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Daunting Challenges that lie ahead in J&K
M.M. Khajooria7/5/2019 11:51:43 PM
Kashmir centric Political parties have been clamoring for conduct of immediate elections to the Jammu & Kashmir Legislative assembly so that an elected government could be installed without further loss of time. In normal circumstances, this would be a legitimate demand in pursuance of a desirable objective. The timing of election has, however to be decided by the Election Commission of India. The commission has decided to hold elections to the State Assembly at the end of the year. The state has now therefore been placed under Presidents Rule (A mere constitutional formality) for another six months as the maximum period admissible for Governors- Rules under section 93 of Jammu & Kashmir constitution is six months.
There is general impression that apart from the pull of loafs and fishes of power, the political parties were under pressure of Separatists who, for a change are on the receiving end. The Government of India has ,at long lost called them to account for their nefarious anti-national activities, action with regard to which was stalled by previous governments for "political considerations". Confronted with the withdrawal of luxurious perks and VVIP level security, declaration of separatist outfits as illegal and registration of cases under Money Laundering Act etc the over _ground 'Mujahids' are running for cover. No wonder the Tin warriors are in panic and seeking avenues of" relief. Hence the chorus for elections became louder as the expiry date of six months Governors' rule approached. ."
Given the Machiavellian mind set of the men in Islamabad It , to say the least would be naïve to think that they would stop at "Vote or Don't' vote" diktat as for as elections in Jammu & Kashmir were concerned. The American Machiaveli , Henry Kissinger, I found during my research had shamelessly widened the vicious and devastating horizon of manipulation of outcome of elections in other countries to serve US vested interests . Henry Kissanger was quoted by Newsweek in 1974 saying "I don't see why we have to let a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people." We are aware that diplomacy in service of national vested interests yields no space for morality. But such crude public expression of dictatorial mindset by the topmost diplomat of a country that boasts of sterling democratic values is both abhorrent and unacceptable. These pearls of wisdom were delivered in the context of elections in Chili where people overwhelmingly voted for communist party. As PaK rulers were known to be in tune with Kisingers' mind set, it would be safe to assume that their machinations could fallow the route indicated by him. So even though people of Jammu & Kashmir are determined to remain part and parcel of Indian nation, Kasinger oriented Pak rulers would consider it "legitimate" to subvert people's will. In fact, it, may have already happened in J&K? Remember, what Mufti Mohd Syed said after taking the oath of office as the chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir in the swearing in ceremony of PDP-BJP coalition ministry? He publically expressed his gratitude to Pakistan (read ISI) and "Militants" (read terrorists) "without whose help" he reiterated " elections could not have been held" .Governor, J&K and the Prime minister were present. His daughter and successor , Mehbooba Mufti went on to cover the home turf . She publically acknowledged her connections with the Pak proxies and openly told the Media "I decided to assume the office (of CM ) only after Syed Ali Shah Geelani (the Separatist Supremo) gave his approval and blessings". And we let her promote separatism , call it soft separatism, if you will and play havoc with this gasping and bleeding state for around two years. The fact is that in the current situation ,interfering foreigners, Pakistan and her Wahabbi patrons enjoy the kind of clout that enabled them to determine to a significant extent tactically not only whether people vote or not but also for whom they may vote". It would be rewarding to recall the percentage of votes cast in the Srinagar by-polls and why we were unable to conduct by-polls to Anantnag parliamentary constituency? Even though innumerable instances of subversion of peoples' will before , after and during the elections through various mechanizations' can be cited, I would prefer to rest my case on this issue here
"In 2013, in line with a recommendation of the Global Commission on Elections, Democracy and Security, the Kofi Annan Foundation launched the Electoral Integrity Initiative (EII). The EII is an informal network of organizations and individuals who share a common concern for the unaddressed political challenges that undermine elections, especially in countries that have recently emerged from, or are experiencing, prolonged political instability' Our case falls in the last category" There is , however fundamental difference. In our case, a neighboring country aided and abetted by external and internal Jihadi, elements was responsible for the mischief. To these elements democracy and democratic processes were anathema. "But elections without integrity cannot provide the winners with legitimacy, the losers with security and the public with confidence in their leaders and institutions." Asserted the EII. So what are the conditions precedent for holding of elections in J&K considering the complexities we are currently embroiled in?
Mere conduct of elections in meaningless. These have to be free and fair and genuinely reflect the will of the people. It is therefore the fundamental duty and responsibility of the government to provide a level playing field. The environment must be free from any kind of fear or pressure so that the electorate can exercise their sacred right to vote by their free will. To make this a reality the fallowing aims have to be achieved before conduct of next elections in J&K:
First and foremost requirement is to at least reduce terrorism to a manageable level. Their necks must be in the noose though we may not have as yet successceded in pulling the rope. Most Importantly, people must be cognizant and convinced of the Indian Security forces' supremacy. The badly mauled prestige of security forces has to be restored, unmindful of the cost. It should never be forgotten that the man/ woman in uniform is not just an individual but symbol of the Indian State. They on their part should demonstrably act as the national Security Forces who treat common citizens with respect and show concern for their convenience and hardships inherent in the terrorist infested state.
On the ideological front, the channels of illicit foreign funding to the Ahil-_1_ Hadees, Jamat-1-Islami and their extensions must be completely choked. Diplomatic pressure must be mounted on Saudi Arabia and other Emirates to cooperate in this behalf. As for as open funding for religious purposes is concerned, a limit must be worked out and agreed upon. Our concerned departments must ensure that the funds openly and legally contributed by foreign and local individuals and agencies are indeed utilized for the religious purposes only.
The capability of terrorist gun to promote and secure anti-national activities under the garb of religion should be effectively suppressed. This will enable the Etqadees to emerge out of the shadows and resume their religious practices. .Auqaf Islamia must play their designated role diligently with a missionary zeal so as to match the Ahil-i-Hadeess / JEI thrust .All Ziarats in need of repairs , white washing and dedicated illuminations must be attended to at top priority. The emoluments of the Imams of Mosques and other functionaries should be reviewed to make them competitive with their Ahil-i-Hadees counterparts.
Teaching or eulogizing of the so called 'Jihad' in any form in Madarsas and Government Schools, colleges as well as Universities in any form must be forbidden . Swift deterrent action must fallow in appropriate cases. The virus of 'Jihad' which had deeply infiltrated in teachings in Government educational institutions should be immediately and forcefully curbed. The virus has deeply penetrated in the government education system. The situation should be assessed in each institution to identify the teachers and methodology of preaching of Jihad. This would help devise and implement strong counter measures. To begin with 'Jihadi' .Principles, Head Masters and teachers with JEI /Ahi-i-Hades affiliations particularly those who have remained posted in one place for more than three years must be shifted forthwith. The syllabus in Primary and Middle classes must be reviewed special attention being given to the first Primer(QEDA). It may be rewarding to check on the 'Prayers' sung in Schools every morning.
The elections to the J&K Legislative assembly are held under the State/ Indian Constitution. Oath of Allegiance to protect the sovereignty and integrity of India has to be signed by candidates at the time of filing Nomination papers and by the Ministers when they take the oath of office. So one has to be an Indian to contest elections for the State Assembly, sit in the legislature or assume offices of Ministers and Chief Minister. This is common knowledge. Then, where is the snag?
The JEI former members of Assembly including Syed Ali Shah Geelani violating all norm of ethics have publically and shamelessly declared that they are not Indians and the Oath of Allegiance they took was 'false' and deliberate. Ironically they still continue to draw Pensions as former members of the Assembly from the exchequer. This position is obviously unacceptable .This is not my area of specialization but there must be some law dealing with those taking false oaths of this nature. In any case government should find or devise ways or means of debarring them from contesting elections and forfeit their Pensions.
My other problem is with the Main stream parties who demand dialogue with Pakistan every other day and in the same breath proclaim the "Kashmir as a political problem". The Huuriyat and other separatist parties echo the same demand which translates into their declaring that they do not accept the fact of the finality of accession of Jammu & Kashmir with the Republic of India. In the common mans' perception both have the same position. This can not be so. The National Conference is primarily responsible for accession under the leadership of lat Jenab Sheikh Mohd Abdullah. Dr Faroq Abdullah has repeatedly declared that "I was born an Indian and I will die an Indian". The party has suffered most at the hands of terrorists and her martyrs list in long and painful. Only the other day, one of NC worker was shot in south Kashmir. It Is up to the NC leadership to take steps to dispel the false public perception. If It costs of some votes, so be it.
The PDP has a real problem. Its leadership has been economical with caution and discretion on this sensitive subject. They have to make or shall be say reaffirm their commitment to Jammu & Kashmir being an integral part of India to qualify for running the race for state power.
The Governments in Delhi and Srinagar as well as the Election commission of India are responsible to ensure that only ' genuine' Indians citizens are permitted to contest elections to the Legislature and assume power to run the affairs of the state.These are the most daunting challenges that the Governors' administration is confronted with. Will they deliver?
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