before the SAC made a way to one particular newspaper and then the SAC doors opened to the media at large. Almost every case before its examination by the Judge, got a 'reputation judgment' in the press. In November 2005, entire state was left shocked when a newspaper carried a story against a senior Cabinet Minister quoting observation of the SAC chairman. “The Minister is neck deep in corruption”, said the newspaper quoting the SAC papers. A week later, SAC Chairman's lawyer son was caught live on camera accepting money for settling same case through his father. In the brief assembly session next month, more than 30 legislators expressed their concern over the day-to-day leakage of SAC working to the media. Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Hussain Baig endorsed this view point. In February 2006, the government amended the SAC Act and put two more members in the Commission in an apparent bid
to cut the Chairman to size. In May same year Justice Sethi put down his papers accusing the government of interference in Commission's affairs. Since then the SAC is headless with one of the members temporarily chairing the proceedings. 93 per cent of the total cases decided by the SAC were subsequently taken by the 'aggrieved' people to the High Court and the decisions were got overruled. Since 2004, the SAC also received 23 cases against Ministers, Legislators and one against the sitting Chief Minister. It is pertinent to mention here that Minister –Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed –who saw SAC powers cut, later had to resign in January 2008 after a legislators told the Legislative assembly that he paid him bribes to get a work done in his department. As already discussed in CMP’s Point 11 (Transparency) Jammu and Kashmir was rated by the Transparency International as second most corrupt state in India (IT Report 2004-05). This
TI, 2008 Report
gave the state government a cause to move against corruption. A law was enacted in 2005 to attach the properties of government officials against whom prima facie cases of corruption were established. The level of corruption, however, continued to grow in public life. Perhaps the will and actions of government did not meet the words and claims. The war against corruption was all hoax as once again proved by the Transparency International. Vice President of India Dr Mohammad Hameed Ansari released the latest TI report on June 28 - just 10 days ahead the fall of J&K’s coalition government. One had expected J&K shunned its infamous tag of second most corrupt state. The report paints still grim picture. Placed among the five states in India with ‘alarming rate’ of corruption, J&K leaves behind 24 states having ‘moderate’ to ‘very high’ level of corruption. The only solace this time is that J&K is placed at number three in category of states with alarming rate of corruption. Not that level of corruption has declined, the list is arranged in alphabetical order - first two are Assam and Bihar.
Epilogue Ø 29 × August 2008
L A D A K H TOURISM
Tourism In Leh
Captivating Adventure Destination Tsewang Rigzin
y the end of June this year the number of visitors was recorded 32,241 against only 11,183 by the end of the corresponding month last year. “This is a three times increase compared to last year”, says Sh Nissar Ahmad, the Assistant Director Tourism Leh. Ever since Ladakh was thrown open for tourism the region remained a destination mostly for foreign tourists but in the last few years there has been a quantum increase in the number of domestic tourist also. The number of domestic tourists visited Ladakh this year by the end of June this year has been recorded 25,426 against only 7,191 by the end of June Last year. Figures are indeed encouraging for the authorities such as the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) and the D i r e c t o r a t e o f To u r i s m Kashmir to take steps towards making efforts to further promote Ladakh as a unique and safe tourist destination in the world. Sh Farooq Ahmad S h a h , D i r e c t o r To u r i s m Kashmir said that he had observed a slight decrease in the domestic tourist inflow into Ladakh after the Amarnath Land transfer
Ladakh is increasingly becoming a famous destination on the world tourist map. Tourism is regarded as a major industry for income generation. Opened for tourism in 1974 with only 527 numbers of tourists Ladakh registered 50,185 tourists last year thus recording the highest figure.
Epilogue Ø 30 × August 2008
L A D A K H TOURISM
controversy and its subsequent incidents in Kashmir. “Things are returning to normal in the valley tourists visiting Ladakh by road via Srinagar will be restored” he added. Promotion of Leh as a destination
Lots of efforts are under way to further promote Ladakh as a unique destination for tourists round the world. The LAHDC Leh in collaboration with the travel trades of Leh has set a tradition of holding press conferences a fortnight or a month ahead of the Singey Khababs
Festival (Sindhu Darshan) and the Ladakh Festival, which take place in June and in September respectively every year. Last year press meets were held in Delhi and Srinagar and it has been observed that such events proved to be a very effective way to promote
Spituk Goupa/Namgial Tsaskan
Epilogue Ø 31 × August 2008
L A D A K H TOURISM
YEARWISE TOURIST ARIVAL TO LEH LADAKH
made. The film is on the verge of its completion and is expected to give additional boosts to Ladakh's tourism industry when completed because the copies of the films would be sent the various n a t i o n a l a n d international travel trades besides arranging shows in Indian cities during publicity campaigns. Cultural and Monastic Festival
Ladakh has kept its unique ancient traditions and customs alive through numerous celebrations and festivals. The 'Monastic Festivals', are held in the major monasteries every year. The centuries old Source: Department of Tourism Leh historical monasteries Gonpas and their Ladakh for the domestic tourisms. religious practices and monastic Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India, on festivals continue to become an the request of the LAHDC, arranges attraction to tourists. Ladakh festival publicity about tourism potential of Leh was constituted more than one and a Ladakh through electronic and print half decade ago with an aim to extend media ahead of these events. Efforts the tourist season in Leh Ladakh, are being made to organize such press promote Ladakh as a tourist destination meets and shows in different cities of and to revive and showcase the Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Tamil Nadu centuries-old rich cultural heritage of in the near future. The president of the Ladakh. The festival starts from All Ladakh Tour Operator Association September 1 every year for 15 days. (ALTOA) Sh P.T. Kunzang says ALTOA has Sindhu Darshan festival was started by already requested the concerned the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) authorities to plan publicity campaigns in 1997 but when the United Progressive ahead of the Ladakh Festival 2008 Alliance (UPA) government took over preferably in Gujarat. On the initiative the name of this festival was changed to of Dr. M. K. Bhandari, the then deputy Ladakh Singhey Khabab Festival. The commissioner Leh a film highlighting change in the name irked the Sindhis the tourism potential of Ladakh is being
Epilogue Ø 32 × August 2008
and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) activists. The RSS and its branches under the umbrella of Ladakh Phanday Tsogspa started celebrating a parallel Sindhu Darshan at Sindhu Ghat since the change in the name. It is believed that introduction of the festival by NDA government was to propagate BJP's “Hindutva agenda” and the change in the name by UPA government was to desaffronise the festival and make it a festival projecting the Indus as a symbol of India's unity and communal harmony while at the same time promoting Ladakh as a tourist destination. Sh Ghulam Nabi Azad the then Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir was the chief guest this year on the occasion of the festival celebrated by the government from June 12. Whereas the RSS and its braches organized its own parallel Sindhu Darshan from June 23 in presence of prominent RRS ideologists such as Dr. Mohan Rao Bhagati, General Secretary RSS and Prof Prem Kumar Dhumal, the Chief Minister of Himachal besides lots of Sindhi activists. The festival is indeed giving a big boost to the tourism industry by attracting lots of domestic tourists as the arrival of domestic tourists in Leh in 1997 was recorded only 3991 whereas in 2007 the arrivals of domestic visitors registered 22,007.The figure this year has already reached 25,426 only by June end. Vision for Tourism expansion Unlike the other regions of the State, LADHC Leh has got a Vision Document for Ladakh called 'Ladakh Vision-2025', which was formulated in 2005 and was launched in the same year by the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh. Under the Tourism sector the vision document envisages “to connect tourists to the unique topographical advantage and cultural heritage of Ladakh without
L A D A K H TOURISM
endangering its fragile eco-system, while at the same time scaling up tourism to contribute to the economic and social well being of the people of this region.â€? Different strategies such as improvement of infrastructure , building local capacity by setting up a specialized institute for professional training in hospitality management and encourage local arts and crafts especially through the market for souvenirs, encouraging community based tourism by decentralizing tourism infrastructure to villages and by avoiding large 5 star chains in Ladakh, expanding the tourism package by marketing Ladakh as a tourist destination separate from J&K and tap the market for winter tourism, explore new packages; ancient trade routes, pilgrimage tourism, eco-tourism etc, and to preserve Ladakh's pristine beauty by promoting Ladakh as an ecodestination, observing aesthetic values when undertaking new constructions and discouraging display of religious and cultural rituals for monetary gain have been enshrined in the Vision Document to translate into reality the goals set for the tourism sector in the Vision. However the strategies enshrined in the Vision have not been implemented by the present Hill Council so far which might become a political issue in the coming days. Accessibility, transport and other facilities For the summer months Ladakh is easily accessible both by air and road. But for some six months the region is accessible only by air because both Leh-Srinagar and Leh-Manali highways get closed on account of snowfalls during winter months. Now-a-days there are 22 number of flights a week between and Leh-Delhi sector. The Indian Airlines,
Jet Airways and the Air Deccan operate between Leh and Delhi. Air Deccan started its operation to Leh last year resulting to a quantum increase in the number of domestic tourists to Ladakh. Travel trades of Leh have requested the government and private airlines authorities to increase the frequency of flights in Leh-Srinagar and Leh-Jammu circuits as lots of pilgrimage tourists visiting Amarnath and Vishnu Devi would want to include Ladakh also in their tour program if the frequency is increased. At present there are only two flights between Jammu and Leh and one between Srinagar and Leh a week. In the transport sector, Leh has a good choice of taxis including the comfortable Tata Safaris, Scorpios, Innova, Toyota Qualis etc. According to a record maintained by the tourist department Leh the district today has over 8,000 beds available at a time in about 113 hotels and 223 Guest Houses besides lots of u n r e g i s t e r e d o n e s . Va r i o u s governmental and non governmental organization have actively engaged in the promotion of 'homestays' as an
Epilogue Ă˜ 33 Ă— August 2008
endeavor to provide eco-friendly staying solutions in remote and ecofragile areas while at the same time benefiting the rural population also from tourism. Tourism industry is sometimes criticized on the ground that it benefits mostly the people in Leh town thereby resulting a meager income follow into villages that actually attract tourists. The Department of Tourism also has a provision of providing loans on subsidy for conversion of residential houses into small paying guesthouses but the guideline issued by the State Government in 1995 for this scheme includes only a few villages randomly. Hence all areas open for tourism don't benefit from this scheme except those included in the guideline. Areas still restricted for Tourism Many areas in Nubra and Changthang regions in Leh district with high potentials for tourism are still restricted. The restriction is imposed by the Ministry of Home Govt of India on
L A D A K H TOURISM
Cultural and Monastic Festivals of Ladakh 2009-14
Autonomous Hill Development Council Leh has approached all concerned ministries on every occasion requesting the Govt. of India to lift the restriction and opne these areas for tourism. MLC Sh. P. Namgail told Epilogue that the Govt. of Jammu & Kashmir had also sent a proposal requesting the Home Ministry to open these restricted areas for Tourism. All councilors from Nubra and Changthang submitted a memorandum to the Union Minister for Tourism, Smt Ambika Soni when she visited Leh last year to conclude the Singey Khababs Festival (Sindhu Darshan). The ALTOA brought up the issue before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Tourism that visited Ladakh in June this year. Challenges and problems
account of security reasons. Such restrictions seem to have become irrelevant in today's digitally developed era in which images of things and places can be viewed by using advanced websites. Areas from Panamik up to Yarma Gonbo and Hunder up to Turtuk in Nubra valley and similarly in
Changthang region Lukung to Tsaga via Chushul, Mahey to Demchok and Anley Kuyul via Nyuma can be of immense tourists' interest if the restriction is lifted. Opening of these areas will definitely boost the tourism industry further in Ladakh, making it a most exciting tourist destination. The Ladakh
Epilogue Ă˜ 34 Ă— August 2008
The present season for tourism industry in Ladakh is mainly from May to September. Ladakh is a good place for winter tourism also but this has not yet been fully tapped except the famous Chaddar trek on frozen Zanskar River. With the remote villages getting road connectivity lots of trekking roads are disappearing. However Ladakh has a good potential for exploring new trekking routes. Issues that need to be immediately
L A D A K H TOURISM
addressed for the convenience of visitors are proper and systematic parking system, public lavatories in the city (tourists often have to go back to their hotels and guesthouses due to lack of public toilets and urinals in the city), and keeping the city and its surroundings clean and hygiene – these issues often become nuisance for visitors in Leh. Leh town or the old historical town is growing in an unplanned and a haphazard way due to lack of a proper master plan and consequently all types of buildings are coming up. If the present development trend continues then Leh might become a place which people may not like to visit anymore. P.T. Kunzang observes that lack of proper garbage disposal system is also becoming a nuisance to the tourists. Many tourists often complain that Kashmiris who own antiques and pashmina shops in Leh annoy them by touting. “This is irritating. I find them annoying”, says Lars Lidstrom, a visitor from Sweden. Lots of tourist visiting Changthang areas often drive off-road damaging the pasturelands which take long time to recover. These pasturelands are the source of livelihood for the nomads of Changthang and the wildlife. Tourism industry in Ladakh is often affected and even collapsed whenever disturbances due to militancy in Kashmir and unrest on the borders, therefore Ladakh seriously need to be projected as a tourist destination separate from Jammu and Kashmir valleys occur. Pristine Ladakh Ladakh, bordering in China in the east and Baltistan in the west, is often known as the Little Tibet as it resembles Tibet in many cultural aspects. Ladakh
was an independent Kingdom itself until it became a part of Jammu & Kashmir in 1834 after the Maharaja of Jammu annexed the region with the kingdom of Jammu. Being the largest region of Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh covers more than half the area of the State. Ladakh had been an important ancient Silk Route for Caravans between Central
Many tourists often complain that Kashmiris who own antiques and pashmina shops in Leh annoy them by touting. “This is irritating. I find them annoying”, says Lars Lidstrom, a visitor from Sweden. Lots of tourist visiting Changthang areas often drive off-road damaging the pasturelands which take long time to recover. These pasturelands are the source of livelihood for the nomads of Changthang and the wildlife. Asia and Chinese Turkistan before 1947. Central Asian two humped camels, which had been left by some Central Asian traders, are still found on the sand dunes of Nubra valley. The Land's unmatchable and rich cultural heritage and many schemes, policies, and distinct traditions such as the Monastic Festivals, the Ladakh Festival, and Singey Khababs festival (Sindhu Darshan) have helped promote Ladakh as a unique destination for visitors of different kinds. Ladakh also has a good potential for adventure tourism are trekking, mountaineering, river rafting,
Epilogue Ø 35 × August 2008
mountain biking, and jeep safaris.
Now Telling The J&K Stories
Epilogue because there is more to know
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Published on Dec 9, 2009
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