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Jammu at the receiving end, but Kashmiri leadership says Valley is alienated from Delhi
A True Story
5/9/2014 11:44:48 PM
JAMMU, May 9: The politicians of Kashmir in particular and Jammu and Kashmir in general are a pampered lot. They represent a State which has been bestowed with various special powers. Yet they grumble that they and Kashmir are being discriminated against.
The Kashmiri leadership rules the state. They exercise unbridled and absolute powers under Article 370. There is no accountability. They have, according to Transparency International India, converted Jammu and Kashmir into the 'second most corrupt' State in India. They control all the portfolios with political weight and considerable funds. They enjoy representation in the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly which decides questions of supreme importance to the happiness and well-being of the people. Their representation in Parliament is in excess of their numerical strength and despite the fact that their region constitutes less than 11 per cent of the State's land area. The politicians of Jammu and Kashmir dominate the State's Council of Ministers which takes policy decisions. They control all institutions - political, economic and social. They control trade, commerce, transport and what not. They occupy almost all the over three lakh positions in the Government and semi-Government establishments in the Kashmir valley. They also have a very significant presence in Government and semi-Government establishments in Jammu province and in far-off cold-desert Ladakh, which remains cut-off from the rest of the world for more than six months in a year.
Till date, none has heard that a Kashmiri has died of cold or hunger. Till date, none has heard that a Kashmiri is without a proper roof over his or her head. The employment rate in privileged Kashmir is the highest in the country, with India Inc more than willing to accommodate them in establishments outside Kashmir. They rarely contribute to the State exchequer. But more than that, the Kashmiri politicians have rid either directly or through their inaction, Kashmir valley of almost all non-Muslims.
They never allow any outsider to acquire land in Kashmir or acquire a flat or plot in the Government-developed colonies. They virtually ensure that no non-Muslim settles in Kashmir. In fact, they have meticulously developed a system that ensures the exclusion of non-Muslims. The fact is that they have converted Kashmir into a one-religion region for all practical purposes, with the process of radicalisation at its zenith. The Army is there in Kashmir because it has to be. The paramilitary forces are there in Kashmir because they have to be. (However, one cannot say with confidence if those who control New Delhi really want the Army and the paramilitary forces to stay put in Kashmir.)
Not only this. They exploit the people of Jammu province to the hilt. They - and New Delhi, which pumps into Kashmir billions of rupees every year under various schemes - enrich the Valley at the cost of Jammu and Ladakh. They manage Jammu province's rich green-gold and all other natural resources, including precious minerals. They have set up colonies in different parts of Jammu province, particularly Jammu district.
Nobody knows how much forest and State land they have occupied by questionable means. They have reportedly occupied thousands of acres of forest and State land in Jammu. The process goes on unabated, and new colonies keep coming up. They and their followers have not only occupied forest and State land, but they also have acquired plots and flats in the Government-controlled colonies, obviously with overt and covert official and communal support. They have not only a very significant presence in Government and semi-Government establishments across Jammu province, but they also have a very significant presence in the professional and technical institutions in Jammu province. The story of Ladakh is slightly different, as the region has two partially empowered Autonomous Hill Development Councils, one each for Leh and Kargil districts. They do try their best to create in the Ladakh region a situation similar to the one they have created in Jammu province, but local factors and the somewhat positive attitude of New Delhi have not allowed them to do what they did in Jammu, sometimes using their extraordinary powers and sometimes using local leaders belonging to various political parties. There is hardly any leader in Jammu province with the courage to dare New Delhi and speak the truth. This has been going on since October 1947 without any break. The policy of New Delhi has been to ignore Jammu to please Kashmir.
The fact of the matter is that the people of Kashmir, barring non-Muslims who quit their original Kashmir habitat long ago, are the most prosperous community in the world, barring a few persons here and there. It is political power that matters, and Kashmir has it to the extent that no other State in India has. It is money that matters, and they have more money than they require. It is patronage that matters, and New Delhi is always there at their beck and call. In fact, the politicians of the State have everything in plenty and still they raise the bogey of alienation and attack the institution of the Indian state. This is simply not fair.
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