FRAGRANCE OF IDEAS
After a long time it has been observed that the head of the government in Jammu & Kashmir is not only conscious of his responsibilities and obligations but is also intended to make a difference in the socio-political scenario, politically speaking. This was visible when the Lt. Governor, Manoj Sinha in a meeting with the administration recently expressed his intent in regard to the resettlement of the Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir valley boldly, freely and frankly.
While JKUT LG's assurances in regard to the KPs are gratifying to note, the expectations of the exiled community of Kashmiri Pandits have grown accordingly. There are instructions to make sure that the dream of thousands of youth of Kashmiri Pandit displaced community turns into reality and all benefits to be extended on priority to them. The aspiring candidates while raising their issue recently observed that the recent order of GAD 586JK (GAD) of 2021 dated 07/07/2021 making S.O. 194 applicable to all those recruits who joined/are going to join on or after 17/06/2020 needs to be withdrawn and cancelled immediately. The selected candidates under the PM package are explicitly a specific class of recruits under the scheme of the government, applicability of S.O. 194 is the antithesis of the Recruitment scheme.
The Order so issued on 7 July 2021 doesn't provide any rationale for issuing such an order which generally all types of orders and circulars give. It alters the position of the last 10 years in respect of the PM package recruits by introducing a cut in their salaries while asking the employees to give a number of undertakings at the time of recruitment which differentiates them from the general recruits in Jammu and Kashmir.
The order is also the antithesis of what the LG asked the administration and the staff to do. It creates a 'class within a class' with a motive and design to discourage the recruits from joining their services in the Kashmir valley. It also puts a heavy burden on the shoulders of the new recruits who opt to go to the Kashmir valley under the package without any government accommodation and the normal benefits available to the general recruits in J&K.
The issue of promotions to the JEs working under the PM's package for the last ten years is also pending and they have been victimized for no fault of theirs. It has made them second class citizens since they were denied their due. Such orders should be revoked and cancelled with immediate effect which otherwise give a feeling of being tantamount to bias and gross discrimination against them. The instructions passed on by the LG of J&K to the bureaucracy and other officers explicitly maintain that the benefits should be extended to the PM package employees on priority, which is a welcome statement.
Kashmiri Pandit resettlement is a very serious and sensitive issue both for the government as well as for the displaced community. Registration of all the displaced people of Kashmir, who have remained out of Jammu and Kashmir since 1944, with the J&K government (Relief department) is a very important step and everyone who is yet unregistered needs to take it seriously. There is enough time, almost a year, available for this particular but essential formality to be completed by all.
It needs to be reiterated that after the interaction of the representatives of the Pandits with the Delimitation Commission, it is now the turn of the PMO and the Ministry of Home Affairs to act in connection with providing accommodation to the displaced minorities of Kashmir (including Kashmiri Pandits, Kashmiri Sikhs and the non-Kashmiri speaking Hindus of Kashmir) in the process of Delimitation.
It is obligatory to bring an Amendment in the J&K Reorganization Act of 2019 to accord sanction to Reservation of these unrepresented minorities of the valley in the J&K Assembly and also in the Parliament. The Delimitation Commission's terms of reference demand such an amendment in order to empower it to proceed ahead in this regard. In an alternative, the Nominations option also needs the required amendment to the Act.
Since the issue has a direct link with the ultimate goal of the resettlement of the Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir, the reservation or nomination in the J&K Assembly assumes great importance. This is the only opportunity available to realize justice for that segment of the society that has been forced to live as refugees in its own country and which continues to remain politically unrepresented due to the earlier policies of the governments.
The LG, some two months ago, categorically clarified that the PM's Employment package is a confidence building measure and not a resettlement plan, which the representatives of the displaced community have been maintaining over the last more than a decade. If the LG, rest of the government, administration and the displaced community are on the same page, it is a major achievement to get to the desired goal.
However, resettlement has four important preludes which everyone should keep in mind and they are as follows:
(1) Reservation or Nomination for Assembly and Parliament for the minorities of Kashmir valley so that they are represented politically in the socio-political spectrum of the UT.
(2) Constitution of a Board under the established legislative process for the protection, preservation and management of all Hindu temples & shrines in the Kashmir valley.
(3) Creation of a Special Crimes Tribunal Court to go into the excesses committed against the minorities of Jammu & Kashmir on the basis of the 1999-decision of the National Human Rights Commission.
(4) Actual Appointment of all the 6,000 aspirant candidates under the PM's Employment package and building of living accommodation for all of them by the government in the valley.
These four preludes incidental to the ultimate resettlement of the displaced community are the biggest confidence building measures capable to open new vistas for the resettlement. The community's geo-political aspirations in this regard are also to be taken into consideration before taking concrete steps in this regard.
The LG's declaration and instructions are indeed reassuring but the hard fact remains that the words assume importance only when they are followed by sincere and honest actions on the ground. We can hope for the best.....!
(Senior BJP & KP Leader, Incharge: J&K BJP Political Feedback Deptt, Author & Columnist: Feedback: email@example.com)