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Arrested By Multiple Crises, I Crave For Change

By Ashiq Hussain Andrabi

03 January, 2013

I'm not advocating any political idea here nor am I speaking as follower of any party or agency here. I am a Common Kashmiri with ordinary vulnerabilities, concerns and resources and extraordinary potential. I am unhappy with the status quo. The current government has proved to be heartless. Life has become impossible under the present government rule in Jammu and Kashmir . The present government has neglected the common man and has failed to understand their pains, thus increasing their alienation.

I am angry that the resources of the state have been looted. They are looted consistently by the powerful. I believe that without this kind of loot, Kashmir would have had far fewer people below the poverty line and we would have been financially independent and self reliant. Many more things could have been done for the country.

Many people are sarcastic when I say that Kashmir is prosperous by default. We have good land, diverse resources, places, and a region relatively safe from natural calamities. Sure, we have problems. Who doesn't? Using what we have wisely and building on it, preventing loot (which happens to be Kashmir 's fate over the ages), should see us into better days.

But this post isn't about would and should and could. It is about what IS. At the moment, I have no belief that any change is possible unless the massive and immovable collusion is shaken. As far as I am concerned, when a  government attacks its own citizens  for challenging them, when the government rather than admitting its faults deflects the blame on to its opponents, When the legitimate role of any opposition to oppose, expose and depose (the ruling party) is painted as hunger for power , when  media will not report half the stories in the country , When the minister looks on as his guards thrash someone and violate the rules. The serpentine traffic jam across the state particularly at Pantha Chowk are becoming a bane for existence and a perfect waste of time are going unnoticed . When political parties don't seem to agree, evolve or adapt their stances with time,  the common man is cannon fodder . If he asks for justice, he's lost in a maze of inexplicable inefficiency. If he challenges the system, he has no voice (indeed, in some cases, the lack of media attention is equal to a silencing). Worse, he could lose his life.

When it comes to governance the ruling coalition led by Omar Abdullah has miserably failed to deliver, the number of innocent human lives lost every day is staggering. Not a single case has been brought to justice till now. Disgusting mismanagement in power distribution and LPG supply symbolizes the persistent administrative incompetence afflicting each and every organ of this set-up. The altitude of insincerity is that even such a grave issue as that of extensive corruption in public life is sought to be virtually justified in the name of ‘coalition compulsion'. The shameless manner in which a House Committee of the state legislative council dealing with a case of ministerial corruption was done away with exposes the depth of the rot. The government's track record is littered with broken promises and failure to honor its commitments on such crucial issues as providing jobs to unemployed youth, attracting private/public industrial investment or dismantling the repressive regime of draconian laws. Forget about the hollow boasting over the issue of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), even the state's own Public Safety Act (PSA) continues to be wantonly abused to go after teenagers who are forced by the circumstances to take to the streets. Intolerance has by now become the defining feature of this regime.

No matter the crime, the response from Omar Abdullah is the same – a dismissal. Be it infant deaths to be blamed on the previous government, rapes to be dismissed as fiction, Sarpanch killings to be claimed as fake or journalists beaten to be “cooked up” propaganda. I think regardless of the number of rapes, infant deaths, farmer suicides, or instances of violence, the response of people in authority needs to be compassionate, not dismissive. Certainly not dismissive in a way that threatens to obstruct justice like denying it happened at all.

What we are seeing is “chocked development” that leap-frog from unsatisfied basic needs ( accountability, sadak, pani ,bijli ) to satisfied secondary needs (Panchayat Raj, Traffic lights, beautification of roads , parks, etc)

I believe the only way we can have new ways of being is by shaking the existing ones as thoroughly as possible. Toward this end, I think everyone from Hurriyat to PDP are equally useful.

Is challenging the NC-CONGRESS coalition constitutional? I think so. No one has bothered to so much as apologize to the nation even if it has been the fountainhead of all evils. I think the government is unconstitutional because it doesn't give a fig about us, which is what its primary job is.

Does that mean I support a violent uprising? Frankly not… I'm not much of a violent person by nature. I don't believe violence solves anything. There is a desperate need to silence calls to accountability on one end and an equally desperate frustration of having had enough.

Every step is a case of promises and sabotage. The promises defuse the situation and calm protest and the sabotage weakens it when off-guard . What the government forgets is that some time or the other, people will notice. And its usual policy of repression isn't going to help.

I support them all who are ready to challenge the heartless coalition and get rid of it, because it is going to take massive power to confront the government to begin with. I don't see the sense in dividing the voices right now based on what they want in the future. Heck, I'd support the Coalition if it called for accountability or even owned up to their utter mismanagement and provided some concrete plan for amends.

I am yearning for a change!!!

The author is pursuing Masters in Convergent Journalism at Central University of Kashmir and can be reached at cj.saha.18@gmail.com.





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