Anarchy In Kashmir!
By Mohammad Ashraf
01 October, 2015
Total anarchy in every sphere of life seems to have taken hold of entire Kashmir. There is absolute free for all without even a semblance of accountability!
According to Cambridge dictionary, anarchy is “a situation in which there is no organisation and control especially in society, because there is no effective government”. The present state of affairs in Kashmir fully and completely fits the definition. One of the main reasons for generating a state of anarchy has been the political uncertainty. Kashmir has been facing political uncertainty right from the time of the partition of the sub-continent. For no fault of theirs Kashmiris got entangled in an ideological conflict between their neighbours. Instead of realising their cherished dream of freedom after centuries of subjugation, they faced the worst nightmares in their entire history.
The ruling set ups were not in reality popular governments elected by the free will of the people but imposed on them by Delhi though various manipulations. However, in spite of this there was some accountability. There was responsive administration giving good governance in daily lives of the people. People in general did have a fear of the law. In fact, among these ruling set ups the best period regarding accountability, administration and good governance was the period of G M Sadiq from 1964 to 1971. However, he was in fact responsible in totally eroding the special status by bringing in most of the central laws and strongly put the popular movement down.
The real down turn in governance and administration started after 1975 when Sheikh Abdullah compromised and headed the administration. Still a semblance of accountability continued till mid-eighties. The turmoil of nineties turned everything upside down. The first casualty was accountability in all spheres both on the government side and the public in general. The security forces got a license to kill and destroy with total absence of any accountability. The common people went ahead with a free for all in every respect. The last two decades were periods of total anarchy which has now come to finesse.
The recent ruling set ups did not bother about the people. They know that they are in the saddle not by free popular will but at the pleasure of Delhi. So to continue, they have to keep Delhi in good humour and forget the people completely. This is precisely what they have been doing and are doing right now. This has bred a sense of total free for all not only in the administration but among all the sections of the society in general.
Take for instance the regulation of traffic. People seem to have gone totally crazy. Either the traffic regulating personnel or all the drivers in general do not know the basic traffic rules or they do not bother about these at all. The later seems more plausible. Overtaking from wrong side; making full turn round in the middle of the road; overtaking in a two lane road and making four lines on one side; parking in wrong places and on both sides of a two lane road leaving hardly space for the moving traffic; not using indicators and jumping the signals if these work at all! The worst defaulters are the minibus drivers dropping and taking passengers in the middle of the road anywhere they like. There is nothing like a proper bus stop anywhere! The popular refrain is that they give a regular hafta to traffic regulators which goes from the lowest rung to the top.
The maximum default is committed by two wheelers. Hardly anyone wears a helmet. A two wheeler which is supposed to take two people usually carries three or more and sometimes a whole family with minor kids is on a two wheeler. Can this happen anywhere in the world? Pedestrians have no place to go. Foot paths are either occupied by roadside vendors or the shopkeepers occupy these to display their goods.
Another sphere of total anarchy is building permissions and constructions all over the city. The first defaulters are the regulators themselves. The Srinagar Development Authority has built its massive office in the Jhelum flood basin. If one observes the mad constructions going everywhere, the Authority seems to have become Srinagar Destruction Authority. Residential areas have been turned into commercial areas. After the recent floods people seem to have given a go by to all regulations. Constructions in violation of basic building rules are going on everywhere. Persons who had two floor houses are making four floor ones. Others are turning their erstwhile homes into massive commercial complexes.
Ecology and environment are in mortal danger. Dal Lake, the supposed heart of the city of Srinagar is practically dead. We have eaten it away. Not only has the government failed to move out the inside lake dwellers numbering about fifty thousand people but there is no restriction on new filling to eat away whatever has been left of it. The houseboats have slowly moved so close to Boulevard that soon we may see these moored to the Boulevard itself. In spite of a ban on construction within 1 kilometer of the Lake bank imposed by the High Court, 35 hotels have come up in Shalimar area alone!
If one goes on recording the violations and aberrations indulged in by the people and the government itself it may have to be compiled as a book! Leaders from all walks of life seem to have become totally immune to these anarchist happenings. Where will this anarchy end? God alone knows!
Mohammad Ashraf I.A.S. (Retired), Former Director General Tourism, Jammu & Kashmir
Comments are moderated