FRAGRANCE OF IDEAS
The invitation to the fourteen political leaders from eight political parties of J&K Union Territory was responded positively by all the leaders and they attended the meeting on 24th June 2021 at the PM's official residence in New Delhi. The statements immediately after the near four hour meeting suggested that the meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere and almost everyone contributed his or her point of view without any inhibitions.
Almost all the leaders expressed satisfaction regarding the meeting and said that they expected the Prime Minister to live up to his promise to conduct the Assembly elections in J&K as soon as it is possible once the process of Delimitation is completed. What has been observed over the last two weeks is that the Delimitation Commission has also geared up, after the lull due to the pandemic of Covid19. It is currently on a visit of the Union Territory and will be covering most of the areas and regions of the UT of J&K up to 9th July 2021.
The inference is clear and stark; Delimitation process will be followed by the elections in J&K once the report is implemented. Normally, it should take less than one year to complete both the processes. Hopefully, all political parties will be participating in both these processes to initiate the participative democratic order in J&K.
However, what has also been observed is that the main Kashmir centric political parties have again started expressing displeasure over the all important meeting attended by them at the PM's residence. They have gone to the same tantrums trying to arouse passions among the people over the issues that could be settled later.
The Prime Minister and the Home Minister both are on record that the State status will be restored to the UT of J&K at an appropriate time. Since the assurance came on the floor of the parliament, nobody should doubt the truthfulness of the assurances. Moreover, when the statements were issued on the floor of the House.
J&K and Ladakh are both very sensitive areas and the security concerns are paramount. During the four year long tenure of PDP-BJP rule in the state under the leadership of the Muftis, only one meeting of the Unified Command was held. Initially there was a great resistance and reluctance both to have such a meeting which otherwise was supposed to be held at regular intervals. It is a very serious issue that the Chief Minister, who is the Chairman of the Unified command as well speaks on behalf of the Burhan Wani and now as the ex-CM again regarding a '17 year old boy' who got killed in an encounter recently.
It is absolutely disgusting to believe that a boy who took up an illegal gun to kill and get killed has a sympathizer in his favor from the mainstream political parties. This creates a very unpalatable situation for the state and the government in case such figures assume power in J&K again. Therefore, the conversion to State status assumes a very serious and sensitive dimension. It becomes obligatory and important for the government of India to review the scenario in context of the past experiences and the current political and strategic situation.
No government at the centre can afford to have politician/s incharge of the state sympathetic to terror, terrorism and the terrorists. The circumstances clearly determine who is on whose side, therefore, the pre-elections situation can't be the deciding factor for granting back the state status to J&K. It is absolutely impossible to go for harakiri to lay all eggs on one basket
It is very unfortunate for the valley in particular to have doublespeak politicians in abundance and of variety. Some of them take no time to adopt turncoat character to suit their agenda according to the place and the time. They can talk one thing in Delhi, another thing in Jammu and an entirely a new thing in Kashmir valley. Old habits die hard, they continue to haunt and in the process the people are deceived due to their simplicity and plain thinking.
The tallest of the Kashmiri leaders, Sheikh Abdullah was also accused of the double-talk and double-meaning statements. He is followed by a series of the present leaders who have since graduated in this art. The elections can't be superseded by the major policy decisions nor can the elections be conducted without the completion of the Delimitation process. There are now no takers for the conditional Kashmir politics in New Delhi, those days have gone with the wind.
A number of discriminated sections of population require to be provided justice before the elections and it is possible only when they are included in the process of delimitation with a sense of purpose. The Scheduled Tribes, West Pakistan refugees, Valmiki samaj and the displaced minority community of Kashmiri Pandits are the key sections of population in Jammu and Kashmir who are awaiting justice over the last several decades.
If the current status of Assembly constituencies continues even after delimitation, KPs will be the worst victims and shall remain unrepresented as usual. In a detailed Memorandum to the Commission earlier, this author suggested reservation or nomination for five seats for the minorities of Kashmir valley on the pattern of Sikkim Assembly and Pudducherry Assembly. In another missive to the PMO last month, I sought an amendment to the Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation Act of 2019, thereby creating an accommodation for such reservation or nomination for the minorities of Kashmir including Kashmiri Pandits, Kashmiri Sikhs and non-Kashmiri speaking Hindus of Kashmir valley.
This author has been consistently saying that the Delimitation process will test the intent of the Indian state vis a vis the displaced Kashmiri Pandits about whom it is always said that 'Kashmir is incomplete without Kashmiri Pandits'. This is the right time to translate intent into an action. This will also ensure a new vista for resettlement of the community back in Kashmir. The Delimitation Commission joined by the Election Commission of India in March 2021 had said during the first presentation that 'there is substance in what was said by the delegation' led by this author.
In view of what has been said, it is time to shun double-speak and hypocrisy in politics and make a straightforward approach a part of political policy by all the components of the political spectrum. People are really fed up of deceit and double-talk, dereliction and dilution; it is time to prove one's words and promises in order to gain confidence of masses. Moreover, people love and regard simplicity and straight forwardness, let politicians learn and implement fresh lessons in this context. Better late than never!
(Author is Senior BJP & KP Leader, Incharge: J&K BJP Political Feedback Dept, Author & Columnist. Feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org)