NC Debacle In Kashmir in The Modi-fied Phase

As i  am writing, the Right Wing BJP has emerged as the single largest party with Absolute Majority in the Elections 2014 of India and the ruling UPA has been reduced to a miserable double-digit number in the Parliament. As the opinion polls along with the exit polls of various hues had correctly predicted the gain of BJP lead NDA, still there was a counter opinion that the BJP may not win that big because of the faulty exit poll results in last two General Elections but this time they correctly predicted the wave of Modi which many had rubbished as a myth. It is after a very long time in the electoral history of India that a clear mandate has been given to a single party which is also a right-wing party drawing its inspiration from Sangh Parivar. The rise of Modi in India has opened a plethora of questions about in which way India is going which will be probably be answered in coming five years till the next elections. Everyone will have an eye on Modi’s policies from across the border to within the border and how Modi will deal with issues pertaining to Ram Mandir, Article 370, Minority welfare plus the economic issues. As a Kashmiri, like all other fellow citizens of Kashmir, observed the elections with keen eye even though a common Kashmiri knows that whether it be UPA or NDA, Kashmir Policy will remain same. If we look at the overall poll percentage of J&K, it is near about 50% with individual Poll percentages of Jammu as 70% and Kashmir standing at nearly 30%. There appears a clear division on the mood of people present in both regions with majority of Kashmiris not wanting to vote & majority of Jammuites wanting to vote. Looking at the results, out of the 6 Parliament Seats in J&K, PDP has bagged all 3 seats & BJP in Jammu has bagged the remaining 3 seats, two from Jammu & one from Ladakh leaving the coalition government of NC-Congress to bite the dust. Although Kashmiris by and large hadn’t voted in the elections but still everyone wanted to know the result for the curiosity purpose. Many pundits had predicted that PDP will do well in the Kashmir seats but this came as a surprise that they went on marching on all the three seats of Kashmir leading to defeat of veterans like Dr. Farooq Abdullah & his two associates.

APRIL 13, 2002 - FAROOQ ABDULLAH, then part of NDA, JUMPED INTO THE DAL LAKE  TO MARK THE TWO DAY BAISHAKI FESTIVAL AIMED AT ATTRACTING TOURISTS AND REVIVE TOURISM IN KASHMIR.  FAROOQ IS SEEN SWIMMING IN WORLD FAMOUS DAL LAKE . PTI PHOTO
APRIL 13, 2002 – FAROOQ ABDULLAH, then part of NDA, JUMPED INTO THE DAL LAKE TO MARK THE TWO DAY BAISHAKI FESTIVAL AIMED AT ATTRACTING TOURISTS AND REVIVE TOURISM IN KASHMIR. FAROOQ IS SEEN SWIMMING IN WORLD FAMOUS DAL LAKE . PTI PHOTO

Let me remind you all that these Kashmir elections came after a series of catastrophic events in Kashmir with a government headed by Omar Abdullah whose tenure will be remembered more on Twitter than in real books. The way Omar Abdullah led coalition has been routed is something to be worth discussing. After all with the Shopian Gang-rape flip-flop incident in 2009, 2010 mass protests against excesses of security forces leading to death of around 120 men, the J&K Cricket board scandal with Dr. Farooq Abdullah involved & the state government’s silence on Afzal Guru’s hanging in 2013, how can anyone dismiss the backlash of all these years of miss-governance. If we look at the state of affairs of Omar Abdullah Government, it appears only on Twitter through his tantrums. Mr. Omar Abdullah would be only head of state who would curtail the internet connection of his own subjects & go on giving messages for the general public through that medium. If anything we could deduce from the messages he posts during tough times, it appears as if he got a dictation from corridors of Delhi and he is reciting back the words pampered to him for the Indian Media. Even during the current election campaign he shot up with statements which appeared more of arrogance than as a head of state, that he is not accountable to those people who don’t vote in the elections, crossing all limits of decency of the chair he is holding through the glue provided by Delhi. How can the legitimate anger which everyone holds against the regime of National Conference be not foreseen trough the tremors which was felt on May 16 ? How can Dr Farooq Abdullah who had a Kashmiri speaking father tell that fellow Kashmiris are ‘Mahachors’ & get away with it ? For how much long Kashmiris have to bear the tantrums of Delhi by imposing on us the Abdullah Family & not doing anything to solve the Kashmir problem. How long before a Kashmiri CM who in a state assembly says, ‘Main kya karsakta hoon’ on Killings done by security forces ? How long before the Abdullah clan raise the bogey of Secularism & all that stuff which by the way no one buys in Kashmir. These are legitimate questions which a Kashmiri always asks to Kashmir policy makers in Delhi but gets no reply.

Having said everything against NC, it is not that PDP will do wonders, if one is an evil the other has been accused to be a lesser evil and at times the collective lesser evil has done also a damage to the Kashmiri psyche. With results pouring and with it  jubilation of Modi supporters across India being seen, across the border, Mian Nawaz Shareef has congratulated Modi & also invited Modi to visit Pakistan which may be seen as a positive signal from Pakistan having a will to cooperate on Kashmir issue and it seems that Pakistan is less concerned how Modi is viewed internally in the country. We all know that BJP is against Article 370 which is actually now only a symbolic article ( which Congress Party at Center has made hollow in all these years) in Indian Constitution which lays the foundation of Kashmir acceding to India, whether Modi is going to touch it or not is going to be seen in future. Although Article 370 bogey is run by National Conference to hoodwink the Kashmiri public yet the public knows that National Conference has been a party to the erosion of Article 370 all these years.

In the post Modi scenario, definitely across all spectrums there will be an introspection that what lead to rise of Modi and what lead to fall of Congress. Definitely the fall of Congress has more to do with the rise of Modi. The desperate measures of UPA 2 like the hanging of Afzal Guru out of his turn & not returning the dead body to his family will definitely haunt Congress and its partner NC in Kashmir for years to come. The scams done by UPA, the passing of Bills in Parliament hastily, the ever arrogant attitude of Congress men, the failure to estimate the popularity of AAP in Delhi, having a weak PM candidate who delivered wretched speeches in election rallies, etc all lead to the downfall of Congress which stand as a two digit Party. Saying this i know Congress Party will do a home work rightly next time or next next time but of National Conference, i assure you all, even all the perfumes of Arabia & all the wisdom in Humanity will not help the National Conference and its first family to have a soul-searching within self because their souls remain buried somewhere in North & South Blocks of Delhi at unknown destination there.

15 Questions to NC Headed Government in Jammu Kashmir

As J&K moves closer to four years of NC-Congress coalition Government, I want to ask 15 questions to NC party. These are :

1) On Autonomy: Whereas you have talked of restoration of autonomy in the election manifesto of 2008 which has been your party stand for years, what steps have you steered for its restoration?

As NC has been in coalition with BJP led NDA & also is now in echelons of power with Congress led UPA, has there ever been a whisker on it off lately with UPA on official level other than some occasional brouhaha on the issue of restoration & eroding of autonomy? Isn’t the word ‘Autonomy’ been now NC’s bluff which feels very monotonous to our ears due to your hollow trumpeting? What about the ‘Autonomy Plus’ which your Party had promised to unveil to the people in 2009?

2) On Separatists: Whereas you have said in the manifesto to solve Kashmir imbroglio, all sections of the society including separatists & extremists have to be taken on board, have you not further pushed the dialogue table to oblivion with their frequent house arrests as well as stopping them to offer Friday prayers? While you have used the word ‘extremists’ who you think should be taken on board but have you done any favor to the moderates so that the extremists shun their approach? Hasn’t this approach been more counterproductive leading to more dissent in the society? Also why hasn’t the much talked Rehabilitation Policy been successful here?

3) On LOC Trade: Whereas you have said in election manifesto that NC will ‘strive for free trade & traffic compared to present trickle across LOC & hassle free entry/exit of state subjects & better coordination between Srinagar – Muzafarabad’, not much is seen in this regard. The barter system with which the trade was started four years back still exists, while the Trade across the Salamabad,Uri has increased over years but the trade across Poonch has significantly decreased & there exists still lag in communication due to the ban on Telecommunication links across LOC. People still are hoping when the travel across the LOC would be liberalized so that they could see each other’s relatives.

4)  On TRC & SHRC: Whereas you have said that ‘Truth and Reconciliation Commission should be formed to know what triggered the volcano of insurgency in late 80s & the guilty should be punished plus also that the report would be made public’, what have you done to keep that promise? Also you have pledged to restore the crippled SHRC & do away laws like DAA, AFSPA, has any progress been there so far? But point should be noted that the chief minister has gone on record saying that Kashmir is a political problem. As the problem is still lingering on where does this introducing of the idea of TRC fit in when the conflict hasn’t been solved yet. Further the words of TRC don’t evoke any interest in the minds of commoners as like all toothless commissions it will also lead to nowhere. The recent interlocutors report is one of the examples. There have been no concrete steps in restoring the crippled SHRC. Isn’t it your crippling factor that J&K Government has asked the SHRC to dispose of the cases in matters related to the unmarked graves so that it would be sorted out in yet to be made & much fancied TRC?

5) On Chenab & PirPanjal: Whereas you have said that you pledge to form PirPanjal & Chenab development council, has any progress been done so far apart from a resolution passed in Legislative Council in 2009? What prevents you in granting the autonomous hill development council to the state’s most backward areas? If the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council is working fine administratively, then why not for Chenab Valley? The sooner the better if it would be made functional.

6) On Unemployment & SKEWPY: Whereas you said & are saying that you will explore all avenues for unemployed youth for their gainful employment locally, nationally & internationally, leave that aside, what is happening to the much hyped SKEWPY ? As newspaper reports suggest, the VSA has been hit by financial crunch with the unemployed youth not getting their allowances for past 4-5 months. Compared to rest of the neighboring states, J&K has the highest unemployment rate at 5.3% which needs to be specially addressed.

7) On Energy & Power: Whereas you said and are also saying that you will impress upon the center to compensate our state in case of electricity as the electricity generated by the water resources of our own state are shared by others, what steps have you taken? Didn’t the Union Power Minister for Power & the Union Power Secretary categorically reject the demand of handing over the power projects from NHPC back to the state government in their statements recently? Let it be reminded that the state is this time reeling under serious Energy crisis due to the shortage of LPG cylinders.

8) On SAC & SVC: Whereas you promised that the State Accountability Commission which was made defunct by previous government would be restored, it in fact has been made more toothless as recently your Government objected to the suo moto powers of the State Accountability Commission to initiate action against its legislators in corruption related cases. Further in the manifesto you had promised to strengthen the Vigilance organization for which you strengthened the State Vigilance Act in 2011 but the irony is that no state vigilance commission has been made so far.

9) On Women: Whereas you say that you will establish a Women’s university, so far no word on it. According to the economic survey the female unemployment in state is at 17.1% compared to 5.6% unemployment in males here. Keeping in view of the over growing unemployment in the state, wouldn’t it be better if you open a new industry which would help women empowerment?

10) On HR Violation: Whereas you have said in election manifesto that, ’One kind of terrorism cannot be fought with another’, on the issue of human rights violation by security agencies, what steps have you taken? What about the over 100 people getting killed in the summer agitation of 2010 on which the CM said that it is a cross he has to take all life along? Has any justice been done yet which was promised?

11) On Education: Whereas you talk of increase in literacy rate of state to 68% & 15% increase in female literacy, we would like to know the reason that why there has been an increase in school dropout rate in our state from 3.47% in 2009-10 to 5.3% in 2010-11 with over 43,000 drop-outs currently according to a recent survey.

12) On Health Care: Whereas India Today group has titled J&K as number one state in health sector for which I am congratulating you but isn’t it absurd that in the backdrop of messy GB Pant fiasco recently, do we deserve the number one position? Didn’t the CAG report this year term the Health care system in Jammu in shambles? What about the much talked Public Private Partnership (PPP) in the field of Health care? Any Progress on it?

13) On Roads: Whereas you promised of better & wider roads across the state & you claim to have built a wide network of roads, with the Chief Minister also quoting sometime back that, ‘Roads are arteries to progress’, has the road networking been better as promised? Take for example the summer capital, Srinagar, when during the poll campaign the chief minister promised that Srinagar would be transformed into Venice while as it seems quite opposite is the situation where the roads which had been dug up in the name of drainage & sewerage system have failed to re-carpet leading to spurge in nuisances of a common man.

14) On Panchayat: Whereas you were successful in conducting the Panchayat Polls in the state but aren’t they now being used as mere pawns in order to score political mileage with other opposing forces of your party?

15) On Shahtoosh Shawl Trade: Whereas in the election manifesto you have said that you feel that ‘Toosh’ has fallen prey to a certain elitist lobby, what steps have you taken to break this myth?