Hope on the horizon

Amid all the less good news to come, there is encouraging news from the proposed meeting called on the 24th of all dominant political entities in Jammu and Kashmir to be chaired by the prime minister. Nothing can be a better political initiative than this. J&K made the news for all disturbing reasons until the Center decided to strengthen the territory’s political roots by fully merging it with the rest of the continent by removing illusory 370 and 35a – a move that made the object of a broad consensus through policies. the range of the country as well as the overwhelming reception of the population in general.

With the August 5 notification came the unequivocal assurance from the Prime Minister that – a) the statehood that was being abolished would be restored to J&K as soon as possible, and b) the state would be handed over to be ruled by the people. of State. The assurance has since been repeated many times by the Center giving the clearest indications of the Centre’s intention to be honest with its assurances as well as to adhere to democratic ethics in both letter and spirit. .

It will be two years since J&K and Ladakh became like any other part of the country and citizens have since enjoyed rights, privileges and amenities on a par with their counterparts in the country. Our constitution in its entirety has become applicable to them, as have all the central laws and rules – the territory or its inhabitants are no longer confronted and no longer subject to any exceptions.

The J&K Reorganization Act 2019, followed by three other central laws and the repeal of around 25 state laws, facilitated the complete restructuring of the territory in line with the other Union territories – J&K with legislature and Ladakh without legislature. After this legal framework work, the Center pursued with total dedication its avowed dual objective of initiating democratic processes in order to revitalize government institutions with the ultimate goal of restoring statehood and handing over power to the people of the state.

So far, the journey has been too tricky, slippery, and tricky with many eyes – both internal and external – with many colored glasses keeping a close watch, scrutinizing, examining and explaining the situation in distinct and divergent ways.

Notwithstanding the various opinions on the position of J&K at any given time, including as of today, as well as the reservations one might have on the position and steps of the government of the day, an undisputed fact remains that efforts for full normality and peace in the region have always met with more disturbing and disruptive attempts from vested interests deeply rooted far from the country. We may not have to go too far in the political history of the country. The 2014 J&K assembly elections – the conduct, participation and nature of them – were widely hailed, welcomed and appreciated internationally. But the period that followed saw gross and fatal disruptions to democratic processes ultimately marred by terrorist attacks clearly perpetrated across the border.

It was therefore incumbent on the Center and on all those who honestly believe in a strong and united India, J&K being an integral part of it, to remain extremely cautious and move too cautiously towards the end which all Indians hold so dear. . The Center, even at the cost of being criticized in blunt terms, has acted too cautiously in taking simultaneous efforts in various directions.

First, he ensured that peace and order reigned over the land regardless of the cost. It was painful enough for the general population to endure strict and strict restrictions, but it improved the atmosphere of peace and tranquility, as well as the efficiency and accountability of the government. People felt more and more comfortable and at ease and started to adopt their usual way of life.

Second, economic activities increased with a massive influx of funds from the Center and the economy began to show excellent improvements overall. The Prime Minister’s Development Package worth over eighty thousand crore and the recently announced Industrial Development Package worth over twenty-eight thousand crore along with many other state efforts have been unique to the region that have never been available to any of the states in the country with such intensity. Many projects have already been completed, many underway at a rapid pace with improved infrastructure in terms of highways, water supply, electrification, housing, health, education system, etc. This has also, of course, resulted in better employment opportunities for local youth. The circulation and flow of money has improved in the market and local businesses are flourishing. The opportunities for new areas of trade and commerce open up an improved and promising way of life for the population as a whole. Large investments and large companies also come with their own set of institutional establishments which will further improve employment opportunities. The expansion of MGNREGA and the establishment of an agro-industry in each of the districts would go a long way in stimulating the rural economy.

Third, the Center has also launched democratic initiatives. Elections for the new decentralized model of development centers, district development councils, went smoothly and in an orderly fashion. It was good to see all political parties welcoming and participating in these elections, with Farooq Abdullah led by the Peoples Alliance for the Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) winning a big victory. These elections were a great way to move towards self-government.

With these concerted efforts and remarkable achievements as a backdrop, the Centre’s decision to invite leaders from all political backgrounds is in itself a welcome initiative. So far, there are positive vibes for the meeting. PAPD leader Farooq Abdullah has already spoken out in favor of a dialogue with the Center. Panthers Party and Apni Party also welcomed this decision. Mehbooba Mufti, however, expressed certain reservations, hoping that the Center would clarify its agenda. But the PAGD as a group of parties decided to participate in the meeting. Mehbooba too, as such, would be in the game. Congress also accepted the invitation and will be present.

With the delimitation commission headed by Judge RP Desai having almost completed the task, a commission report is said to be in preparation. It would be an important prelude to the legislative elections in the region. It would be extremely good to take all the stakeholders on board and run for office as quickly as possible and auspicious. The relevant question would certainly be whether state status is granted before or after the elections. The dilemma would be sensitive and too important. It would take a serious and honest thought process to come to a conclusion. This is a problem where there would be a lot of natural feelings involved, people in general would certainly like the state to be restored immediately.

The destination of complete normalcy is, however, of paramount importance which could never be compromised at any cost. There can be various pressures from various corners and even international neighborhoods and rightly so. But no one would come to our aid if the situation receded. Across our borders, our ever-hostile neighbors would never want normalcy and peace to prevail, and too many politicians in the land are also often sadly proud of becoming easy prey for the sinister design they are playing out. There must be good double-checking of the state’s decision as there is now. The abolition of statehood has never been a pleasant decision for the Center to take. It must have been with great pain and anguish that the country was forced to make this unpleasant and unpleasant decision. This could only be reversed if the country could achieve the goal of making J&K a model of an integral peaceful part of our country.



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The opinions expressed above are those of the author.



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