Wednesday, December 1, 2021
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JK bleeding under Babudom

Harsh Dev Singh
The BJP Govt has been making tall claims of development, normalcy and corruption free system in J&K post J&K’s re-organization. The development trajectory has received an unprecedented boost as is claimed by the saffron leadership. And ‘not a sparrow has been killed’ boasted some of the roly-poly, overweight, loud mouthed leaders of BJP after the dismantling of the historical State. The claims of ‘normalcy as never before’ were made by those ruling the roost. And self certified certificates of corruption free system continue to be granted by them to its Govt. It was said that a huge bonanza for unemployed youth was in the offing and that the issue of unemployment would be effectively resolved. ‘Rivers of milk’ would flow in J&K, said the top brass of BJP after conversion of J&K into UT. 27 months down the line, it is time to ruminate on our predicament.
The BJP led Govt once again seduced the masses by its rhetoric post Art 370 abrogation as it had done during the 2014 elections by exploiting their gullibility. The haughty, supercilious claims of peace, progress, development, employment etc however have proved a farce. Self praise and self adulation have been the hallmark of BJP’s governance even after the much trumpeted re-organization of the state. A govt which promised a visible change in J&K after Art 370 abrogation has failed to curb even the gradual deterioration in the security as well as in general services with a highly ascendant bureaucracy averse to the woes and sufferings of common masses. With its delivery being in inverse proposition to the articulation of its promises, the people were fast losing faith in the BJP regime. There were tensions in various parts of the erstwhile State after its reorganization into UTs in view of the centre’s failure to allay the apprehensions of the people of various regions. The BJP Govt had failed to address the concerns of various aspirational groups which has sparked outrage in various regions as was being manifested in the shape of ever increasing protests and public demonstrations being organized on day to day basis. And rapid escalation in militancy had deflated all claims of normalcy made in the past by the present regime.
The turbulent situation in J&K and unabated civilian killings on selective basis in J&K have attracted worldwide attention with a lame duck administration failing to cope with the extremely volatile situation. There were hardly any signs of Government on the ground in the UT and the cowardly act of the militants killing several innocent civilians in the last few days had exploded the myth of peace and development. The number of youth who joined militant ranks saw a steep rise after J&K was made a UT. OGWs in the valley have also become active in providing logistics and information to the militant outfits. Things have gone from bad to worse as the BJP Govt has failed to curb the deteriorating situation in the valley. Where is the intelligentia? It is often questioned. The perpetrators are on a killing spree and the BJP leadership is just condemning the episodes only to absolve itself from the prime responsibility of providing security to the citizens. It’s the time to act and not to deplore or merely condemn. The subversives should be identified and brought to justice. But those at the helm seem to have buried their heads in the sand.
The anti-national and subversive elements have activated themselves to embark on a one point agenda to demolish the essence of co-existence and communal harmony in the valley. They are hell-bent to create a situation like the early 90’s in J&K. The outside bureaucrats ruling the roost in J&K have been superficially drum beating over the return of peace in the valley deliriously oblivious of prevailing tensions. The BJP Govt has neither succeeded in mounting international pressure on rogue Pakistan to declare it a ‘terror state’ nor in providing security to the people which was its prime responsibility. Mere condemning the hostile neighbour has only evoked cynicism with people questioning the ever increasing infiltration and terror attacks in the heartland of the cities. And despite all this the BJP govt continues to treat J&K as a workshop holding weird experiments with it and indulging in narcissistic self flagellation. Another achievement of BJP is the dismantling of opposition parties and suppression of all dissent through the coercive apparatus of the state. Remaining glued to power seems to be its only agenda while the state is plunging into a deep abyss.
Downgrading of the oldest historical State of J&K to UTs has been the most obnoxious dent upon the pride of its people. A feeling of deprivation and demotion has caused grievous injuries on the very self respect of the people. The tall slogans of the employment package for J&K have all evaporated into their air. Instead of providing gainful employment to educated unemployed youth, the recent past witnessed large scale retrenchments in public and private sectors. The Education, Power, PHE and Health sectors in particular are in a mess with acute deficiency of manpower having adversely impacted the functioning of these significant deptts. And while the people continue to suffer the Govt is busy patting its own back.
The fact of the matter is that J&K continues to bleed. In peaceful Jammu too, the mobile internet remained banned for around 18 months after State’s re-origination causing much inconvenience to the general masses besides huge losses to traders and students as well. Development has come to a grinding halt with corruption having become a way of life. Those who question the policies of the Govt are treated with derision and contempt. Right to hold peaceful protests which is a hallmark of Indian democracy is often denied. People are suffering for want of civic amenities. Several State Commissions have been dissolved without providing suitable alternative forums thus adversely affecting the poor litigants who had pinned hopes in such commissions. PSC which was wound up was again revived thus pointing towards the utter confusion prevailing in the administrative circles. Several daily rated workers have been terminated. Several casual and need based workers are apprehensive about their future. The college and 10+2 lecturers engaged on academic arrangement/contractual basis feel downgraded in view of their conversion to daily rated workers. The activities of opposition leaders, despite their nationalist credentials, are kept under surveillance. And there seem to be two sets of laws in the State. One for BJP and other for opposition parties. While the opposition parties have been divested of their security and official accommodation after Reorganization of State, BJP leaders and workers continue to enjoy the luxury of a fleet of security vehicles with huge deployment of police personnel with them besides their continuance in Ministerial Bungalows and other govt accommodation.
The proxy rule of centre has failed to inspire the masses. The outside bureaucrats having hardly any knowledge of the geography, topography, language, culture and other peculiar problems of the UT have been assigned the powers of governance. The Advisors and Secretaries had through conducted “Janta durbars” during the first year of the imposition of Central Rule in J&K. But they also failed to inspire the public in view of their lack of productivity. The Advisors marked the public representations to their junior officers who hardly responded to the concerns highlighted therein thereby making a mockery of the whole process. The cosmetic “public hearing” campaigns and “Back to villages” programmes of the ‘Babus’ too had failed to satisfy the general masses who missed the much needed delivery on the ground. Complaints of the public are being hardly entertained. Grievances portal has become almost defunct. Public Services Guarantee Act (PSGA) exists only in the papers with the officers discarding the public representations in the most contemptuous manner. RTI law is also being treated casually. Seven Commissions were dissolved with no action taken to revive them. Democratic process is being delayed and denied on one pretext or the other. The sentinels of democracy have been belittled and humiliated. Only last year we witnessed the Legislative Assembly having been used as a film studio for shorting a TV serial and legislative council converted into a crèche, a play way school for children of Secretariat employees.
Corruption has become all pervasive. Checks and balances appear to have been dismantled. Public interest has been replaced by self interest. The Babus are enjoying authority and power sans accountability. The CAG reports pointing towards scams and frauds of gargantuan proportions have been disregarded and pushed into the oblivion. The report of CAG for 2018-19 revealing a suspected scam of Rs. 8,000 crore has gone unattended. Similarly the 2017-18 report of the same ‘National Accounting Watchdog’ which unveiled fudging of Rs. 10,000 crore has also met the same fate. The corrupt seem to be sheltered by the present ‘Babu Raj’ as no cognizance has been taken despite the said frauds being of huge magnitude.
The obsequious bureaucrats and defanged experts requisitioned from outside the UT have only antagonized the masses and made confusion worse confounded. As a consequence thereof, the erstwhile state of J&K continues to haemorrhage. Will the champions of democracy and custodians of the constitution take note?
(The writer is former Education Minister & Chairman J&K National Panthers Party)

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