The Chief Executive of the State having all the residuary powers under the constitution and presiding over the destiny of the millions of the state subjects has to be honest and decisive rather than apologetic and demeaning
The Chief Minister, who is at present the Chief Executive of the State, in a Police function “pleaded” before the Police to spare the local militants. She asked them to do parenting instead of Policing. They need to be reformed and brought into the mainstream instead of being killed straight away! Truly very noble ideas but how many local militants are there at the moment? According to various agencies not more than a hundred! She seems to have forgotten the thousands of young boys in prison with some detained under the draconian Public Safety Act. There have been more than a hundred dead and over 15,000 injured till now and it is counting!. She also forgot the over a thousand others suffering from pellet injuries in the eyes with some losing eye sight permanently. Kashmir has been virtually at a standstill for last four months. People have been facing the worst and the harshest brutal force for all these months. The Chief Executive seems to be out of touch with the ground reality or is deliberately closing her eyes to the happenings on the ground.
The Chief Executive is also the Chairperson of the Unified Headquarter (wrongly called the Unified Command as such a Command does not exist in reality). The Chairperson could easily issue a directive to all the security agencies represented in the headquarter to at least follow some sort of civilized behavior while dealing with unarmed civilian gatherings and marches even if they are shouting pro-Azadi slogans. On the contrary she has not even bothered to ask them not to vandalize the peoples’ homes during nocturnal searches going on all over Kashmir. The worst was her declaration asking people to restore peace so that she could “plead” before the Prime Minister to start a dialogue with Pakistan for resolution of the basic political problem in Kashmir! This is really naïve! Every child knows that there is something like Kashmir problem right for last 70 years which is very much on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council. Denying the existence of the problem does not make it go away. Moreover, Prime Minister would not be doing a favour to Kashmiris by trying to resolve the problem. The resolution of the problem is a must for peace not only in the sub-continent but for the entire South Asia.
The recent actions have clearly demonstrated that the Executive Power to run the State vests somewhere else than the elected Chief Executive under the J & K Constitution. The Chief Executive is only a symbolic head! At the present moment allegedly, the National Security Advisor and the Union Home Minister are running the State for all practical purposes. Well, it is not her fault. In fact, she is facing a double jeopardy being the partner of the dispensation in New Delhi. There seems to be a contradiction between her earlier role in the opposition as a wound healer and now as the Chief Executive as a wound giver. This has been the unfortunate tragedy of Kashmir that all the so called elected heads of government do not have the final say in the affairs of the state even if they mean good of the people. Unlike other states of India, they have always been at the pleasure of the New Delhi government. Kashmir has always been given a “special status”! If, the things which have been happening in Kashmir for the last four months had happened in any other state, the government would have been dismissed within a matter of weeks or even days! However, everything is allowable in Kashmir for the sake of the misplaced sense of the “National Interest” and the “National Security”!
The whole situation seems to have got stuck in a logjam. The unending curfews versus the unending calendars have created a piquant situation with no breather for the common man. With most of the leaders of the popular movement behind bars, the initiative for breaking the logjam rests with the government both at the centre and in the state. They could give a relief to everyone by halting the repressive policy and go for well-meaning and real confidence building measures asking the opposite camp to do the same. On the contrary there are rumours that after the shifting of the Durbar, the harshest crackdown ever would be unleashed in the valley. Repression of all sorts has never succeeded in sorting out the basic problem. It amounts to sweeping it under the carpet but every time it raises its head more violently. The only alternative as suggested by one and all within the sub-continent and fromall over the world is to hold an open and unconditional dialogue with all stake holders after easing the situation. The Chief Executive, if she is truly sincere and not apologetic needs to take a bold stand on the subject and initiate measures in that direction regardless of the consequences. Otherwise, she too would get consigned to the pages of history like the others who preceded her!
Mohammad Ashraf I.A.S. (Retired), Former Director General Tourism, Jammu & Kashmir